New and Noteworthy
Tost BistroBar, San Antonio and Sushi Raku, Houston
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San Antonio Remember the Soleil Bistro & Wine Bar? Tost has the same location and owner, but the name, decor, menu, and chef are all new. Appetizers include the likes of mussels with white beans, tomato, and chorizo—a combination of rare merit—and fried calamari lightly crusted with panko. Main courses run the gamut from tender scallops to rack of lamb with braised root vegetables. In conversation with our server, we were told the menu will change often, so we’ll be back to investigate. The atmosphere is seductive, with fabric screens separating tables along the banquette and an artful archway connecting the bar and the dining room. Bar. 14415 Blanco Rd, at Cadillac Dr (210-408-2670). Dinner Tue–Sat 5:30–10 (bar till 2 a.m.). Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations recommended. $$ W+
Houston We’ve taken quite a shine to this sleek Japanese newcomer in Midtown, from its decorative use of 60,000 pounds of red rope coils to its helpful service and (especially) its inventive chef. A mixed appetizer plate—jellyfish in plum sauce, salmon-wrapped mango, tuna sashimi, and cured Muscovy duck—primed us for the delights ahead. We kept our chopsticks clicking as we attacked a jazzed-up tuna tartare (atop a mixture of avocado, goat cheese, and chive oil) and a simply perfect dish of tempura rock shrimp garnished with delicate Japanese peppers. Bar. 3201 Louisiana, at Elgin (713-526-8885). Open Mon–Thur 11:30–10, Fri 11:30–midnight, Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10. Reservations recommended weekends. $$–$$$ WW+