Texas is well represented on Eater’s list of best new restaurants in the nation, which was revealed Wednesday. Three made the final list of eighteen, outperformed only by California, which had five winners. Eater’s traveling national restaurant critic, Bill Addison, said of the list: “These chefs and restaurateurs stand out by gamely revealing themselves—by showing heart in their hospitality, remarkable ingenuity, and individuality on their menus.” (To be considered, a restaurant had to open between May 2017 and May 2018.)
In his review of Suerte, which opened in March, in Austin, Addison wrote, “If the Texas sun had a fragrance, it would smell like the small, speckled tortillas that cradle confit brisket tacos with ‘black magic oil’ (made from sesame and smoked morita chiles) and come alongside grilled fish with bacon salsa or a whopping goat shoulder cooked barbacoa-style.” 1800 E. Sixth Street, Austin, (512) 953-0092; suerteatx.com.
Of his Houston choice, Theodore Rex, Addison lamented the closure of its fancier predecessor from chef Justin Yu: “Oxheart’s tasting-menu format is gone, but wonderfully, the more casual T. Rex—located in the same snug, quirky Warehouse District space —showcases Yu cooking at the exact same level of exuberance and ingenuity. The signature starter is tomato toast, a layering of fresh and cooked flavors that flings umami thunderbolts with each bite.” 1302 Nance, Houston, (832) 830-8592; trexhouston.com.
In San Antonio, Addison singled out counter-service restaurant Carnitas Lonja, where chef Alex Paredes “is master of carnitas. He slow-cooks them for hours until the ropy, near-greaseless hunks of pork reveal a gamut of textures in every bite: crisp, supple, lacy, chewy. His staff fashions corn tortillas by hand with exactly the right heft to handle the carnitas . . . [and] the complimentary red and green salsas.” 1107 Roosevelt Ave., (210) 612-3626.
Suerte was Pat’s Pick for the June issue of Texas Monthly (see the video here), and Theodore Rex made our 2018 list of best new restaurants in the state. (In April, chef Yu also took us on a video tour of his favorite Houston haunts.)