In celebration of its fourth decade of publication, Food & Wine magazine has issued a list of the "40 Most Important Restaurants of the Last 40 Years," and it includes one Dallas institution: Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.
"Over the past four decades, the restaurant world has undergone massive transformations," the magazine says. "These 40 restaurants, some newly opened and some long closed, have paved the way for the country's current dining landscape."
The list includes many of the expected icons of American cuisine, such as Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California; Spago in Los Angeles; and Eleven Madison Park in New York. But there are new restaurants as well, and even a fast-food chain, Shake Shack.
About the Mansion, author Maria Yagoda praises the "extravagant estate" on which it resides, and acknowledges its role as a pioneer in Dallas.
"The Dallas fine-dining gem opened to glowing reviews, with forward-thinking food and a wine list that prominently featured Texan producers," she says. "The space and cooking may evoke a European sensibility, but The Mansion is all Texas, invigorating the Dallas dining scene long before there was any scene to speak of."
Other Texas restaurants that make the list include Brennan's in Houston. "Part of what makes this Creole fine-dining landmark so special is the chefs it launched to stardom," Yagoda says.
In Austin, the magazine goes with a more down-home (if equally obvious) choice of Franklin Barbecue, where the secret weapon is "the sublime brisket [that] has inspired countless imitators (and will continue to for decades to come)."
Franklin is one of two barbecue joint to wind up on the list, along with Rodney Scott's BBQ in Charleston, South Carolina. Scott is the only pitmaster besides Aaron Franklin to win the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef.
Franklin Barbecue, Brennan's, and The Mansion eventually gained global recognition, but all three restaurants opened when the rest of the nation tended to ignore their home cities. All three spread the gospel that Texas was making food that was just as electrifying as that found on either coast.
Every out-of-towner enjoying a plate of juicy brisket or an entree using Creole spice owes them a big thank you.