texasmonthly.com: In the introduction to “Where to Eat Now 2005,” you mention that this year wasn’t, “in the words of the song, a very good year.” Did you feel you were pressed to find ten superior restaurants? Why or why not?
Patricia Sharpe: I expect each year to be better than the year before, but the restaurant scene is like the stock market—there are bull years and bear years. It doesn’t necessarily go up in a straight line, although over the long haul, the quality does improve. That’s mainly because as the big cities of Texas grow and become more competitive, they can attract more culinary talent. When I think of some restaurants in Texas that we considered cutting-edge fifteen years ago, I have to laugh, because they wouldn’t even begin make the top ten now.
texasmonthly.com: How do you begin the whole process of coming up with your list of ten?
PS: All year long I keep track of new restaurants. They call me or send press releases, or readers write and tell us about their favorite new places. I read the daily newspapers’ restaurant reviews. I look at ads. There are lots of ways to find out what’s new. It would be hard to do a story like this totally from scratch, but if you have been covering the restaurant scene for a long time, people seek you out.
texasmonthly.com: You list three restaurants from Houston and three restaurants from Dallas. Generally speaking, which do you think has better restaurants, Houston or Dallas?
PS: I honestly could not say. I think