Three Texas restaurants are basking in the national spotlight. Eater, the Vox Media website dedicated to restaurants, has named establishments in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio to its list of the 16 best new restaurants in America for 2019.
Restaurant editor Hillary Dixler Canavan (with an assist from Eater's various city editors) spent four months and traveled to 17 cities to compile the list. She takes over for Bill Addison, who left his role as Eater's national critic to work at the Los Angeles Times. It includes places that opened between May 2018 and May 2019. Texas, New York, and California dominate the list, claiming three spots each.
The Texas representatives include:
- Khao Noodle Shop (Dallas)
- Indigo (Houston)
- The Jerk Shack (San Antonio)
They're joined by a mix of nationally prominent restaurants like Atomix, the Korean restaurant in New York City that was a finalist for a James Beard Award, as well as more obscure places like Tacos 1986, a buzzy taco stand in Los Angeles.
Khao Noodle Shop is the small, acclaimed restaurant that opened in a neighborhood of East Dallas that boasts a growing food scene. Chef-owner Donny Sirisavath, who was a nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year in the 2019 CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards, creates spicy Laotian food, including handmade boat noodles, fried shrimp balls, and more.
Eater Dallas editor Amy McCarthy writes that the restaurant provides "proof that Houston isn’t the only city in Texas with a multifaceted, diverse dining scene." She should know; the Dallas-based writer also serves as editor of Eater Houston.
For Houston restaurant Indigo, the recognition joins the growing national chorus that has praised chef Jonny Rhodes' innovative tasting menu concept that reinterprets African American culinary traditions by considering the political and social contexts that shaped its dishes. Food & Wine, GQ, and Texas Monthly have also included the restaurant on their various best-of lists. Rhodes also earned a James Beard semifinalist nomination for Rising Star Chef.
San Antonio's The Jerk Shack won the CultureMap San Antonio Tastemaker Award for the best new restaurant of 2019. Chef-owner Lattoia Massey serves Jamaican cuisine — including jerk chicken, natch — along with steamed fish, goat curry, and other dishes. Eater Austin editor Nadia Chaudhury cites the jackfruit tacos and braised oxtails as other dishes that set it apart.