The year is quickly drawing to a close and there’s no time to waste: If you want to try some of the most notable dishes or drinks of the year, now’s the time!
Credit: Paula Murphy
Tlayuda at Xochi
A signature dish at the latest restaurant from James Beard Award–winner Hugo Ortega, this oversized tortilla mimics the popular Oaxacan street food. Four variations include one with skirt steak, chichilo quesillo and Oaxacan black beans; another with roasted mushrooms, goat cheese, vegetarian beans, hoja santa and mole amarillo. Find it on the lunch menu.
1777 Walker St.; 713-400-3330
Credit: Julie Soefer
Puffy crispy lobster tacos at Star Fish
Though listed under appetizers, these generously stuffed tacos work as a meal for one or a shared starter for two. Chunks of tender lobster hide inside melted pepper jack cheese surrounded by shredded lettuce and chopped tomato; a tangy avocado salsa cuts the richness of the fillings.
191 Heights Blvd.; 832-831-9820
Credit: Ellie Sharp
Iced sea salt coffee at 85°C Bakery
More than 50 varieties of pastries adorn self-serve shelves at this cheerful bakery, but one of the top-selling items is the unique sea salt coffee. A study in contrasts, it combines a sweetened Americano base topped with sea salt cream. We haven’t found a version of this anywhere else in Houston, and this one is worth the drive for its cool factor alone.
9750 Bellaire Blvd. #168; 832-831-1392
Courtesy of Riel
44 Farms bone-in rib-eye 48 oz. at Riel
This massive plate highlights the talents of chef-owner Ryan Lachaine and the Texas Angus beef from 44 Farms. Intended for sharing among two to four people, the steak is served with béarnaise, steak sauce and seasonal sides.
1927 Fairview St.; 832-831-9109
Credit: Cuc Lam
Toothpick lamb at Chengdu Taste
Famous for authentic Sichuan fare, this popular Chinatown cafe serves a savory-spicy lamb generously seasoned with cumin and chile peppers. It comes in bite-sized pieces skewered on toothpicks.
9896 Bellaire Blvd. A; 832-538-1164
Credit: Jenn Duncan Photography
Party melt at Better Luck Tomorrow
A riff on the classic patty melt, this version marries thin caramelized beef patties with gooey cheese, thinly sliced raw red onions and caramelized onions. It sounds simple, but the flavor and textural balance make for a seriously craveable dish.
544 Yale St.; 713-802-0845
Courtesy of Roka Akor
Beef tataki with truffle jus at Roka Akor
The highly anticipated Japanese steak and sushi house marries signature flavors and textures in this sushi-style dish made from thinly sliced Texas Wagyu beef. Earthy black truffle accompanies the beef in two ways — raw and as a jus — while zesty pickled daikon adds crunch and a hint of vinegar.
2929 Weslayan St. #100; 713-622-1777