Big Bend dining is surging back. At the Gage Hotel we sat in the tented patio, which offers an outdoor—if steamy—option in summer. Try this: The kitchen has rolled out innovative offerings this year, though they’re a mixed bag. We loved our starter of shrimp campechana, with chopped crustaceans, crunchy cucumber, and bits of avocado. Our other appetizer was the spicy fried quail, and the “spicy” part of the description was no joke, so much so that the pickled quail eggs on the side, though cute, were one sharp element too much (fortunately blades of cool celery balanced it all out). Star billing goes to the pork chop—a tomahawk cut, courageously cooked to not-overdone perfection and served on a bed of broccolini. The eggplant milanese was memorable only for the melted Manchego cheese. Pro tip: Service can’t be faulted, but masks are in short supply, if that’s a concern.