A surprise restaurant in Dallas made the cut as a semifinalist for the 2014 James Beard Awards, announced by the James Beard Foundation on February 19. The restaurant: Casa Rubia, which earned a spot in the Best New Restaurant category.
Casa Rubia is the "modern tapas" spot at the Trinity Groves complex from Jonn Baudoin and Omar Flores, owner and chef at Driftwood in Oak Cliff.
Other Dallas semifinalists were more predictable. Outstanding Chef: Southwest nominees include Matt McCallister of FT33, David Uygur of Lucia and John Tesar of Spoon. Abacus and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek are semifinalists for Outstanding Service. Cafe on the Green at Four Seasons Resort & Club has been recognized for Outstanding Wine Program.
Nabbing a semifinalist slot doesn't guarantee you'll end up a finalist; just ask previous semifinalists such as Teiichi Sakurai and Nick Badovinus. The list of semifinalists is long, but that's not the case for the finalist list — five in each category — which will be announced on March 18 in Chicago.
But how about that Casa Rubia, which must be feeling a tingle all over this week, as it earned the No. 2 slot on Texas Monthly's list of the best new restaurants in Texas, issued on February 18.