Fish tacos are to California what barbecue is to Texas.
So naturally as a fan of the fish taco I was eager to check out the recently opened Wahoo’s Fish Taco in The Woodlands. It’s the first Houston-area store for the California-born chain.
The menu is an interesting mix: a little bit Asian and a whole lot of Southern California. The titular taco is grilled fish topped with ribbons of green cabbage and pico de gallo, which is referred to at Wahoo’s as salsa. The restaurant offers nearly a dozen taco variations, including tofu, mushroom and braised pork.
The counter-service restaurant is a riot of Southern California, its walls covered in surfing posters, skateboard decks, boogie boards and sports dealers decals and signs.
Everything I tried at Wahoo’s tasted fresh, the staff was friendly and the mix-and-match menu will hold much appeal for families with picky eaters.
If you’re to believe all the popularity polls out there, Houston’s favorite fish taco is found at Berryhill Baja Grill, which has 11 Houston-area locations.
Berryhill’s Original Fish Taco features fried tempura-battered fish, a creamy “special” sauce, shredded red cabbage and freshly chopped cilantro in two stacked corn tortillas. As fond as I am of the Original, it’s often a difficult decision when standing at the counter as I’m also a fan of BBG’s crispy shrimp taco, which gets a generous smear of a mustardy remoulade sauce, and the grilled chipotle-marinated fish taco.
I like to visit Berryhill on Mondays, when many of the outlets offer $1.99 fish tacos.
All this fish taco talk, and I haven’t mentioned yet where my current favorite fish taco can be found. It’s in Clear Lake.
I don’t expect I’d ever have come across Tierra Luna Grill on my own. Months ago while doing some online sleuthing for Clear Lake-area restaurants, I came across a review of Tierra Luna and added it to my growing places-to-visit list.
It’s in a small strip center behind a gas station, just a stone’s throw from the Johnson Space Center. It takes its name not from its proximity to the JSC, but for its family connection to the space program. It is run by an astronaut’s wife.
The restaurant’s decor isn’t flashy, but it is bright and cheerful. It’s just one of those family places where you instantly feel welcome.
On a recent visit, I quizzed the staff about the creamy cilantro sauce on which the perfectly grilled tilapia rested. As a fish taco fan, I’ve tasted a lot of creamy cilantro sauces. This one was assertive, yet it didn’t overshadow the mild, crazy fresh fish.
“Not even the owner knows,” a server said when asked about the sauce. “It’s the cook’s secret.”
All I can say is don’t lose that cook.