every day they're hustlin'
2 Texas restaurants land coveted spots on Esquire's best-of-decade list
It's just a couple of lines in a sea of words of praise — but those lines are about two Texas restaurants, and that sea of words is Esquire magazine's Best Restaurants of the Decade list.
On December 27, the publication gave Dallas' Knife and Houston's Nancy's Hustle something extra to celebrate in the new year. The two Texas eateries were named along with 40 of the most celebrated restaurants in the world, such as Catbird Seat in Nashville, Sqirl in Los Angeles, and Cosme in New York City.
Nancy's Hustle, located in Houston, is hailed as one of the "most important restaurants" of the 10-year period from 2010-2019, and is described by author Daniel Gordinier as "a truck stop that spent a gap year in Copenhagen."
Since its opening in 2017, Houstonians have come to learn that Nancy's Hustle is unabashedly modern, embracing natural ingredients and offering a fresh spin on bistro cuisine. It remains a favorite of Houston's restaurant community, thanks to chef Jason Vaughan's eclectic menu, front of house specialist Sean Jensen's beverage program, and the stylish interior.
Representing Dallas, Knife is credited for reviving one of the Unites States' most iconic restaurant formats. Working with Texas ranchers and farmers, three-time James Beard nominated chef John Tesar has wowed the Metroplex since opening in 2014, serving dry-aged steaks and innovative takes on classic sides in a sleek, contemporary dining room.
"Just when the American steakhouse started to grow stale, John Tesar found a way to reinvent it," writes Gordinier.
Neither restaurants is a stranger to acclaim. In 2019, Nancy's Hustle landed the No. 2 spot on CultureMap's inaugural Top 100 list of Houston's best restaurants. That same year, it won the coveted Restaurant of the Year award at CultureMap Houston annual Tastemaker Awards. In 2018, Vaughan also won the Tastemaker Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Knife's Tesar, meanwhile, won Chef of the Year during the 2016 Dallas Tastemaker Awards.
Knife and Nancy's Hustle were the only two Texas restaurants to make the most recent Esquire's list. In November 2019, the magazine named Austin's Comedor to its Best New Restaurants 2019. It was the only Texas winner.