Jeffrey's Restaurant Win

Austin institution named one of the best new restaurants in America

Austin institution named one of the best new restaurants in America

Dining room of Jeffrey's restaurant in Austin
The recently reinvigorated Jeffrey's restaurant in Austin was named among the 10 best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit. Photo by Casey Dunn
Jeffrey's uniform
Opt for a seat in the sexy bar at Jeffrey's, where the service is as excellent as the dining room's. Photo by Casey Dunn
Josephine House restaurant in Austin
Josephine House, Jeffrey's sibling, was ranked right alongside it. Photo by Bill Sallans
Dining room of Jeffrey's restaurant in Austin
Jeffrey's uniform
Josephine House restaurant in Austin

A pair of Austin restaurants — Jeffrey's and its sister spot, Josephine House — snagged the No. 8 spot on Bon Appetit's Best Restaurants of 2013 list.

The sibling restaurants emerged in the top 10 from a larger list of finalists from all over the country, one that also included Austin restaurants Ramen Tatsu-Ya and Sway.

Hailed as one of the top openings for the summer, Jeffrey's helped elevate Austin's restaurant scene decades ago. McGuire Moorman Hospitality took over the institution and breathed new life into the restaurant while successfully honoring the memory of the original.

Bon Appetit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton was willing to look at the restaurant as an entirely new entity, first lauding the service and atmosphere:

It's the little things that define a great restaurant. Monogrammed cocktail napkins. Warm bread and soft butter. A hostess's simple "Good night," as a guest exits. Thanks to 31-year-old Austin empire-builder Larry McGuire, there are few places that nail those details better than his reinvigoration of local institution Jeffrey's and its sister spot, Josephine House. In an era of restaurants known for an off-the-cuff approach, these destinations are sophisticated fine-dining throwbacks where the flower arrangements matter, the comfort of the chairs matters, and, refreshingly, the customer matters.

McGuire and company spent a considerable amount of time on the renovation, which turned out to be a more comprehensive project than anticipated. They were careful to recreate the original footprint of the dining room, making room for nooks and power tables.

Knowlton also heaped praise on the menu and its fine-dining focus:

Of course, the food matters, too. I could spend hours lunching at the whitewashed space that is Josephine House, sipping Palomas (tequila, grapefruit, lime, salt, and sparkling water) and eating quinoa and carrots in an apple cider vinaigrette, and toasts with strawberries and house-made burrata. Same goes for dinner, when the laid-back modern country-club vibe continues at Jeffrey's, with its walnut bar, leather-bound menus, Martini cart, and food that runs to a wedge salad smothered in goat-cheese dressing and a 35-day dry-aged Texas porterhouse  that's seared to perfection in the wood-burning oven. If this all sounds glamorous and special, it is. Welcome back to fine dining.