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 September 2023 issue. Click “More Info” for further detail on each restaurant:
This rollicking hot spot on the second floor of the vast, double-decker Dun Huang Plaza, in Chinatown, is brought to us by Grace and Leo Xia, of Duck n Bao. It’s an all-you-can-eat concept, and the “33” refers to the reasonable $33 fixed price per person. After we ordered the recommended beef, the usual variety of small condiment plates were set before us, including pickled daikon, bean sprouts, cucumber, and kimchi (the best we’ve had). As the meat arrived and we began to grill our brisket, Wagyu beef belly, flatiron steak, and galbi, we agreed we had ascended to carnivore heaven. The japchae—stir-fried glass noodles—are worth sampling as well. Hongdae doesn’t take reservations, and there are lines, so get there early. Also, they set a ninety-minute limit on each seating, do not provide doggie bags, and charge $8 per head for food left on the plate— so eat up!
Korean | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info
From the folks behind Emmer & Rye comes a highly original eatery inspired by Israeli street food. The lively, high-ceilinged room is tricked out with paper lanterns painted to mimic graffiti, and the sound of happy customers caroms off the walls. The smashed cucumber salad flecked with black nigella seeds was a sensation, the fresh tomato salad made the best of summer’s harvest, and the lamb-and-beef kofta with roasted eggplant was something we hope to be eating year-round. Just one caution: the kitchen loves assertive bitter and sour flavors, and more than a few elements (like the amba, a pickled mango sauce that comes with the falafel) reflect that preference. A thoughtful wine list heavy on Greek whites, such as Limnio and Assyrtiko, adds to the experience.
Israeli | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info
The Fresh American
Smart and contemporary, this spacious new restaurant distinguishes itself with an energetic open kitchen, a reservations-only chef’s table, and servers decked out in newsboy caps and full-length aprons. The menu delighted us with a blood orange margarita, a salad of beets and goat cheese, and a flatbread called the Marilyn Monroe: mushrooms, mozzarella, feta, olives, pesto, and sweet peppers. Shrimp scampi arrived with angel hair pasta and just the right amount of white wine–lemon broth, while our hand-cut filet came with a red wine bordelaise. (The most impressive cut is the caveman-size Tomahawk ribeye, which could easily feed a whole table.)
American | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info
This Southtown place is so popular that we resorted to a 5:00 reservation after several weeks of trying to get a table. Hello, indeed. Paella (on the menu every Sunday) was a pure taste of Valencia, with perfectly cooked rice, well-seasoned seafood, and tiny bites of smoky, spicy chorizo. Tapas had the same authentic flavors and reminded us that tiny doesn’t mean boring. Checking all the right boxes were beef-and-chorizo meatballs, charred cauliflower with a Parmesan mayo, and baked goat cheese with piloncillo jam. Other notables: simple dining rooms, a cozy bar, local artwork on the wall, and a pleasant street-corner patio.
Tapas | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info
The dreamy brisket botana (a bountiful helping of sliced beef, rice, and beans) always comes to mind when we think about this Mission-born barbecue joint. Though the new location serves the same acclaimed South Texas barbecue as the original, this time we fell in love with the Mexican Plate: cheese enchiladas accompanied by rice, beans, and sliced oak-smoked brisket with an exemplary bark. Sometimes we order healthy, though: brisket or pulled pork mounded atop a fresh garden salad.
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.