Rodeo Best Bites

Upstart restaurant stuns established eateries at Houston Rodeo's Best Bites competition

New restaurant stuns established eateries at Best Bites competition

Davis St Rodeo Best Bites Thai shrimp
Davis St. at Hermann Park won Best Bites with this crispy Thai shrimp. Photo by Eric Sandler
Rodeo Best Bites judges
A panel of media judges selected winners in a variety of categories.  Courtesy photo
Rodeo best bites Kale Petersen Taylor Byrne Dodge
Kale Petersen, left, and Taylor Byrne Dodge display some of the wine available to attendees.  Courtesy photo
Rodeo Best Bites Shepard Ross Erin Hicks
Shepard Ross, left, and Erin Hicks attended on behalf of Ross's restaurants Glass Wall and Brooklyn Athletic Club.  Courtesy photo
Davis St Rodeo Best Bites Thai shrimp
Rodeo Best Bites judges
Rodeo best bites Kale Petersen Taylor Byrne Dodge
Rodeo Best Bites Shepard Ross Erin Hicks

"A Houston restaurant I've never heard of won the rodeo best bites," Chronicle barbecue columnist J.C. Reid tweeted this morning.

Indeed, the crowd of 5,000 attendees who packed NRG Hall for the event that's officially dubbed the "Uncorked Best Bites Competition" may have been surprised to hear that four month-old Davis St. at Hermann Park emerged as the judges' favorite in the Trailblazing Appetizer/Entree award for its crispy Thai shrimp — ahead of popular restaurants like Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Brennan's and Glass Wall.

The modern American restaurant also took Reserve Grand Champion honors in both the People's Choice ballot behind perennial favorite Royers Round Top Cafe and showmanship behind Mister French's Gourmet Bakery.

Creole institution Brennan's scored Reserve Grand Champion with its classic turtle soup, as did Italian restaurant Brio Tuscan Grille with a crab cake. A panel of media judges selected the winners from entries by 91 different restaurants, which is a record for the event. The judges also selected favorites for the categories of Two-Steppin Bread/Cheese/Dessert and Tasty Tradition.

Attendees also had the opportunity to sample hundreds of different wines that are part of the Rodeo's annual International Wine Competition.

The event serves as the kickoff of Rodeo season that shifts into high gear Thursday night with the World Championship Bar-B-Que cook off.

The full list of winners from Best Bites is below:

Popular Choice
1st: Royers Café, Round Top
2nd: Davis Street at Hermann Park

Two-Stepping Bread/Cheese/Dessert Award
1st: Mostly Chocolate & Catering, Goat Cheese Truffle
2nd: Joyce's Seafood & Steaks, White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Trailblazing Appetizer/Entrée Award
1st: Davis Street at Hermann Park, Crispy Thai Shrimp
2nd: Brio Tuscan Grille, Crab Cakes
3rd: Brennan's of Houston, Turtle Soup

Showmanship Award
1st: Mr. French's Gourmet Bakery
2nd: Davis Street at Hermann Park

Tasty Traditions Award
1st: Joyce's Seafood & Steaks, White Chocolate Bread Pudding
2nd: Taste of Texas, Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin

Rookie Award
Sweet, Mini Pies

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