Estâncía Churrascaría, Austin

Pace yourself. Cuts of grilled meat come at you so fast that you can be full before your napkin hits your lap at this local incarnation (so to speak) of the Brazilian steakhouse, the first in Austin. Relish the garlicky goodness of picanha (a tender cut of rump steak), but leave room for filet mignon, linguica, chicken, lamb, and more, a dozen selections in all. As the mountain of meat appears, on skewers wielded by dashing waiters wearing gaucho pants and neckerchiefs, you might pause for a nonprotein break and nibble on yucca fries or try the crisp hearts of palm from the impressive salad bar. Or take time to scan your fellow carnivores in the rather proper dining room, with its white tablecloths and limestone-and-dark-wood columns. On the other hand, you might be seduced yet again by a gaucho bearing juicy pork ribs. Bar. 4894 U.S. 290W (512-892-1225). Lunch Mon–Fri 11–2, Sat & Sun 11:30–3. Dinner Mon–Thur 5–10, Fri 5–10:30, Sat 4:30–10:30, Sun 4–9:30 $$ W+

Kavála Mediterranean Grill, Dallas

The conversion of a former fast-food joint to a stylish restaurant is the Horatio Alger story of the dining industry. At Kavála, chef-owner Kelly Hightower is taking that time-honored leap of faith, betting that enough Oak Cliff residents and North Dallas adventurers will check out this pleasant and promising spot for him to make a go of it. A couple of initial visits indicated that the food is generally on the right track, especially a filet of wild sea bass and shrimp sided by fresh green beans. The fact that the cooking times were off (fish way underdone in the middle, shrimp slightly overdone) was balanced by the fantastically flavorful sauté of heirloom cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives that came with the combo. A roasted ear of corn, its husks pulled back to make a handle, had been lavished with aïoli and Parmesan, Mexican-street-fair style. If the luscious homemade brownie is offered—it’s studded with pistachios and set off with cinnamon ice cream—don’t miss it. Bar. 1417 W. Davis (214-942-8100). Lunch Mon–Fri 11–2. Dinner Mon–Sat 5–10. Closed Sun. $$–$$$ W+