One could argue 2014 is the year of Texas restaurants. Earlier this year, one Austin chef and three from Houston were deemed finalists for James Beard’s Best Chef Southwest Award. Next, three chefs were named to Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs. And now, Bon Appétit magazine has sent accolades our way.
Andrew Knowlton, the magazine’s restaurant editor, described Hot Joy (number seven on the list) this way:
Chef Quealy Watson has never been to Asia. Everything he knows about Chinese, Japanese, Indian, or the rest of that vast region’s cuisine he picked up from cookbooks and the Internet. But who cares anymore? Authenticity and rigid adherence to tradition are overrated. Deliciousness is king. That’s the only way I can explain the wide-ranging, irreverent, and profoundly irresistible menu at Hot Joy.
Thai-Khun (number eight) isn’t a restaurant (rather, it’s a popular food trailer parked at the back of an Austin dive bar), but Knowlton was impressed by the trailer’s mastery of flavors.
To make an evening of it, grab some tall boys at the bar, head out back to the picnic tables, and order everything on the eight-item menu (grand total: $56). Then prepare to have your senses obliterated… Better hurry, though—it’s only a matter of time before Changthong finds his way back to a kitchen without wheels. Till then, you’ve got a compelling reason to believe in the mobile revolution.
For the full list of Bon Appetit’s Top Ten Best New Restaurants in the U.S., click here.