On April 23, GQ released its coveted 13 Best New Restaurants in America in 2018, and it appears Austin has been majorly snubbed. Despite a year that saw dozens of restaurant openings in the Capital City, it seems none captured the attention of the stalwart men's magazine.
Two Texas restaurants — both based in Houston — were, however, deemed worthy by the publication. Xochi, Hugo Ortega's Oaxacan restaurant in downtown Houston's Marriott Marquis hotel, and Theodore Rex, Justin Yu's bistro-inspired follow-up to Oxheart, both claimed a spot.
Critic Brett Martin writes that he visited 75 restaurants in 18 cities to compile the list, which consists of establishments that have opened in the last 12 to 18 months. Other notable entries include Majordōmo, celebrity chef David Chang's Korean-inspired restaurant in Los Angeles; The Charter Oak, a more casual concept from three Michelin-star chef Christopher Kostow; and June Baby, the highly-acclaimed Southern restaurant in Seattle from chef Edouardo Jordan.
Of course, the two Houston restaurants feature plenty of chef firepower of their own, courtesy of the city's two most recent James Beard Award winners for Best Chef: Southwest.
"It's those multidimensional moles I keep returning to," Martin writes about his experience at Xochi. "'All those famous French sauces?' my enthusiastic companion raved. 'These kick all of their asses.' It was hard for me to disagree."
As for Theodore Rex, Martin writes that he's impressed by its relaxed atmosphere and the precise flavors Yu coaxes from his ingredients. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that his favorite dish is sweet rather than savory.
"But until he returns to tasting menus, I'll focus instead on his simple Paris-Brest: two rings of pâte à choux sandwiching a pillow of barnyardy Swiss-cheese pastry cream and burnt honey," Martin writes. "I crave it more than any other dessert I ate this year."