The Houston-area is well-represented on Texas Monthly food critic Patricia Sharpe's list of the state's best new restaurants. Just like last year, three Houston establishments make the cut, which is open to places that opened between November 1, 2014 and November 30, 2015.
"Since I began compiling our annual roundup, in 2002, I’ve never seen as many exceptional new restaurants," Sharpe writes. "Austin in particular was on fire."
Leading the pack is Helen Greek Food & Wine, which follows up its James Beard Award semifinalist nod with the top spot on Sharpe's list. She praises the Rice Village restaurant for both co-owner Evan Turner's all-Greek wine list and the way chef William Wright "honors and tweaks tradition" by incorporating Texas ingredients into classic Greek dishes.
SaltAir Seafood Kitchen ranks third on the list. Sharpe praises the River Oaks hotspot for a kitchen where "meat is handled as adroitly as fish" and thinks it might be the best restaurants Charles Clark and Grant Cooper have ever opened.
Cureight, the tasting menu concept inside The Woodlands's restaurant Hubbell & Hudson Bistro, comes in fifth. She writes that, despite its distance from downtown Houston, chef Austin Simmons's eight-course menu is "decidedly worth the drive."
Three more Houston restaurants, British-American steakhouse Hunky Dory, Japanese small plates and cocktails concept Izakaya, and Portugese tapas restaurant Oporto Fooding House & Wine, all earn honorable mentions.
The rest of the top consists of four Austin restaurants (Launderette, Juniper, Vox Table, and Emmer & Rye), two from Dallas (Rapscallion, Ten), and one from Fort Worth (Horseshoe Hill Cafe).