After one of the hottest summers on record, perhaps it’s no surprise that this month’s crop of new restaurants seems determined to whisk diners away to more comfortable climes. Two newcomers are channeling California, with escapist design and “surf” in their name; there’s also a Top Chef-led French bistro and a moody sushi den that blocks out the outside world. But, just when you think you’ve left Texas altogether, someone goes and gives you an upscale barbecue joint with excellent brisket and ribs. So, let’s not get too carried away.
These are five of the most exciting new restaurants in Texas. Plan your next dinner accordingly.
A second location of Tiny Grocer has just opened in Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood, and this one builds on the not-so-tiny grocery selection with a full-service French bistro helmed by former Eberly chef (and Top Chef contestant) Jo Chan. Called Bureau de Poste, the new restaurant is a comfortable spot with indoor/outdoor seating, top-notch landscaping and a pergola. The menu features dishes like duck leg cassoulet, steak frites, roasted chicken, escargot, French onion soup and beef tartare. Soon, Chan’s menu will introduce weekly plats du jour, like a lobster frites and a Sunday roast. The grocer-restaurant relationship also means that guests can score several items from the Bureau de Poste menu to take home with them, including specialty vinegars, olive oils and spices.
4300 Speedway, Austin (map)
Hot on the heels of opening Le Margot, power duo Graham Elliot and Felipe Armenta are back with another Fort Worth restaurant, and this time it’s all about barbecue. F1 Smokehouse is the permanent follow-up to the same-named food truck, and it’s an upscale ode to smoked meat. Rather than scoring slabs of brisket and ribs by the pound, meat here is served as part of composed dishes, like the Texas brisket with white truffle potato salad and the baby back Duroc pork ribs with celery root slaw. You can also dive into sandwiches, including a chopped brisket melt or the ribeye French dip with horseradish cream and au jus. Starters run the gamut from grilled Caesar salad to Mexican shrimp-avocado cocktail, and for dessert you’ve got a mixed berry cobbler à la mode and banana pudding.
517 University Drive, Fort Worth (map)
Nick Badovinus already runs the restaurants on floors one and two of this downtown-adjacent East Quarter building (National Anthem and Brass Ram, respectively), and now he’s completed the holy trinity with Surf Camp, a new rooftop hangout with beachy vibes. The menu features “fairweather snacks” and includes options like watermelon crudo, sushi rolls, fried lemongrass beef dumplings, karaage-style popcorn chicken and coconut shrimp. To drink: fun cocktails that fit the theme, like frozen daiquiris, frosé, margaritas, spritzes and a Mai Tai, plus canned beers and easygoing wines. Surf Camp is the first iteration of what’s to come, as Badovinus plans to change the concept twice per year. So, get here while you can, then look forward to whatever surprise he has in store next.
2130 Commerce Street, Dallas (map)
Norigami has a solid pedigree. It comes from the Hidden Omakase team and started as a hand roll pop-up in 2021. Now it lives inside its own brick-and-mortar space, pairing a 24-seat sushi counter with a moody, LED-lit bar decorated with origami cranes. The menu features crudos and caviar bumps, hand roll sets available in three, four or five rolls (bluefin tuna, spicy salmon, hamachi), and signature hand rolls sporting ingredients like uni, foie gras and A5 wagyu. The bar has an Ace of Spades Champagne wall, if you really want to go for it. Otherwise, stick to the creative cocktails, sakes, beers and wines.
2715 Bissonnet Street, Suite 160, Houston (map)
Houston is close to a coast, just not the one that Balboa Surf Club is channeling. The new restaurant is named for Balboa Island, tucked off the coast of Newport Beach in California, which informs both the Pacific-themed decor and the menu within. Green booths and light woods provide a comfortable setting for seafood-focused meals of crispy oysters, chilled jumbo shrimp, sushi rolls, crab cakes, miso salmon and a grouper sandwich, but meat-eaters of the turf variety will also find plenty to like, including a cheeseburger, Duroc pork chops and a ribeye.
1753 Post Oak Boulevard, Houston (map)
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