100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 51, Branzino at Lucio's BYOB

Photo by Troy Fields
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.

The branzino before it goes into the oven.

Just when you think you know a neighborhood and just when you think you've uncovered every stone there is to pluck up and examine, Houston surprises you. That's the pleasure I experienced the first time I walked into Lucio's BYOB.

I left surprised at how I'd managed to overlook the restaurant all this time -- despite its welcoming sign encouraging customers to bring their own wine, despite its location next to now-closed Gravitas and despite my having lived only a few blocks away for the last few years. Such is the power of a perfectly cooked branzino, or European sea bass. It's highly prized in countries such as Italy for its firm but delicate white flesh. And because it has very few small bones, it's much more amenable to being served whole -- which is just how Lucio's makes its branzino, served with a crisp pile of apple-sesame slaw on the side.

Stuffed with oranges and shining with a summery-sweet hibiscus glaze that hums with the musky, floral flavors of jamaica tea, the whole roasted fish is fileted tableside with understated but expert precision by a smiling waiter in full uniform who will also happily uncork the bottle of wine you brought (if you remembered to do so -- after all, it's a BYOB). I enjoyed every last square inch of flesh on my branzino alongside a bottle of 2009 Barbera del Monferrato with my colleague Jeremy Parzen on my first visit to Lucio's, which -- along with the branzino -- made it one of the most memorable meals of the year.

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

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Location Info

Lucio's BYOB

905 Taft, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Lucio’s BYOB & Grill is a New American inspired BYOB, located on Taft Street near the heart of Houston. Owner John Sjoberg, and chef Brett Maeschand his team prepare a menu focused on the season, respecting French traditions along with classic and modern techniques to build a dining experience that evokes entertainment, excitement, and satisfaction. We love the charming service and recommend the beautiful patio for dining al fresco for the perfect romantic evening.

kshilcutt moderator editor

 @Texmex01 , we switched to a new commenting system. From what I understand, the old comments should be restored. Hopefully soon.  :)


So what happened to all the comments????

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