Following close on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Petra and the Beast and Khao Noodle were in the running for Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurants 2019, this morning we learn that Dallas has been named the Restaurant City of the Year by the same publication.
“From the rich bowls of boat noodles to the crazy charcuterie boards to the spicy strawberry sotol, one thing is clear: Texas’ oft-skipped food destination is no longer skippable,” says the BA editorial team of their choice.
The writer, Hilary Cadigan, cites Dallas’ “community of highly ambitious chefs, hailing from all different backgrounds, working independently and yet with a palpable sense of synchronicity. These chefs are ditching the large-scale restaurant group models of yesteryear and instead forging their own paths, creating highly specific, highly personal spaces that feel more like stepping directly into said chef’s brain.”
As examples, she offers the two nominees (Petra and Khao Noodle) as well the evidence she sees while trawling through Bishop Arts (hello, Uygur territory with Macellaio), sipping mezcal (Las Almas Rotas), and eating Turkish ice cream in Richardson. The Dallas Observer’s Brian Reinhart is one of her guides, but the city itself seems to be her muse. It’s what we’ve been saying for a while now. And while her opening quote—from a passerby—suggests that we needn’t look to Houston with a fear of being overshadowed (by its global food, its multitude of tributaries in a food scene rife with lauded chefs), it’s not the only city that we can feel closer to. I’m more reminded every day of the kinds of diversity of offerings you might find in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, cities where I’ve spent considerable time. On a recent evening at Khao Noodle, a friend from Oakland said he didn’t think he had anything like the tiny noodle shop in his neck of the woods. I nodded.
The next step is to live up to the chefs and restaurateurs we’re producing. They’ve put in the time, taken the risk, set the table. Now, dine.