Patricia Sharpe grew up in Austin and holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. After working as a teacher (in English and Spanish) and at the Texas Historical Commission (writing historical markers), she joined the staff of Texas Monthly, in 1974. Initially, she edited the magazine’s cultural and restaurant listings and wrote a consumer feature called Touts. Eventually she focused exclusively on food. Her humorous story “War Fare,” an account of living for 48 hours on military MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), was included in the anthology Best Food Writing 2002. Many of her stories appear in the 2008 UT Press collection, Texas Monthly on Food. In 2006 her story about being a restaurant critic, titled “Confessions of a Skinny Bitch,” won a James Beard Foundation award for magazine food writing.

Sharpe has contributed to Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and the New York Times. She writes a regular restaurant column, Pat’s Pick, for Texas Monthly.

Articles by Patricia Sharpe

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Some dishes are so harmonious that they practically sing, and this creation from chef Mynetta Cockerell at Marty’s WineBar in Dallas is one of them. Served in the small, cozy restaurant located at the front of the wineshop, the dish involves variations on the themes of garlic, ginger, and sesame.

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

After Bruce and Susan Molzan bought the Ruggles Grill four years ago, they revitalized the menu at the sleepy Montrose landmark with his brash cooking style and her luxurious desserts. Both Molzans are graduates of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and their approaches…

Hattie’s

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

MAD FOR HATTIE’S On my first visit to Hattie’s, a brand-new restaurant in Dallas’ Oak Cliff area, I ordered the prosciutto-wrapped figs stuffed with Maytag blue cheese and walnuts just because the combo sounded different. Wham! Salty, sweet, pungent—this was no appetizer to trifle with. Hmmm. How to mellow out…

Burning Pear

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

HOT TOPIC When you hear the name the Burning Pear, I challenge you not to think of British funnymen Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s classic skit about a restaurant called the Frog and Peach (“There’s only two . . . dishes, really,” Cook says to Moore. “There’s frog à…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Some like it hot; Texans like it hotter. That’s why Carl Walker, the chef at Brennan’s in Houston (3300 Smith), branded his barbecued shrimp with black pepper and poblano chiles. Double-daring the Southwest palate, he paired the shrimp with his spicy version of a down-home favorite. “I wanted to make…

7

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

The restaurant’s sign—a giant white “7” set against a marine-blue background—is —an enigma. But here’s a hint: Think “seven seas.” Located in a small, unfussy space —on South Congress, 7 brings Austin diners a daily-changing menu of pristine sea creatures from around the world. The storefront, formerly occupied by…

Dutch Babies

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

There are innumerable recipes for these baked pancakes, varying the ratio of eggs to flour and the cooking temperature and time, so feel free to experiment. The finished product is actually quite similar to Yorkshire pudding (minus the beef drippings) or to popovers. Besides the traditional topping of lemon juice…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Neil Doherty, the executive chef at the Marker in Houston’s Adam’s Mark Hotel (2900 Briarpark Drive) was something of a child prodigy. By 21, he was already a head chef in his native Ireland, where he learned the value of cooking with local ingredients such as seaweed and nettles. He…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Tacos go uptown in the hands of Dean Fearing. All it takes is a little lobster, jalapeño-spiked cheese, fresh spinach, and Fearing’s snappy yellow-tomato salsa. This new, beautifully photographed compendium by Arlene Feltman-Sailhac focuses on nine masters of Southwestern cuisine. Other Texas chefs spotlighted are Robert Del Grande of…

Blowfish

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Fishing Expedition Blowfish is blowing my mind. I’m sitting in this jazzy, five-month-old sushi bar in an Arlington strip center looking at a menu that’s as up-to-date as anything in Dallas or Houston. You want pure raw fish? A wide array is offered—tuna, yellowtail, eel, conch, plus specials like Hawaiian…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Chef Oscar Mejia’s splashy tropical creations give a summer feel year-round to the menu at the Merchant Prince in Galveston. Located just off the soaring lobby of the beautifully restored 1879 Tremont House hotel (2300 Ship’s Mechanic Row), the intimate restaurant showcases Mejia’s idiosyncratic blend of Caribbean and Southwestern culinary…

Reef

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Where are we, Miami? The Bahamas? The shimmering blues and aquatic greens say “seaside.” So do the shell light fixtures and the wavy-textured back wall, which reminds me of a David Hockney swimming pool. All that’s needed are a few coconut palms to complete the Caribbean vibe. What’s driving…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

At Joey’s (4217 Oak Lawn) in Dallas, the concept of cheesecake has undergone a paradigm shift: Restaurateur Joey Vallone’s version is (1) not sweet and (2) not a dessert. To create this savory variation on a theme, chef Michael Wahl blends cream cheese with mascarpone, then folds in jumbo…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Think casual entertaining, and you think “grill.” This dish, from the New Southwestern bistro Third Coast Rotisserie and Grill in Houston, propels tradition up a notch. The shrimp and scallop skewers, a creation of executive chef Gary Tottis, take one of Texas’ great natural resources— seafood—and give it a distinctive…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

