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Dallas gets some love on magazine’s list of best new restaurants in the South

Dallas gets love on magazine’s list of best new restaurants in South

Fried chicken, Rapscallion
A best new restaurant list singled out this fried chicken. Photo courtesy of Rapscallion

Two Dallas spots made the list of best new restaurants in the South, compiled by Southern Living magazine: Rapscallion, the Southern cousin of Boulevardier, and The Theodore, Tim Byres' restaurant at NorthPark Center.

The two Dallas restaurants, both of which made CultureMap's Tastemakers best new list, were among five honored from Texas, including two in Houston — Foreign Correspondents and Helen Green Food and Wine — and one in Austin, Launderette.

The author was Jennifer V. Cole, a writer and editor based in Birmingham, Alabama, who is the magazine's former deputy editor. Their introduction to the list says that she spent over two months eating her way across the South and that the list is "fully vetted."

In her summary of Rapscallion, she calls chef Nathan Tate a "hulking Texas boy" who employs "a robust global pantry and his own ingenuity" to create a menu that defies stereotypes. Dishes she ate include Nashville-style hot chicken; cornmeal-crusted catfish; and skillet-fried sorghum topped with collard kimchi, smoked oyster mushrooms, and a tempura-fried poached egg.

She seems to think Dallas is into dry-aging: "This being Dallas, Tate has developed a vigorous dry-aging program, with primo cuts of beef on display in a glass-front case behind the bar." Yeah, John Tesar does it at Knife, but is that a Dallas thing?

Her write-up on The Theodore admires the restaurant's decorative elements, "from presidential portraits and assorted animal mounts to vintage first aid kits, field guides, and etiquette books," which manage to be "simultaneously kooky and stately." And even though it's in a mall, "it's no food court."

Dishes she ordered include lamb shank pie; the signature beef Wellington, wrapped in flaky puff pastry and stuffed with foie gras and mushroom duxelles; and the "charmingly retro" baked Alaska. She credits the in-house bread program, from the folks behind Easy Tiger Bake Shop in Austin, with making the pizza "respectable."

The Austin bakery comes up again in her blurb on Launderette in Austin, the Edward Hopper-esque diner where the wait for a table can exceed an hour. She says that the blue crab with avocado and caper-mint vinaigrette on semolina bread from Easy Tiger Bake Shop "boldly reminds us why this whole toast trend became a thing." Now we know who to blame for the toast trend.

Chef Rene Ortiz's mussels and crispy oysters, plus birthday cake ice cream sandwiches by pastry chef Laura Sawicki, make Launderette "worthy of the early — and continued — hype."