The 2019 James Beard semifinalists were announced this morning, and this misty morning dawns as a good day for Dallas.
Petra and the Beast, Misti Norris’s highly personal food laboratory of fermentation and curing housed in a converted gas station in East Dallas, is in the running for Best New Restaurant. It’s in a list of 30 that includes the likes of Atomix and Frenchette in NYC (the former a Korean tasting-menu-only spot, the latter a nouveau-French bistro), David Chang’s Majordomo and the Middle-Eastern Bavel in Los Angeles. The only other Texas restaurant in the running for Best New nationwide this year is the Mexican-inspired Suerte in Austin.
In 2016, Norris earned a nomination as Rising Star Chef for her work at Small Brewpub. But we haven’t seen a nomination for Best New Restaurant since Flora Street Café in 2017.
Unlike last year—Texas did extremely well, but Dallas had one solitary showing—we have a number of other nominations as well.
It is no surprise to me that Ricardo “Ricchi” Sanchez is nominated for Best Pastry Chef for his work at Bullion. As I have lamented, it’s been a while since we’ve had strong contenders for the designation, aside from Maggie Huff, who has worked staunchly with Matt McCallister at FT33 and now at the soon-to-open Homewood. She was our last recipient of the nomination, in 2017. This year, Sanchez faces stiff competition (Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, République in Los Angeles, and the talented Laura Sawicki at Launderette in Austin).
The French Room earned a spot for Outstanding Service, placed in a category with the likes of a Chicago steakhouse and an elegant kaiseki restaurant in Los Angeles.
And for Best Chef: Southwest we have Bruno Davaillon at Bullion (it’s notable that chef and pastry chef both earned nods: as I mentioned in my Best New Restaurants 2018 feature, a meal is a delight from beginning to end), Regino Rojas of Purepecha Room by Revolver Taco, and David Uygur of Lucia and Macellaio.
Final tally—six nominations rather than last year’s one, and in categories that show us achieving a broader reach.
Finalists will be announced March 27. Stay tuned. And dine at Petra, Bullion, Macellaio, Revolver, and The French Room.