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2 Houston hot spots light up GQ's coveted best new restaurants list

2 Houston hot spots light up GQ's coveted best new restaurants list

Xochi entrance Hugo Ortega Tracy Vaught
Xochi is one of GQ's Best New Restaurants. Courtesy photo
Theodore Rex Bridget Paliwoda Jason White Diana Kendrick Justin Yu
The team at Theodore Rex earns GQ's praise. Photo by Jenn Duncan
Xochi scallops mole verde
Writer Brett Martin cites Xochi's moles as part of its appeal. Photo by Eric Sandler
Xochi entrance Hugo Ortega Tracy Vaught
Theodore Rex Bridget Paliwoda Jason White Diana Kendrick Justin Yu
Xochi scallops mole verde

GQ magazine has named two Houston restaurants to its list of the 13 Best New Restaurants in America for 2018. Congratulations to Xochi, Hugo Ortega's Oaxacan restaurant in downtown's Marriott Marquis hotel, and to Theodore Rex, Justin Yu's bistro-inspired follow-up to Oxheart. 

Critic Brett Martin writes that he visited 75 restaurants in 18 cities to compile the list, which consists of establishments that have opened in the last 12 to 18 months. Other notable entries include Majordōmo, celebrity chef David Chang's Korean-inspired restaurant in Los Angeles; The Charter Oak, a more casual concept from three Michelin-star chef Christopher Kostow; and June Baby, the highly acclaimed Southern restaurant in Seattle from chef Edouardo Jordan.

Of course, the two Houston restaurants feature plenty of chef firepower of their own, courtesy of the city's two most recent James Beard Award winners for Best Chef: Southwest.

"It's those multidimensional moles I keep returning to," Martin writes about his experience at Xochi. "'All those famous French sauces?' my enthusiastic companion raved. 'These kick all of their asses.' It was hard for me to disagree."

As for Theodore Rex, Martin writes that he's impressed by its relaxed atmosphere and the precise flavors Yu coaxes from his ingredients. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that his favorite dish is sweet rather than savory.

"But until he returns to tasting menus, I'll focus instead on his simple Paris-Brest: two rings of pâte à choux sandwiching a pillow of barnyardy Swiss-cheese pastry cream and burnt honey," Martin writes. "I crave it more than any other dessert I ate this year."

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