Bon Appétit released its list of the 50 best new restaurants in America Thursday, and two North Texas restaurants are among the others: El Rincón del Maíz in Garland and La Onda in Fort Worth. Great news for Garland and Fort Worth, but sad news for Dallas, which had its fair share of exciting restaurant openings this year that didn’t quite make it.
Our food critic Brian Reinhart ventured out to both restaurants this year, La Onda for the Dallas Morning News in March, and then El Rincón del Maíz for D Magazine in June. (He became our dining critic in the spring.)
Bon Appétit highlighted how Chef Victor Villarreal dry-ages fish at La Onda, a technique that is more commonly applied to thick cuts of beef in high-priced steakhouses. The menu changes weekly depending on what Villarreal’s boat suppliers catch each week, but there is usually a “sharkcuterie” board (charcuterie, but fish, not shark), a fish of the week, oysters of the week, and a ceviche. The publication praised the food and the cocktails, which are concocted by Villarreal’s wife.
“Villarreal’s wife Misty runs front of house and cocktails, which deserve an entry of their own, and the whole place is suffused with the kind of when-you’re-here-you’re-family vibes that make us wish this little blue house was our little blue house, so we could eat here every day,” the Bon Appétit team writes.
El Rincón del Maíz earned its spot for an extensive menu of vegan tamales and tacos tucked inside an old Sonic Drive-In. The Saporito family, who came to the United States from southern Mexico, crafted a menu of flavored tortillas and provides diners the option to stuff them with seasoned meats or a plethora of plant-based ingredients.
If you visit El Rincón del Maíz, Brian’s recommendation is to go vegan: “Creative vegan tacos feature ingredients like hibiscus flower, coconut, cauliflower, and, in the case of the excellent vegan quesabirria, jackfruit and vegan mozzarella. I was so won over by the quesabirria that after a few bites, I pondered the vegan meat—having completely forgotten that the cheese was vegan, too.”
Bon Appétit will release its list top 10 best new restaurants September 14, and we’ll be rooting for these two. If Dallas couldn’t make it in the top 50 (ahem, we were named restaurant city of the year by the publication in 2019), it’ll be number one in our hearts.