This year, Texas Monthly food editor Pat Sharpe’s annual ranking of the state’s best new restaurants looks a little different. Instead of a ranked list of 10 establishments, Sharpe focuses on her favorite takeout dishes and drinks from across the Lone Star State, along with spotlighting three of the year’s most exciting new openings.
In total, the article covers 30 restaurants spread across seven regions, Sharpe writes, divided into categories such as starters and sides, sandwiches, entrees, sweets, and cocktails. All of them offer to-go. To be eligible for the list, establishments must have opened between December 1, 2019 and December 1, 2020.
Sharpe selects Kalimotxo, a Spanish-inspired bar and restaurant from chefs Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph (Emmer & Rye, Hestia). She praises the operation, which was originally conceived as a tapas-style cocktail bar connected to Hestia, for its pivot during the pandemic.
"Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go," Sharpe explains.
For her Houston spotlight, she praises restaurant Bludorn and chef Aaron Bludorn for blending the French techniques he honed as executive chef at New York’s Cafe Boulud with elements of his Pacific Northwest childhood and Texas ingredients. She also gives a special nod to San Antonio’s Jardín, an Eastern Mediterranean cafe from noted San Antonio chefs Jason and Jake Dady that’s located at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
Austin restaurants are also well-represented in the individual dishes. They include: Paperboy's pesto and parmesan kale salad, Reunion 19's pork belly banh mi tacos, Summer House on Music Lane's eggplant toast with pickled raisins, Peacock's Aleppo pepper and garlic Gulf shrimp, Gati's Thai coffee ice cream, and Lola's Donuts' dark chocolate chai doughnut.
Head to the Texas Monthly website to see the complete list selections from across the state.