Each year, Texas Monthly magazine Executive Editor Pat Sharpe reveals her top 10 picks for new restaurants across the state. As the go-to Texas food critic, the James Beard Award-winning food writer has a decidedly sophisticated palate that has tasted the likes of just about everything you can imagine from the far stretches of Alpine in West Texas to the piney woods of East Texas.
Her annual selection of the top new restaurants of the year is a careful selection of restaurants that have not only received a warm welcome in their home city, but have gone above and beyond in their culinary appeal and vision.
This year's list is no different. The added bonus is that Austin has claimed three of the 10 spots, making a strong showing for a state that can proudly claim a powerful culinary foundation in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and everywhere in outside and in between. The Austin selections on the list: Congress restaurant coming in at number one, with Barley Swine as a close second and Contigo taking seventh place.
"Austin had an amazing year, what with capturing three of the ten spots," says Sharpe. "And this comes on the heels of Uchiko getting the number one spot last year. Austin is red hot right now."
We couldn't agree more. With StarChef's.com hosting its own Rising Stars Revue Gala next week, Food & Wine magazine announcing on Wednesday Austin's own Laura Sawicki of La Condesa as one of their top five new pastry chefs of the year and two of Austin's finest competing in the current season of Bravo's Top Chef (Paul Qui of Uchi/Uchiko and Andrew Curren of 24 Diner and Easy Tiger) and a recent James Beard Award Winning Chef (Tyson Cole of Uchi/Uchiko) as a pillar to the dining community, it's hard not to feel a sense of pride for the direction the Capital City has taken with its culinary scene.
That being said, Sharpe's list speaks for all of Texas and for the restaurants she selected in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Forth Worth, we should all be proud.
"Starting in 2002, I have eaten my weight in lamb chops, roasted beets, pork belly, and micro-cilantro every year to come up with Texas Monthly’s annual list of the most innovative, exciting, and delicious new Texas restaurants. For 2012, our feature “Where to Eat Now” runs the gamut from a glittering, high-style dining room in downtown Austin to a causal sushi-and-sake bar in Fort Worth...” see full post here and look for the full story in the March issue of Texas Monthly magazine.