100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 11, Camarones Henesy en Hamaca at Arturo Boada Cuisine

Photos 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.

Boada in the kitchen at his namesake restaurant.
There are two restaurants in Houston that bear Arturo Boada's name. But Boada himself can only be found at one of them: Arturo Boada Cuisine.

At Arturo's Uptown Italiano, the other restaurant in Houston that bears his name, Boada made fairly standard Italian food alongside partner Bill Sadler. Arturo's Uptown was popular with Galleria-area ladies who lunch and older neighborhood couples. When Boada departed to open his own restaurant, he and Sadler became embroiled in a sticky lawsuit over recipes and naming rights. It was so distracting that no one -- myself included -- expected much of Boada's new concept, which initially seemed as though it would serve more middling Italian food to patrician patrons who were really only there to visit with each other and drink wine.

But you should never count a chef out, especially one who wowed Houstonians for years -- albeit in the 1990s. One of Boada's first restaurants, La Mer, gained a spot on Esquire's Best New Restaurants list in 1992. And in 1997, Boada did it again with the opening of Solero, which helped ignite Houston's love affair with tapas restaurants.

And although it's been years since Boada has been recognized for that level of cooking, the chef has still got it. Witness his signature dish at Arturo Boada Cuisine: camarones henesy en hamaca.

It's a dish that loosely translates to "cognac shrimp in a hammock, or "I want to be buried in this sauce." The rich, almost velvety sauce is an arresting blend of butter, white wine, soy and ginger -- flavors that wouldn't seem to work with the additional components: hearts of palm, capers, tomatoes, sweet plantains and shrimp. It's an idiosyncratic dish that reflects Boada's scattered heritage (both personal and culinary; he's Colombian-born, with Italian and Spanish roots, and worked throughout Europe and Asia early in his career) and works on every level.

And although you may be tempted to order just one bowl of Boada's cognac-licked shrimp for the table, be warned: You won't want to share. Things could get ugly.

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
No. 46: Chicken fried steak at Triple A
No. 45: Larissa plate at Harry's
No. 44: Spaghetti carbonara at Coppa Ristorante Italiano
No. 43: Wings and grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 42: Frito pie at C&D Burger Shoppe
No. 41: Pollo con mole at El Gallo de Jalisco
No. 40: Fried avocado taco at H-Town StrEATs
No. 39: Rigatoni in bolognese sauce at Paulie's
No. 38: Chorizo kolaches at Peña's Donut Heaven
No. 37: Sashimi at Dadami
No. 36: Half-pound burger at benjy's
No. 35: Fried chicken at Haven
No. 34: Whole-fried speckled trout at Liberty Kitchen
No. 33: Moules congolaise at Jeannine's Bistro
No. 32: Pancakes at Fountain View Cafe
No. 31: Pineapple with chile en polvo at Canino's
No. 30: Fried chicken at Barbecue Inn
No. 29: Dirty Burque at Green Seed Vegan
No. 28: Egusi at Finger Licking Bukateria
No. 27: Brisket and turkey at CorkScrew BBQ
No. 26: Menudo at La Mexicana
No. 25: Shrimp and grits at Shade
No. 24: Kinilaw at Reef
No. 23: Lamb at El Hidalguense
No. 22: Gumbo at Danton's
No. 21: Chicken-fried water buffalo at The Hay Merchant
No. 20: Roasted cauliflower at Roost
No. 19: Truffled egg toast at Dolce Vita
No. 18: 63-degree egg at Brasserie 19
No. 17: Drunken foie gras at Philippe
No. 16: Beet salad at Triniti
No. 15: Yogi thali at Pondicheri
No. 14: Bialy and lox at The Hot Bagel Shop
No. 13: Ribs at Gatlin's
No. 12: Venison carpaccio at Thanh Phuong

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Location Info

Arturo Boada Cuisine

6510 Del Monte Dr., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Love this dish! Great choice. I need to make it to ABC more often.


Had no idea Arturo was still in Houston doing his thing, so thanks for this.


We have this same series in the Dallas Observer (sister publication).......and it is just as freaking boring!  How bout we have a company wide directive to NOT run the same lame stories-just sayin'.


 @Helios I didn't either, thought he'd gone after the Bill Sadler fight thingee.

kshilcutt moderator editor

 @kergo1spaceship I can't figure out what would inspire someone to take the time to head over to the Houston Press, find this series and then comment on how "lame" it is when they already think it's "lame" back in Dallas, but thank you for your measured and considerate reply.


 @kshilcutt  @kergo1spaceship 


I was commenting on a Pink Floyd write up....and wandered over yonder-and that's weird why?  



See, this thing, called the internet let's us, or me, in this case, peruse all the offerings of every place I desire...... novel concept!!!

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