Texas Monthly food editor Pat Sharpe has delivered her annual assessment of the state's best new restaurants. Published this morning on the magazine's website, the article, titled "The Best New Restaurants in Texas for 2020," ranks 10 establishments as well as honorable mentions.
To be eligible for the list, establishments must have opened between December 1, 2018 and December 1, 2019, and it must be a restaurant's first Texas location. Sharpe notes that this year's list has an international feel with eateries that take their inspiration from places such as Italy, Japan, Goa, and Spain. She finds another tie that binds most of her choices.
"I've noticed a trend that has been growing growing since since the craft cocktail movement began a couple of decades ago; restaurants are becoming more like bars," Sharpe writes. "That is, more casual and (sigh) noisier than ever."
Houston and Dallas lead the way with three entries each, but give a slight edge to the Bayou City — all of its entries rank in the top five: Squable (two), Davis St. at Hermann Park (three), and MAD (five). One Fifth Gulf Coast and Rosie Cannonball earn honorable mentions.
Sharpe praises Squable owners Justin Yu and Bobby Heugel for "wisely staying out of the way" of the creative dishes being served by chefs Mark Clayton and Drew Gimma. Davis St. earns a spot for chef Mark Holley's seafood-oriented menu. The critic seems utterly delighted by MAD's whimsical cuisine and decor, writing that chef Luis Roger is "having the time of his life" with the modern tapas that are the restaurant's standout dishes.
Homewood (four), Salaryman (six), and Khao Noodle Shop (eight) represent Dallas, with Ka-Tip Thai Street Food and Beverley's making the honorable mentions section. Fort Worth's sole spot on the list belongs to Gemelle, the Italian restaurant from celebrity chef Tim Love.
Austin's Comedor takes the top spot, marking the second year in a row that one of the city's Mexican restaurants made a strong impression on the critic (Suerte took second last year). Sharpe raves about the modern Mexican restaurant, comparing it to James Beard Award-winner Hugo Ortega's three Mexican restaurants as well as Pujol, the Mexico City restaurant ranked 12th in the world.
"Be advised that the Texas Mexican Food Timeline does have a significant new date: 2019," she writes. "In other words, there's Before Comedor (BC) and After Comedor (AC). It's just that simple."
No surprise to see Vixen's Wedding on the list in eighth place; Sharpe's had her eyes on it since she authored a rare preview of the Goan restaurant from chefs Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher. Honorable mentions go to Nixta Taqueria and DipDipDip Tatsu-ya.
Savor, the restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America, provides San Antonio with its lone entry in the top 10, but both Evo and Kindling Texas Kitchen (in the suburb of Cibolo) earn honorable mentions for the Alamo City.