When chef Johnny Hernandez takes hold of an idea, he swims with it, here in turquoise and curlicues. The chef de cuisine is from Veracruz, as is most of the menu: ceviches fresh and vibrant (ginger-soy is an Asian take); delicate, crisped soft-shell crab tacos; and a spectacular octopus undulating out of its nest of moros y cristianos (black beans and rice). Sharing a kitchen, bar, and paletería with Hernandez’s Burgerteca, next door, there’s a nice sidewalk dining area (not quite rivaling the portales of Veracruz, but our waiter told us that the staff was diligently practicing the gravity-defying pouring of cafe con leche characteristic of that port city). Other notable dishes include grilled salmon with a mango-and-citrus reduction, cooked en pointe; rice tumbada, a rice-and-seafood island surrounded by a rich, mildly spicy broth; and, of course, a delicate fish filet a la veracruzana, with plenty of capers.
City: San Antonio