100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 72, Esparragos Gratinados at Tintos

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Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

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Because you need to see its beautiful backside, too.

Although many of the tapas items at Tintos are Spanish standards, the restaurant occasionally gives certain dishes signature twists. Case in point: the excellent esparragos gratinados, which are normally just asparagus spears served au gratin.

Here, however, thick stalks of bright green asparagus are lightly battered in tempura and fried before being topped with a creamy lemon aioli, roasted red peppers, a fat scoop of lump crab meat and a poached egg whose golden yolk blends with the aioli to form the perfect dipping sauce for the vegetable.

Surprisingly for all the ingredients involved, the esparragos gratinados comes off as a brilliantly simple dish mostly because of the way that all of the flavors pair effortlessly together. Lemon is a natural match with both asparagus and crab meat, while the poached egg adds only a silky, fatty undertone to the already creamy sauce. At $12, it's one of the more expensive tapas plates on the menu but worth every cent.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria

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Location Info

Tintos Spanish Restaurant and Wine Bar - CLOSED

2015 W. Gray, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Ha! I just noticed that tonight. I promise a less asparagus-heavy list as we progress...  ;)


I find it hard to believe there are 71 dishes in Houston that look better than that


Piatto's has something similar, and hey!  Already two asparagus entrees make the list.  Will this year's list be asparagus-centric?  Try to throw in an artichoke item as well (that isn't served as a dip.)


oh snap, more lump crab at a houston restaurant! the horrors!


OMG -- I may dream about this one!

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