It's the end of the month, and with that comes time for deep reflection. Well, maybe not deep reflection, but at least a look back on the dishes we regarded as the best we ate during the month of March. From dense, rich desserts to wacky brunch items, these Houston dishes cover quite a bit of ground and are all worth a try.
10. The Nguyen-er ("Winner") at Bosta Kitchen:
Topping pancakes with ice cream is not for everyone, but The Nguyen-er, Bosta Kitchen's short stack of pancakes topped with cafe sua da (Vietnamese coffee) flavor ice cream, grapefruit and walnuts, is quite the brunch showstopper. It can be a little strange getting used to the ice cream (over, say, a dollop of butter), but something about the flavor combination with the added bitterness of grapefruit is simply delightful. Obviously we suggest getting in a morning workout beforehand.
9. Kristalla Salad at Osso & Kristalla:
"It was the salads that stood out," writes Erika Kwee during a first look at this newly opened downtown trattoria. "Served in a deep bowl in order to conceal the generous mound of soft ricotta under a mountain of purple kale, even the mini version [of the Kristalla salad] has quickly risen to be one of my favorite salads in Houston. The kale is lively but not scratchy, tossed in a preserved lemon dressing that balances salt, sweet and tang. With or without salty pancetta as an accent, thin slices of apple and generous scatterings of toasted pine nuts make for an undeniably tasty and satisfying salad."
8. Breakfast Flatbread at Broken Barrel:
At this new Woodlands eatery, writer Jamie Alvear found "a well-balanced combination of refried beans, cheese, caramelized onion and bacon" on this a.m. flatbread option. "The flavor was further enhanced once the yolk from the fried egg on top oozed onto the flatbread making it a messy, but delicious dish. The chilaquiles on the other hand fell flat with the use of tortilla chips instead of crispy fried tortilla strips."
7. Crawfish Enchilada Plate at Cyclone Anaya's:
"The crawfish enchilada plate at Cyclone Anaya's was pretty darn ahhmazing," says Press reviewer Cuc Lam. "Loaded with fat, plump freshly hand-picked tails and an etoufee-like sauce." Available all crawfish season long.
6. Tonkotsu ramen at Ramen Tatsu-ya:
It's hard to go wrong with a bowl of any ramen at this new Austin export, but starting with the tonkotsu and its rich, creamy, salty broth, punctuated by bites of sweet and sour Yodas (crispy Brussels sprouts), proves an effortless lunch choice.
5. Chocolate Cake at Eloise Nichols:
It "reminds you of Grandma's house," writes Mai Pham of this no-fail dessert option at River Oaks's neighborhood spot Eloise Nichols. Why? It's a "moist, frosted, deep-brown rectangle of baked goodness" topped with crunchy hazelnuts and if you also order the bourbon chocolate shake with salted caramel and whipped cream," you'll be in heaven.
4. Crawfish at Crawfish & Noodles:
"These came piping hot, with billows of steam wafting upwards as we un-bagged the critters. These crawdads were also uniformly large in size, incredibly juicy, and not a single one was waterlogged," writes Mai Pham. "Two thumbs up for quality."
3. Pizza at Second Bar + Kitchen (in Austin):
This downtown Austin spot is a true lunch gem with numerous options, from sizable salads to a legit burger, but the wood-fired pizzas are really the star of the show, including this truffle-laced black and bleu cheese pizza, with bits of pork belly confit and sweet medjool dates, making for an extremely decadent midday meal.
2. Roasted corn ravioli at Killen's STQ:
"While Killen's STQ is certainly all about the meat," contributor Brooke Viggiano says, "this roasted corn ravioli was an unexpected treasure: sweet, smoky and in a surprisingly light corn milk sauce that needs to be spooned up to the last drop. Don't worry, meat lovers — it has bacon jam, too." Just make sure to save room for dessert, because, also phenomenal: "The bacon tres leches bread pudding."
1. Savory Foie Gras Crème Brûlée at Brasserie 1895:
"The custard of foie gras, Madeira and truffle finished with a crisp, torched sprinkling of sugar served with house-made ginger snap cookies was simply plated, cute to look at and difficult to share politely." No wonder chef Kris Jakob garnered top honors at the 2015 Woodlands Wine & Food Week for this exact dish.
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