What’s the best new Austin restaurant of 2012? Our Tastemaker New Restaurant Challenge has been narrowed down to the Final Four, thanks to votes from foodies all over Austin.
Contigo, Kome, Haddingtons and Franklin Barbecue are now vying for your votes to make it to the Finals.
Here's a look at the final four contenders, one of which will win the first ever Tastemaker Award for New Restaurant.
Contigo vs. Kome
Contigo’s cool, ranch-inspired outdoor setting made it an immediate favorite for Austinites when it opened in May 2011. It boasts a “chef-driven stable of cocktails from craft bar wizard Houston Eaves (also a Tastemaker nominee for Mixologist) and a creative southern comfort-meets-contemporary menu weighted primarily with small plates from chef Andrew Wiseheart,” writes CultureMap Food + Drink Editor Jessica Dupuy. She cites “house-made pigs in a blanket, the gooey grilled cheese sandwich and the cast iron sautéed okra with jalapeño and walnuts” as instant favorites.
Kome has been serving up home-style Japanese cuisine on Airport Blvd. since October. Owners Také and Kayo Asazu opened their first sushi spot in Austin, the Sushi A-Go-Go trailer, in 2009. After much success, the couple decided to plant some firmer roots with Kome, which has become an instant hit. At Kome, you'll find food that is influenced by family history and recipes that reflect the Asazu’s background from Japan, New Orleans and Austin.
Haddingtons vs. Franklin Barbecue
Haddingtons quickly established itself as a West Sixth gem after opening in early January of 201. Not only does Haddingtons offer fare that changes with the season to highlight fresh ingredients, it also has one of the most sublime wine menus in town. CultureMap Contributor Rob Moshein calls it the most “well chosen, brave and ‘cool’” wine list in Austin, and maybe even in the country.
Franklin Barbecue's brick and mortar shop has had no problem drawing a crowd. After outgrowing the original East 11th trailer, Aaron Franklin opened the new space in March 2011 to droves of hungry barbecue lovers. If you haven’t tasted it for yourself, trust the people: Franklin was named People’s Choice for Best Brisket at the Texas Monthly BBQ Festival.
Have a favorite in the Final Four? Vote today and help your top hot spot make it to the final round of the Tastemaker Challenge! You can vote once a day between now and March 26, when the two finalists will be announced. The winner will be announced live at the 2012 Tastemaker Awards on Thursday, April 12 at the Driskill Hotel.
And be sure to check back, Finals voting starts Monday, March 26.
For more information on the Tastemaker Awards and to purchase tickets, visit the website.