Two Houston spots made the list of best new restaurants in the South, compiled by Southern Living magazine: Helen Greek Food & Wine, the Rice Village spot that also earned a James Beard semifinalist nomination as one of the best new restaurants in America, and Foreign Correspondents, the Treadsack Group's farm-to-table Thai restaurant in the Heights that was recently named among the 50 best new restaurants in America by Bon Appétit.
The two Houston restaurants, both of which made CultureMap's Tastemakers best new list, were among five honored from Texas, including two in Dallas — Rapscallion and The Theodore — and one in Austin, Launderette.
The author was Jennifer V. Cole, a freelance writer and editor based in Birmingham, Alabama, who is the magazine's former deputy editor. The magazine's introduction to the list says that Cole spent more than two months eating her way across the South and that the line-up is "fully vetted."
In her summary of Helen, Cole cites sommelier Evan Turner's "diverse and beguiling wine list" as part of its appeal. Dishes she ate include grilled, feta-brined chicken; ktipiti (a blend of yogurt and cheese with red peppers), which she describes as "Greek queso;" and blistered banana peppers stuffed with Greek cheeses and cornbread.
Her write-up on Foreign Correspondents admires that the restaurant has taken Thai food in Houston beyond "take-out containers of pad thai and drunken noodles." In particular, she cites chef PJ Stoops creative use of seafood, which is no surprise considering his past as a fishmonger who "first made a name for himself as a supporter and peddler of bycatch, convincing chefs to work with lesser-known species"