Katharine Shilcutt's 10 Favorite Dishes in Houston

Categories: Top 10

spanishvillageenchiladas.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
5. Enchiladas a la Taylor at Spanish Village

Spanish Village has a long and complex history, as tends to happen when a restaurant is more than 50 years old. Houston used to have two Spanish Village restaurants, born of a feud that lasted for years -- one at 4811 Lillian and one at 4720 Almeda. The Christmas-light-covered Almeda location eventually outlasted the Lillian location and is the only remaining Spanish Village today, serving what Robb Walsh once called "vintage Tex-Mex at its finest."

The enchiladas a la Taylor are the best example of that vintage Tex-Mex, topped with plenty of chile con carne, chili gravy and raw white onions, while the margaritas and their signature dagger-like ice shards remain the stuff of Houston legend.

The rambling, papel picado-strung Spanish Village evokes everything people love about Tex-Mex, everything we find comfort in about the cuisine: a sprawling but cozy set of dining rooms that reminds you of your aunt's house at Christmas with all the cousins and the noise and family photos and the tacky colored lights running from room to room; gooey cheese that wraps your stomach and your heart in warmth (and perhaps cholesterol, but who cares?); simply constructed guacamole salad without any fuss or pomp, served with idiosyncratic bits of carrot and celery stuck on top; a hot plate of enchiladas with nothing else but ground beef, plenty of cheese and white onions telling you that even if everything else in the world is in a state of disarray and chaos, this one thing will always be here and always be the same and you'll be okay.


Location Info

Hobbit Cafe

2243 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Roost

1972 Fairview St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Bismillah Restaurant

5702 Hillcroft Ave, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

LA Crawfish

1005 Blalock, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe

1511 Airline, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Spanish Village

4720 Almeda, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Thanh Phuong

3236 E. Broadway, Pearland, TX

Category: Restaurant

Oxheart

1302 Nance St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Gerardo's Drive-In Grocery

609 Patton St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Rainbow Lodge

2011 Ella Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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24 comments
texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

ahhhh, the #31 @ Spanish Village never lets me down....

adricas35
adricas35

Really good list! You'll be missed! Also, Sammy's WIld Game Grill Camel Burger and the Pheasant hot dog are to die for...so yummy. I've never thought that I would say "yummy" and "Camel" together lol

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

The one dish I emplore everyone to try, especially due to their departure in June, is the Scallops St. Jacques at Feast.  Truly one of the best dishes I've had in the past decade.  A very simple and decadent dish.  All it is comprised of is Scallops, mushrooms, Brandy and cream sauce.  

Don't miss getting to try this before it leaves!

BobbyFreshpants
BobbyFreshpants topcommenter

No mention of La Macro? I thought you would have given them an honorable mention

HTownChowDown
HTownChowDown

Excellent list, Katharine. You're going to be missed here. Thank you for so many fantastic articles.

Loona_c
Loona_c

I choose the Gandalf at Hobbit Hole instead!  And I don't get the love for Spanish Village.  I know they are beloved by so many, but the margarita was melted and bitter, the chips were thick and chewy and the food overpriced and meh.

But others on the list sound interesting!

eudemonist
eudemonist

Thanks for all the good stuff in your time here, Katherine!  Found some great food because of this column.

Brazos
Brazos

Loved reading your articles. You'll be missed. 

I used to go the the Hobbit Hole back in the 80's as well. Thanks for  the trip back in time.

 Oh and thanks so much for the article on the lobster roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches.  It's a drive for me but worth every nickel. Their bread is perfect.

kagan34
kagan34

Some good stuff on here...gotta try it! You've done a remarkable and memorable job, and I will join in your farewell ceremony tomorrow when they cast your handprints in the cement adjacent to the Houston Press building.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

Great list--just totally rearranged my "top 10" (Urban Swank gals inspired me to get list-y with my must-trys) as a result. Good luck, Katharine!

ekhilton
ekhilton

Madame: you are so tremendously good at what you do. Thank you for all the education, enlightenment and insight.  I'll be following you still and wish you the best.

Houstess
Houstess

Nice list.  But I wish you had chosen a different format for your penultimate day.  It took forever to look at each page.

stgeorge4
stgeorge4

katharine...is the snapper at teotihuacan boneless?

mgaspard
mgaspard

This is a great list, congrats on the new gig!

VStilton2
VStilton2

@FattyFatBastard  

Sounds delicious! One of the best dishes I've had at Feast is something I rarely order at a restaurant: chicken. Theirs is truly amazing, roasted and served with a velvety sauce that's spiked with Pernod or Ricard, something anise scented anyway. Nearly as tasty as your Chinese Cottage Cheese I should think.

J.A.Justice
J.A.Justice

@Houstess No shit right?  Stop giving us actual content and information and just shovel a pointless useless list into our faces!  Reading is for idiots!

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