Recently Alison Cook asked me to pick ten dishes that define dining in Houston. That's a tough assignment - Houston's cuisines are incredibly varied, and there are so many great choices.
My approach focuses on the classics. I'm going for the timeless dishes that describe the dining scene in Houston - great examples of dishes that have appealed to Houstonians for years, and will continue to do so. Characteristic dishes that represent what I think of when I think of Houston cuisine. Some are from tried-and-true restaurants, some are from those who've raised the bar.
Is every dish the best example of the genre? That's certainly open for discussion. Have I missed something important? Tell me in the comments.
Fajitas from Mama Ninfa's
Cheese Enchiladas from El Real
Fried Chicken from Frenchy's
Bacon Double Cheeseburger from Hubcap Grill
Prime Ribeye from Pappas Bros
BBQ Brisket from Corkscrew BBQ
Banh Mi from Les Givral's
Fried Shrimp from Cap'n Benny's
Chicken and Waffles from the Breakfast Klub
Chocolate Souffle from Tony's
Others have weighed in on this topic.
Katharine Shillcutt's 10 Favorite Dishes in Houston
Food & Wine's Houston in 10 Plates
Eater Houston's 20 Most Iconic Dishes
Houston CVB's 15 Iconic Houston Meals
It's no secret that we're fans of Hubbell & Hudson, the gourmet grocer, restaurant, and cooking school located in the Woodlands Waterway district. Whether we're searching for gourmet ingredients for a special dish or a great meal prepared by the Woodlands best chef, Hubbell & Hudson is our go-to destination for all things foodie.
We've enjoyed each menu that Executive Chef Austin Simmons has rolled out in the upscale Bistro, but we'd heard rumors of more humble changes that piqued our interest. The Sandwich Bar, located in the Market, has been undergoing changes, and we were anxious to check out the results.
|Sous Chef Fiorella Casteel and a member of her kitchen staff|
The changes start at the helm, with Sous Chef Fiorella Casteel serving as Chef Simmon's field marshall at the Sandwich Bar. Chef Casteel brings a wealth of east-coast kitchen experience to the Woodlands, and appointing a sous chef to head up this casual spot shows how serious Hubbell & Hudson is about the quality of their sandwich (and burger) offerings.
The chefs have rolled out a slate of new dishes, and at a recent tasting we sampled several of the new hot signature sandwiches.
We started with the Prime Rib sandwich. Thickly sliced, medium-rare Angus prime rib is used, and it's cooked to a beautiful medium rare and then seared to give it a tasty char. Fresh red peppers, caramelized onions, greens, and an intriguing roast red pepper hummus finish off this sandwich, and it's constructed on a gently toasted slice of garlicky tomato bread. The chefs have a winner here - it's easily one of the best prime rib sandwiches I've ever tasted, and the unexpected spicy hummus is a clever counterpoint to the rich beefy flavor of the generous slab of prime rib.
Next up was the Crab Cake sandwich. A generously sized lump crabmeat cake is dressed with wasabi mayonaise, lettuce, and chunks of bright red tomato, and the result is served on an English muffin. As you can see from the photo, Hubbell & Hudson doesn't skimp on the crab cake, and we think this dish will please any seafood fan.
We now travel south to the Caribbean for the Not So Cuban Cuban, a modern take on the traditional Cuban sandwich. Both freshly roasted pork and black forest ham are joined by baby swiss and the de rigueur pickle slices, dressed with a spicy Asian sauce and slid between two slices of ciabatta bread. We loved the sandwich and were in awe of the stellar Slow Dough ciabatta, but felt that the spicy Asian sauce overpowered the sandwich. We'd suggest asking for light sauce for a more balanced dish unless you crave hot sauce.
The final offering was perhaps the most unique. Named the Seoul Pork sandwich, it is an Asian spin on a chopped BBQ sandwich. Shredded Asian bacon slaw, wasabi mayo and chopped roasted pork are combined with a sweet honey sesame glaze and served on a toasted challah bun. It's an unexpected combination that works - the rich roast pork and smoky bacon are complimented by the crisp slaw, and the spicy wasabi mayo is offset by the sweet glaze. The combination works - this is a sandwich we will order often.
We think that these sandwiches highlight the creativity and attention to detail that is the hallmark of Hubbell & Hudson's restaurants under the leadership of Chef Austin Simmons. As always, the chef both surprised and delighted us with unexpected flavor profiles that work on the plate even better than they do on paper. We're looking forward to sampling the next offerings from this talented chef.
Hubbell & Hudson Burger Bar | 24 Waterway Ave | The Woodlands, TX 77380 | 281-203-5600