Pat Sharpe, the longtime dining critic for Texas Monthly, published her list of last year’s Best New Restaurants in the March issue of the magazine. The feature went online today. Texas Monthly publishes their list in March (most publications’ lists hit in December), so the line-up is dubbed—somewhat confusingly—the Best New Restaurants in Texas for 2019. (Note “for,” rather than “of”: as in, these are great spots, and you should dine there now.)
The list touches on all the major cities in Texas, which is a part of Sharpe’s extraordinarily large beat. Three Dallas restaurants appear. (For comparative purposes, that’s one more than last year, when a Fort Worth restaurant was also on the list.)
The theme of the list, as always, is as follows: Houston—so much love. The first-place slot is a three-way split between three entirely different restaurants opened by Houston wunderkind-turned-impresario Chris Shepherd. (Yes, you’ve been eating at his spots since Underbelly. If a trip to Houston is not in your immediate future, Shepherd will be cooking at Uchiba on Feb. 25.)
But Dallas passed up Austin this year in number of must-dine spots. Top-ranking in Dallas is Macellaio, David and Jennifer Uygur’s sister-restaurant for Lucia, where charcuterie takes extraordinary pride of place. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it as long as I have breath: go to Macellaio. Order the charcuterie and small plates. And then, take in Misti Norris’ funky laboratory experiments at Petra & the Beast, a love letter to foraging and fermentation, where Sharpe lavishes praise on the Saturday-only tasting dinners.
(Note: my restaurant of the year, Bullion, fell on Sharpe’s previous year’s list.) The third Dallas spot was somewhat more of a surprise. Sharpe praised the food at Tulum, the restaurant that opened in October from the same restaurant group that owns Meso Maya and others. (Note: my review will appear in the April issue of D Magazine.) Honorable mentions go to posh, sleek, buzzy restaurants The Charles, Billy Can Can, and Fachini, all of which made splashy openings last year.
In conclusion, I am moving to Houston. No, that’s not true. I am in love with cured meats and small plates. Dallas, clearly, is a good place to be.