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One Dallas eatery earns slot on Esquire 2018 best restaurant list

One Dallas eatery earns slot on Esquire's 2018 best restaurant list

Chef Misti Norris
Go Misti. Photo courtesy of Misti Norris

One Dallas restaurant has made a prominent national list of best restaurants: Esquire magazine issued its 2018 best new restaurants in America and Dallas' own Petra and the Beast made the cut.

Petra and the Beast is the small East Dallas restaurant from chef Misti Norris, which started out as a popup before graduating to a real restaurant in August. On the list of 20 restaurants, it comes in at No. 13.

Esquire food and drinks editor Jeff Gordinier applauds the way Petra seems to "writhe with flavor," giving special notice to dishes such as the fried chicken hearts.

"In a 1930s gas station that looks like dusty scenery from The Grapes of Wrath, in a room decorated with anime and skulls, to a soundtrack of Rage Against the Machine, chef Misti Norris is conjuring funk," he says.

"Consider her fried chicken hearts wrapped in a pale-green garlic crepe, or her pigtails with sour purple cabbage," he says. "Her background is Cajun, but that doesn't really help you locate her inspiration. As far as I can tell, her cooking appears to be Narnian."

Norris has won more than her share of awards, including a cherished nomination in the 2015 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards for Rising Star Chef of the year.

Overall, Texas restaurants earned three spots on the Esquire list. Houston restaurant Nancy's Hustle snags the No. 3 spot, getting likened to "a roadside diner in which a bunch of Michelin-starred talents are secretly hiding out."

Carnitas Lonja in San Antonio takes 10th place, and draws high praise: "Mexican food in the United States doesn’t get any more delicious and honest than this," the magazine says.

The top spot goes to San Francisco restaurant Angler, a seafood-oriented concept from Joshua Skenes (also chef-owner of Michelin three-star tasting menu restaurant Saison), while New York chef Missy Robins earns chef of the year honors.