As the weather finally turns colder, it’s tempting to stay inside and order delivery. And there’s no shame in that. But then you’d miss out on clinking glasses at one of Dallas’s best new oyster bars, or the comforting brisket served in a small town just outside of San Antonio, or especially mouthwatering Thai food in Houston. And that would be a shame. So to ensure your plate is full and your social calendar is peppered with at least a few reasons to put on pants, here are five of the best and most exciting new restaurants in Texas.
Green Point is the latest concept from Greg Katz, the veteran hospitality pro who brought you Beverley’s and Clifton Club, and his brother Nik, who served as the GM of food and beverage at the Adolphus. Together they’ve created a fun, polished space with a big horseshoe-shaped bar and cozy leather booths. The menu features a section of cold seafood, including oysters, ceviche, crudos and jumbo shrimp, plus hot dishes like clam chowder, gumbo, fish and chips, lobster bucatini and steak au poivre. As should be expected from any Katz concept, there’s a thoughtful wine list and solid cocktails. Try the Yacht Club, with gin, bitter bianco, Lillet Blanc, Italicus, lemon oil and salt water, or the Black Pearl, with Japanese whisky, a citrus blend, lemongrass and black lemon bitters.
3219 Knox Street, Suite 100 (map)
Head about 30 miles west of San Antonio, and you’ll find Castroville, the small town with Alsatian roots that’s now home to a compelling new barbecue joint. Blu Lacy Smokehouse comes from Esaul Ramos, the two-time James Beard nominated pitmaster behind 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio. The casual restaurant has a bar, playground and stage for live music, and most importantly, it has barbecue. The menu features Texas classics like brisket, pork ribs, dino-size beef ribs and jalapeño-cheese sausage, and gotta-have-them sides like mac and cheese and coleslaw are joined by less expected items, including esquites and Alsatian potato salad.
1303 Lorenzo Street, Castroville (map)
MaKiin translates to “come eat” in Thai, and that’s exactly what you should do here. Restaurateur Lukkaew Srasrisuwan also runs the more casual Kin Dee, but with MaKiin she’s taken a decidedly upscale approach, seen in the upholstered seating, high-end tableware, massive murals and gold accents adorning the space. That maximalist theme extends to the food. The chefs are putting out “royal Thai cuisine,” a la the types of dishes that are served to the Thai royal family, which means fresh ingredients and elaborate presentations. Dishes include tom yum bisque mousse with crispy shrimp and caviar, short ribs in yellow curry, and wagyu steak with charred eggplant, lemongrass, birds eye chili and herbs.
2651 Kipling Street, Suite 101 (map)
One of San Antonio’s most hotly anticipated restaurants is finally here. Nineteen Hyaku is the latest concept from Houston and Emily Carpenter (Little Em’s Oyster Bar, Up Scale) and it’s all about sushi and robatayaki in a bright, airy space of warm woods and marble. Dive into nigiri, sashimi and hand rolls, then work your way through a selection of robata-cooked skewers, including pork belly, octopus and chicken with honey umeboshi. If you really want to get after it, there’s also a spiny lobster and A5 wagyu on the menu.
1900 Broadway, Suite 119, San Antonio (map)
Does Austin need another pizza joint? Well, it needs this one. Because this one comes from the crew behind Bufalina, slingers of some of the best Neapolitan pies in town. Palm mixes things up from its sibling, focusing on New York-style pizzas, available whole or by the slice, and with toppings like pepperoni, sausage and onions, and fried eggplant with ricotta, provolone, fennel pollen and black olives. Palm Pizza is takeout-only right now as they get up to speed, but it will open for dine-in service beginning in mid-November, with plenty of beer and wine on the menu.
1701 E Cesar Chavez Street, Austin (map)
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