Over the course of the past few months, I counted 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. To read about the 99 other dishes I picked for this series and see a slideshow of photos, visit www.blogs.houstonpress.com/eating.
My #1 favorite Houston dish is Oysters Gilhooley at Gilhooley's Raw Bar in San Leon. Oysters Gilhooley are the perfect way to eat oysters out of season. They are so good, I usually get a dozen even when oysters are in season. Oysters Gilhooley are fresh-shucked oysters dusted with parmesan and dotted with garlic butter before being smoked in a pecan wood-fired barbecue pit. Personally, I think they are the best version of barbecued oysters on the entire Gulf Coast. The flavor is enhanced by the unique experience of eating at Gilhooley's.
It's not much of a family restaurant. In fact, a sign on the front door reads "No Children!" And they aren't kidding. The ramshackle patio is overgrown with vegetation, the interior is all worn woodwork and old furniture, and the rafters seem to be held together by the license plates that cover them. If you like to wear a black T-shirt with a Harley-Davidson logo on your back and a bandanna on your head, you'll feel right at home here. A great many of the patrons arrive on motorcycles.
Gilhooley's is Misho Ivic's favorite restaurant. Misho is the owner of Misho's Oysters, one of the largest oyster processors in Texas. He personally cherry-picks his best bivalves to be sent to the restaurant. In the winter, when the oysters are sweet and plump, the ones at Gilhooley's are always just a little sweeter and just a little plumper. And during the rest of the year, when smart consumers eat their oysters cooked, you can't beat the Oysters Gilhooley.
See all Robb Walsh's 100 Favorite Dishes atblogs.houstonpress.com/eating.