100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 46, Chicken-Fried Steak at Triple A
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.
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
Steve Earle once said of our city and its lack of good chicken-fried steak: "Houston was always tough for chicken-frieds."
...and here's the other half of your breakfast. Hope you came hungry.
"The last fucking place you can get a decent chicken-fried steak is right over there," Earle elaborated in an interview with our own John Nova Lomax, indicating Texas to the west, down I-10. "There's one little pocket there: Schulenburg, Flatonia and La Grange. That's the last place in Texas you can get a decent chicken-fried-steak."
But maybe Earle just hasn't visited Triple A.
Triple A is a relic of an era long since past, of no-nonsense diners with worn linoleum floors and the employees' paste-brown lockers in full view of the dining room. The waitresses here have actual names like "Flo" and are not your gussied-up faux-'50s servers found at places like 59 Diner. They are warhorses who've worked here for the entirety of their lives, and they are not about to put up with your crap. Take a seat in a booth or at one of the low-slung stools at the counter, order your CFS for breakfast with a side of eggs and coffee, and don't bother the regulars: That's the mantra here at Triple A, which has been serving customers in identical fashion since television was still in black-and-white.
The CFS here is battered and fried fresh with every order. As one of the waitresses once memorably told Robb Walsh, "We batter the chicken-fried steak from scratch; it's not the frozen kind." It shows, too, in the honest construction of the pounded-thin steak, the crinkly batter that adheres fiercely to every bite and crunches mesmerizingly under a sea of white cream gravy. This is CFS that you'd be proud to introduce to your grandparents, eager to show off to visitors as a representative of the great chicken-fried steaks across Texas. And you can walk it all off at Canino's right next door after you're finished, grabbing pastries at El Bolillo for dessert, in one of the truly great ways to spend a Saturday morning in Houston.
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
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island
No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel
No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods
No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina
No. 52: Tacos at Brothers Taco House
No. 51: Branzino at Lucio's BYOB
No. 50: Beef sweetbreads at Feast
No. 49: Golden Doomba Special at the Rice Box Truck
No. 48: Malted waffle at City Cafe
No. 47: Banh mi bo kho at Cafe TH
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