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Robb Walsh's 100 Favorite Houston Dishes: #62 Italian Sausage Pie at Russo's Coal Oven Pizza

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Over the course of the next few months, I'm counting down 100 of my favorite Houston dishes. I chose some because they are such quintessential Houston creations, others for their cultural or historical significance, and others because they are just so damn tasty. Share your own nominations in the comments.

#62 Italian Sausage Pie at Russo's Coal Oven Pizza

Russo's Coal Oven Pizza has several locations, you can get a good pizza at any one of them if the oven is hot enough (700°F or better) and you get a pizzaioli (pizzamaker) who is not afraid to char the crust a little. The oven at the I-10 and Echo pizzeria was running at 660 degrees when I stopped in at 3:30 one afternoon. I figured that was close enough so I ordered a large size pie with Italian sausage and hoped for the best.

The hand-thrown dough was cooked directly on the stone floor of the oven for a few minutes until it got a little blistered. Then the pizza man moved it onto a steel pizza pan to keep it from getting any blacker. I wanted to stop him when he burst the yeast bubbles with the cutting tool, but I kept my mouth shut.

The resulting pizza was very crisp with a lightly blackened crust. The Italian sausage was spicy with a nice fennel aroma. At $18, this ain't a cheap pie, but for coal oven pizza lovers, it's worth every penny. Eat it at the restaurant while it's still piping hot--it gets soggy within minutes.

The list to date:

#100: Green Chile Chicken Kebabs at Chatkhara Grill #99: The All-Day Burrito at Cherry Top Bakery #98: "You Buy We Fry" Trout Basket at Hank's Fish Market #97: Chicharron de Barriga at La Michoacana Meat Market # 10 #96: Pakistani Breakfast at Kings Chicken #95: Fried Mojarra at Taqueria Jesus Maria #94: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake Ball at Coffee Groundz #93:Cheeseburger at Leonard's Famous Burgers #92: Lasagna at Doyle's #91: Cochinita Pibil at Tacos La Bala #90: Fajita Tacos at Taqueria El Charro #89: Kubideh and Zereshk Polo at Kasra Persian Grill #88: Trentino Gelato's Dulce de Leche at Shisha #87: Deviled Eggs at Nielsen's Deli #86: Italian-Cuban Sandwich at Logan Farms #85: Vegetable Trio in Sichuan Sauce at Spicy Sichuan #84: Salchi-Burger at Brisa Cocina #83: El Ultimo Taco Truck's Breakfast Tacos #82: Kielbasa on a Sizzling Comal at Polonia #81: Shrimp and Grits at Bistro Alex, Hotel Sorella #80: A Bowl of Chili at James Coney Island #79: Lamb Dumplings at Lucky Pot #78: Crazy Irishman Sushi Roll at Soma #77:Tesar's "Magic" Burger #76: Mac n' Cheese at Two Saints #75: Spicy Armenian Kebabs at Café Rita #74: Jalapeño Gefilte Fish at Rustika #73: Greek Burger at the Hubcap Grill #72: The Basil Inferno at Thai Bistro #71: Paella at Rioja on Kirkwood #70: The Big Adrian Burger at Adrian's Local Café #69: Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Bar at La Paletera #68: Indonesian Deviled Eggs at Rice Bowl II #67: Al Pastor Quesadillas at Tierra Caliente Meat Market #66: Boudin Kolaches at Shipley's on North Main #65: Banh Cuon at Tay Ho 18 in Hong Kong City Mall #64: Cumin Lamb at Chinese Halal Cuisine on Bellaire #63: Stuffed Artichoke at Mint Café on Sage

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