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Two Houston restaurants make Best Restaurants in America list: But how much of an honor is it really?

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Underbelly Houston Korean braised goat and dumplings
Thrillist recommends readers try the Korean braised goat and dumplings at Underbelly. Underbelly/Facebook
The Pass & Provisions clam chowder for two and bread bowls fresh out of the wood-fired oven December 2013
Heading to Provisions? Thrillist recommends this clam chowder for two that's served in bread bowls fresh out of the wood-fired oven. The Pass & Provisions/Facebook
ThrillList.com best 33 restaurants in America December 2013
Why does a list of best new restaurants for 2013 have two local entries that opened in 2012?  ThrillList.com
Underbelly Houston Korean braised goat and dumplings
The Pass & Provisions clam chowder for two and bread bowls fresh out of the wood-fired oven December 2013
ThrillList.com best 33 restaurants in America December 2013

Thrillst, a website that seems mostly devoted to food and lifestyle listicles, has published its take on the 33 Best New Restaurants in America. Two Houston representatives, Underbelly and The Pass & Provisions, make the cut. 

The article recommends the clam chowder for two at Provisions and the Korean braised goat and dumplings at Underbelly. They're good dishes, and the menu at Underbelly changes often enough that it's hard to recommend any one dish other than the dumplings and think it will be available in a few months.

The pizzas at Provisions are really good. Any of those would probably be a safer pick than a recently added seasonal dish, but that's just quibbling.

Of course, both restaurants opened in 2012, which makes them sort of odd choices on a list that's about the best of what opened this year. Admittedly, the criteria are kind of loose, but Thrillist writes that the editors picked from "the tens of thousands of new restaurants that have opened across the country in the past year." As Underbelly opened in March 2012, it had plenty of time to appear on numerous Best of 2012 lists, including Andrew Knowlton's Top 50 in Bon Appetit and John Mariani's in Esquire.

Since it opened in September, maybe it took the national press a little longer to get to P&P, but, at least by the published criteria, it should be too old to appear here.

Austin's Qui has a spot on the list and opened this year, so maybe Thrillist is better at keeping track of restaurants in cities where it maintains a full-time presence. 

Anyway, congrats to the winners on this prestigious honor. And look for Blacksmith, Osteria Mazzantini and the Eatsie Boys Cafe on Thrillist's Best New Restaurants of 2014 list. 

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