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 April 2021 issue. Click “More Info” for further detail on each restaurant:
Along with Japanese eatery Ichi Ni San and cocktail bar Hard Shake, Ounce is one third of a culinary collaboration at the Exchange food hall, part of the AT&T Discovery District. This “Texas-inspired brasserie” is sleek, dark, lively, and already attracting a sophisticated young crowd for chef Brian Zenner’s Euro-Mediterranean small plates. Order this to go: Allowing for plenty of variety are tapas-style offerings like lamb tartare, grilled octopus with gigante beans and salsa verde, and fat prawns a la plancha bathed in garlic and chiles. Vegetarians will enjoy the tian, with its layers of seasonal vegetables. Pro tip: Finding Ounce is tricky if you’re unfamiliar with downtown’s Akard Street Mall. Enter on foot from Commerce, across from the Adolphus. Then go right, heading toward the exterior stairs on the east facade of Exchange Hall. You’ll be greeted at the host stand and escorted upstairs; outside seating is available.
New American | ⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info
The new businesses at the Canyons at Cimarron, in northwest El Paso, offer a little hope in this time of COVID. The Overpour is one of the latest openings, a low-lit wine-whiskey-and-cigars sort of spot that also serves up satisfying noshes to take home. Order this to go: The Adult Grilled Cheese is filled with fontina and apples and crisped to perfection. Charcuterie boards have been a go-to dinner for many during the pandemic, and these are bigger and better than most. The Italian version features prosciutto, coppa, and Parmesan, while the Spanish board delivers succulent serrano ham, chorizo, and Manchego cheese. The bourbon margarita with Cointreau is the ultimate specialty cocktail. Pro tip: Call about an hour in advance and your food will be ready for you upon arrival. Order a red velvet cupcake for the road and break all the rules regarding dessert before dinner.
Wine Bar | ⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info
The Taco Stand
The Burger Joint team does it again, this time with a contemporary take on a taco stand, with dozens to choose from, plus sides, quesadillas, and taco bowls. The new normal in dining here means a covered patio, walk-up takeout window, and handy drive-through. Order this to go: The bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast tacos; hefty customizable burritos for a full lunch on the run; and thick, crunchy house-made tortilla chips with guacamole or queso. Hurry and scarf down the delish shrimp, cabbage, and pico de gallo tacos on plush corn tortillas before everything gets cold; ditto the meaty brisket-packed tacos and the hearty mushroom ones. Pro tip: Make sure to ask about taco toppings, which include tangy escabeche, pickled onions, and at least five fresh salsas, including spicy green and several red choices.
Mexican | ⭑⭑ | $ | More Info
Fun Noodle Bar
This long-awaited spot serves hand-pulled noodles that are perfect for takeout. Order this to go: If you’re really hungry, start with the generously sized crab rangoons, then follow that with the beef or chicken tonkotsu ramen. The steamed dumplings (pork with Chinese cabbage or beef with onion) are great too, as a side or a standalone dish, as are the steamed bao and green onion pancakes. Pro tip: The dining room is small and usually has a line out the door; we opted to place our order through the website and pick it up. As the dry ingredients are packaged separately from the broth, it’s easy to make a second meal; simply reserve half of each to combine and warm up later.
Chinese | ⭑⭑ | $ | More Info
Little Em’s Oyster Bar
The King William corner of South Alamo and Beauregard has seen a slew of interesting tenants over the years, but this is the first time one has made the most of the former gas station, adding a breezy patio, flower-filled window boxes, and cheerful blue-and-white-striped awnings. The menu offers a boatload of fresh seafood and shellfish, which, if the crowds are any indication, has caught on with the neighborhood. Order this to go: With mango, jalapeño, and lime, the red snapper ceviche is pure wave wonderful (we just wished for a larger portion). Follow it up with a crab cake topped with avocado crema and bitter greens and a plump lobster roll, the tender meat bathed in a tarragon aioli, with celery and onion adding a bit of crunch. Classic, in other words. Pro tip: If you’re feeling celebratory, Little Em’s is the place to order a traditional caviar service, with either Russian Ossetra or Royal White sturgeon.
Seafood | ⭑⭑ | $$$ | 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.