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Truth telling: National food writer says Houston's food scene is far superior to "slacker" Dallas

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The Grove, patio, downtown
Welcome to Houston, where the food scene is eating Dallas cuisine alive these days. [view from The Grove] Photo by Debora Smail/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Now those are some fightin' words.

Food critic John Mariani has drawn a line in the sand this week, boldly claiming that Houston has a better food scene than Dallas. He even goes so far as to call Big D — and I quote — "a slacker."

While Dallas has enjoyed national attention with foodie legends like Stephan Pyles and Dean Fearing, the Esquire writer sees Space City as a rising culinary star when it come to innovation.

Out of left field, Mariani closes his list with veteran dining spot Tony's, highlighting its more than 40 years of fresh, thoughtful cuisine.

Underbelly tops his Houston picks for chef Chris Shepherd's almost obsessive take on regional cuisine. Triniti makes the grade for its "Third Coast French" as well as its architecture. Oxheart gets a nod for chef Justin Yu's delicate, veggie-friendly approach to local food.

Out of left field, Mariani closes his list with veteran dining spot Tony's, highlighting its more than 40 years of fresh and thoughtful continental cuisine.

Feeling the burn yet, Big D? 

Not one to let this kind of trash talking pass, CultureMap Dallas food critic Teresa Gubbins offers her own two cents, noting up-and-coming Dallas restaurants like Belly & Trumpet and the inventive FT33.

"It's fantastic to see anyone acknowledging the excitement and prosperity that Houston's restaurant scene is currently enjoying," Gubbins writes. "But does anyone else besides me get irritated by out-of-town interlopers who think they're qualified to talk about a trite rivalry between two cities that, in my mind, doesn't exist?"

Hmm, do I detect a bit of jealousy?

What do you think? Is Mariani right or is Mariani right?

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