After two rounds of voting, CultureMap readers have determined the final four in the Tastemakers Best New Restaurant bracket. Unlike round one, the semifinals only produced one major upset, as celebrity chef Bradley Ogden's Bradley's Fine Diner unexpectedly defeated local legend Hugo Ortega's new seafood restaurant Caracol.
Know who you want to win? Click through and vote (one vote per day limit per email address). Still making up your mind? Read on.
The winners will be revealed at a gala event May 8. Get your tickets here.
David Guerrero's South American restaurant in the Second Ward has been the Cinderella story of Tastemakers. It's defeated higher-profile, higher-priced restaurants in each of the first two rounds. That's consistent with the low key way Andes Cafe has built a following since it opened in January.
Anyone who's visited the restaurant and tried Guerrero's ceviches, or the recently introduced parrillada special on Thursday nights, knows he can cook. As exciting as it would be for Guerrero to win, it feels like it's time for Cinderella's carriage to turn back into a pumpkin.
No restaurant has had a harder path to the finals than Bradley's Fine Diner, the new upscale comfort food spot from celebrity chef Bradley Ogden. BFD defeated both Vallone's and Caracol to earn its spot. Credit Ogden's national profile and the well-executed food being turned out by his son Bryan for the upset.
Heights residents are lining up to support the restaurants in/near their neighborhood, but hot dogs and barbecue might prove too difficult to overcome. Wouldn't it be a big freaking deal if it won?
Houston is a burger-loving town, but Good Dog has diners lining up for hot dogs like we're in Chicago or New York. The combination of locally baked Slow Dough buns, a proprietary beef/pork dog and chef Amalia Pferd's carefully constructed toppings and condiments has proven irresistible.
Houston is a burger-loving town, but Good Dog has diners lining up for hot dogs like we're in Chicago or New York.
The sandwiches, fried fish and desserts are well-executed, too, proving that Pferd and partner Daniel Caballero can even learn a few new tricks. If any restaurant is going to upset Killen's, it's Good Dog.
Of course Ronnie Killen's recently opened barbecue joint has been the top vote getter in each of the previous rounds. After all, Texans do love barbecue, and Killen's has emerged as one of Houston's best destinations for smoked brisket, beef ribs and more. That's why folks are happily driving to Pearland and waiting an hour or more in line to eat it.
Expect the same competitive fire that led Killen to proclaim that his goal is to take down Austin's Franklin Barbecue as the best in Texas to manifest in this final round. To ensure victory, Killen could seek celebrity endorsements from supporters like J.J. Watt and Bun B.