Texas Monthly adds and updates approximately sixty restaurant listings to our Dining Guide each month. There’s limited space in the print issue, but the entire searchable guide to the best of Texas cuisine is at your fingertips online!
Below are a few highlights from the new restaurants reviewed in our February 2020 issue. You can also read up restaurant critic Pat Sharpe’s latest Pat’s Pick, Austin’s Nixta Taqueria.
Click “More Info” for further detail on each restaurant:
Vegan cheese doesn’t get stringy when it melts—it turns into something more like a cheese spread—but those strings will be the only thing you’ll miss when you bite into the Jalapeño Melt at this alternative fromagerie. Studded with a layer of pickled jalapeños, the grilled sourdough boasts mozzarella and cheddar, and the gooey factor is high and satisfying for young and old alike. We doubt you’ll be fooled by the Gentle Reuben, but the vegan corned beef and Swiss cheese meld with the sauerkraut in a delicious way nonetheless—and won’t necessitate a nap underneath your desk later. Whether you are vegan or not, the herb-filled tomato soup with a swirl of cashew cream is a winner. In addition to sandwiches and soups, there’s all manner of charcuterie to either take home or enjoy at the cheery, bright shop with a glass or bottle of wine.
Vegan | ⭑⭑ | $ | More Info
Tucked discreetly into the corner of a vintage downtown building, Partenope, named for the “maiden-voiced” Greek siren, has a youthful, sophisticated vibe. Chef-owner Dino Santonicola was a pizzaiolo at Cane Rosso, so it’s no surprise that his thin-crust pizzas, nearly a dozen varieties baked in an authentic Neapolitan oven, are a draw. But don’t miss the marvelous pasta dishes, like the made-to-order timballetto di melanzane: eggplant layered with beef, bucatini, mozzarella, and sausage. Branzino, served with fingerling potatoes and cherry tomatoes in a luscious beurre blanc, is delicately oven-roasted to perfection. While wines are strictly Italian, many beers are local, and Negroni cocktails are a house specialty. Tiramisu, made from the chef’s family recipe, gives a feather-light finish to a hearty meal.
Italian | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info
Slowpoke Farm Market
Overflowing with small-town charm, Slowpoke incorporates ingredients sourced from the proprietor’s nearby farm and others nearby. Within a warm, rustic space framed by century-old rock walls, we sit at old wooden tables to savor a perfect plate: meat loaf made with organic beef, alongside creamed potatoes and a fresh, simple salad. Bacon in the broccoli quiche comes from pigs raised on Slowpoke Farm; local duck eggs and Veldhuizen cheeses factor in as well. The tender, toothsome house-made sourdough ferrying chunky chicken salad is for sale, as is a selection of frozen fresh farm meats and coffee roasted on-site. Leave ample room for pie, as some eight or so are offered daily; co-owner Kerry Hedges’s lemon meringue, buttermilk, and sea salt-chocolate-pecan-caramel are the best we’ve tasted this year.
America | ⭑⭑⭑⭑ | $ | More Info
Chef Micah Rideout, who oversees this airy new Heights spot, does wonders with vegetables. If you refused to eat your mom’s carrots, give Carrot Away a chance: carrots by way of a cardamom carrot curry, masala glazed, pickled, honey roasted, and even topped with carrot powder and carrot air (foamy)! Equally fine were both the Texas tomatoes with radishes, basil, smoked burrata, lemon olive aioli, and balsamic and an artichoke hummus topped with fried artichokes, roasted sunchokes, and a black garlic glaze. We shared both of our seafood main courses: sweet, juicy scallops served with cornbread, squash succotash, and corn fondue and a slab of skin-on salmon, perfectly cooked and touched with citrus and olive oil, pistachios, beets, and jicama. Tandoori fajita translated as lamb, with yogurt and green tomato pico de gallo for a bit of interest, served with flaky, almost croissant-textured roti for scooping. Extensive, impressive wine list.
New American | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info
Julia’s Bistro & Bar
Imagine for a minute that Julia Child grew up in San Antonio, did her stint in Paris, then returned to a lively inner city neighborhood. This bistro, from the same Jean-Francois Poujol (along with chef de cuisine Zack McKinney) who brings us the cozy comfort-food cafe SoHill, right next door, puts that imagining into its menu. For example, chile relleno here is a roasted poblano filled with shredded braised lamb and goat cheese and bathed in chimichurri, wildly herbal and aromatic. Moules marinière live on the classic-French side of things, with a creamy white wine sauce, but the duck street tacos take on Mexico with stellar results, featuring lots of texture with a corn pico, cotija cheese, and a sprinkling of cilantro. Bare and spare, the dining room’s minimalist decor of Edison bulbs and exposed brick is warmed up with attentive and informed service.
French | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info
Our reviews are written by critics who live in the cities and regions they cover. They remain anonymous to ensure that they receive no special treatment. The magazine pays for all meals and accepts no advertising or other consideration in exchange for a listing. Comments? Write us.