In 1980, when Armando Miranda took his first job in America as a line cook, he barely knew a muffin from a mousse. That has changed. In his peregrinations through prominent Houston restaurants, including the River Cafe, he taught himself to cook. Even today he’s a free spirit. “I don’t…

Go Fish

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Here’s a game to play while snacking on edamame and perusing the menu at Kenichi: How many shades of black—not counting the patrons’ clothing—can you spot at this sleek new sushi bar in downtown Austin? Although the look, by architect Dick Clark and designer Tonya Noble, is the essence of…

Catalan

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Juicy, very juicy. as my happily dazed friend remarked, perusing the tabletop, “There’s so much to dip your bread in that you hardly know where to reach next.” Consider yourself warned: The one thing you do not want to do at Catalan is run out of bread, lest you miss…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

For more than a year, Houston’s cafe society has been holding its breath in anticipation of the scheduled September reopening of Tony’s (1801 Post Oak Boulevard). Not only has the interior been lavishly remodeled to suggest a restaurant on the Italian Riviera, but owner Tony Vallone and chef Mark Cox…

Pacific Overtures

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

On the day that Roy’s opened its first Texas outpost, Austin’s muggy winter weather ended abruptly with the arrival of a bracing cold front, so the hula dancers brought in for the occasion, clad in nothing but grass skirts and coconut-shell bras, were shimmying like mad on the sidewalk. I…

Seared Ahi Tuna With Passion Fruit-Shrimp Salsa

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Passion Fruit Shrimp Salsa 1 ripe passion fruit (mango or other tropical fruit may be substituted) 4 or 5 extra-large shrimp (about 4 ounces total), peeled, deveined, and diced 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/4 cup finely minced onion (a Maui onion if available) 1/2 cup peeled,…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

“Brunch isn’t just eggs Benedict anymore,” says Matthew Antonvich, chef-owner of Dallas’ Sipango (4513 Travis), as he whips up a batch of frothy scrambled egg whites studded with morsels of pink smoked salmon and handsomely accessorized with oven-roasted potatoes and caramelized onions. “Five years ago,” says Antonovich, “nobody would have…

N9NE Steakhouse

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I SAID, “Darn! Why doesn’t Texas have more steakhouses with deejays?” How often have I groused, “Where the hell are the steakhouses with mirrored columns and silver-leafed domes?” And most important, “Where are the steakhouses with $69 margaritas?” I mean, really—if you want to go out…

Mansion at Judges’ Hill

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

CAPITAL HILL I could feel the effects of a brutal day vanishing the minute I walked into the elegant dining room of the Mansion at Judges’ Hill—the designers who create impeccable sets for Merchant-Ivory films have nothing on the architects and decorators who brought Austin’s historic Goodall Wooten house back…

Vin

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Has it come to this? Is it no longer enough for a restaurant to have a talented chef, an enticing menu, and a mod space in the theater district? Must there also be some gimmick with the name? Please, no. Surely the in crowd hasn’t taken to sniffing, “Well,…

Cova

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Folks in the wine biz are always fretting about how to make the fruit of the vine more approachable. It’s easy: Just open a wine shop and start serving yummy little snacks (and big snacks) on the side, as Monsterville Horton IV, the owner of Cova, has done in…

Capitol Brasserie

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Oversized French art posters on the wall? Check. Burgundy-and-faded-saffron color scheme? Check. Servers in long aprons? Check. Austin’s Capitol Brasserie has been around only two months, but it already has that unmistakable French brasserie look and feel. And the food I’ve tried at restaurateur Reed Clemons’s new place has…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

If it’s salmon you relish, you’ll go bananas for a plantain-crusted concoction at Austin’s Z’Tejas.

Urban Bistro

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

TALK ABOUT YOUR FIFTEEN minutes of fame. Dallas chef and restaurateur Avner Samuel has certainly had his: Avner’s on McKinney, Yellow, Okeanos, Bistro A, Bistro K, not to mention stints at the Mansion on Turtle Creek and the Pyramid Room, back when those behemoths were forces to be reckoned with.

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

East meets West for a culinary summit in this smashing recipe from Houston’s Sake Lounge (550 Texas Avenue). Chef de cuisine Steven Vanderpool brightens all-American crab cakes with a splash of soy sauce and a dash of curry powder; for emphasis, he adds a few pungent leaves of Chinese parsley…

Nobu

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Dine at the right time, get the right server, and order the right things, and you can have a dazzling meal at Dallas’s very own Nobu, an outpost of renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s eponymous restaurant empire. I, for one, liked my seared toro (the prized “fatty tuna”) with jalapeño,…