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 January 2023 issue. Click “More Info” for further detail on each restaurant:
El Rincón del Maiz
Citing its creative vegan menu, Bon Appétit named this humble Mexican eatery one of its fifty best new restaurants for 2022. Excellent corn tortillas, filled with well-seasoned vegetables or meats, come in a range of flavors, from beet to guajillo chile. The tangy Jamaica con Coliflor taco (hibiscus with cauliflower) lived up to the hype: pan-fried hibiscus petals and caramelized cauliflower bits came bound with a hint of chile and lime and topped with pickled onions and cilantro. Vegans can enjoy birria tacos made with shredded jackfruit, and meat eaters will love the tender chicken-filled tamale cloaked in dark mole, as well as the panuchos: quick-fried masa disks cradling refried beans, marinated roast pork, and pickled onions.
Mexican | ⭑⭑⭑ | $ | More Info
The Mexican green jay provides the name for the restaurant occupying the once-leaning building that housed Liberty Bar, which is now totally spiffed up and straightened out, with a just-cute-enough outdoor patio and a new smokehouse. South Texas and northern Mexico steer the menu, which is replete with giant platters of nachos, barbacoa, and brisket. It’s nice to see border-area ingredients such as anise-like hoja santa, epazote, and queso fresco. Expect entrées large enough to share, with excellent refried beans and Spanish-style rice. Churros and pecan pie fill up any empty corners.
Mexican | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info
From the owners of Hando and Kanpai Club, this Vietnamese spot seems
unassuming on first glance, slotted as it is in a strip center on North Shepherd. Yet open the door and you enter a light-filled sanctuary. Colorful plates parade by, some original, others updated classics, and all tantalizing. Our crispy hush puppies served with Thai basil crema set the stage for the BX Taco, a scallion turmeric-coconut crepe filled with seafood and pork belly. The evening’s star? A dreamy tofu mushroom curry, one of the best bites of the year.
Vietnamese | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info
Michelin-starred chef Akira Back has extended his global empire to the Colony, 28 miles north of Dallas. It’s a bit of a departure from his usual glitzy locales (Paris, Dubai, Beverly Hills), but the sleek interior is no less upscale. The modern Japanese menu draws on his Korean roots, bringing a little fusion flair to items such as the stellar Jeju Domi: Korean snapper sashimi with marinated smelt roe and red sorrel. Steaks include a filet tobanyaki (a style of cooking in which the tender Angus beef is roasted on a ceramic dish) and a ten-ounce Wagyu ribeye with wasabi butter. Seafood dishes include grilled octopus with potato “foam” and salsa verde and kimchi-topped scallops on the half shell (if the special of Japanese sea bream in beurre blanc is on the menu, order it). If not for the commercial center setting, which affords glimpses of highway from the patio, this restaurant could rate higher.
Japanese | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$$$ | More Info
Smokin’ Moon BBQ
The same delicious barbecue that has caught our attention on previous occasions (see our 2019 list of the top 25 new joints and our 2021 roundup of the top 100) is now available in a stylish new joint in McAllen. We spotted familiar faces tending the fires (brought over from the original location, in Pharr), and once again we fell in love with the crunchy, peppery bark and red smoke ring of their nicely handled brisket. One of our favorite barbecue sandwiches is served here: the Chile Sueño, which consists of a buttered potato roll holding sliced brisket, a ladleful of chili, crunchy slices of jalapeño, and shredded cheddar cheese. We especially enjoyed it on the patio with a tasty craft beer and live music.
Barbecue | ⭑⭑ | $$ | 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.
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