In a recent Food & Wine article, restaurant editor Kate Krader called Houston "America's newest capital of great food" and listed 10 of her favorite dishes/drinks in our city to underscore her point. They included the Vietnamese Wagyu meatballs at Underbelly, the blackstrap rum daiquiri at Charity Saloon and the fatty brisket at Gatlin's BBQ.
The list was the source of much discussion in Houston food circles, and even inspired at least one local blogger -- Albert Nurick -- to write a 10 best dishes list of his own. "My approach focuses on the classics," wrote Nurick. "I'm going for the timeless dishes that describe the dining scene in Houston." To that end, Nurick's list featured selections such as the fajitas at the original Ninfa's on Navigation, chicken and waffles from the Breakfast Klub and the chocolate souffle from Tony's.
While trying to decide what my final blog posts for Eating...Our Words would be before my departure tomorrow, I considered the fact that I won't be around this year for the 100 Favorite Dishes countdown nor for the annual Best of Houston® issue in September. Both are excellent means of recognizing restaurants that may not be the hottest, youngest, newest things in town but are still vital components of our city's dining scene.
So I decided to take my inspiration from Krader, Nurick and all of the other people who chimed in on Twitter while discussing the Food & Wine article last week and write a 10 Best Dishes list of my own. Sort of.
The dishes below are my 10 favorites in Houston -- the ones I'd drag friends and family to eat because they have to try just one bite, the ones I'd take out-of-towners to eat because I like what they say about my city, the ones that I seek out myself when I'm in need of comfort or just a damn good meal.
Honorable mention: foie gras breakfast at Triniti; smoked salmon with "everything" chips at Provisions; menudo at La Mexicana; xiao long bao at Fu Fu Cafe; egusi at Finger Licking Bukateria; lobster roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches; fried chicken at Haven; boudin kolaches at Shipley's and chorizo kolaches at Peña's Donut Heaven; poisson cru at Cove; creme brulee bread pudding at Killen's; tuna tostadas at La Fisheria; and the yogi thali at Pondicheri.