In crazy pandemic times such as these, it's nice to get back to something normal like a good old-fashioned restaurant listicle. On May 4, GQ delivered its Best New Restaurants 2020, an annual collection of the country's most interesting (and delicious) dining concepts.
During his 2020 travels, one splashy Austin eatery dipped its way into the heart of correspondent Brett Martin, and, thus, onto the list. DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya, the latest concept in chef and owner Tastu Aikawa's Tatsu-Ya empire, offers shabu-shabu cuisine in an intimate, jewel box of a dining room on Burnet Road.
Martin captures the extraordinary experience that is dining at DipDipDip, writing:
"Up and down the rows, everybody is very busy, watching their egg timers and poking their pots. The quarters are a little cramped. You may burn a finger or two, or lose a chicken meatball to the floor. Servers wander the rows with iPads, checking on your progress with serious expressions. It's not quite relaxing, but it is very fun and strangely satisfying, suggesting that diners, like Montessori kids, are rarely as happy as when they've been given a job to do."
In total, Texas claimed two spots on the GQ list. San Antonio's The Jerk Shack (which, ahem, also won CultureMap's Best New Restaurant 2019) is lauded for its low-key, Caribbean-inspired cuisine.
"The future belongs to places like The Jerk Shack, in San Antonio. That's where Lattoia Nicola Massey, who also goes by the name Nicola Blaque, applies her Culinary Institute of America degree to an 'artisan Caribbean' restaurant that evokes an island jerk stand, with its walk-up window flanked by picnic tables."
And as if that isn't exciting enough, San Antonio diners will have two places to sample Blaque's cuisine when her second concept, Mi Roti, opens in the Pearl Bottling Department food hall later this year.
In total, GQ crowned 16 spots across the country as the year's best. And though the Lone Star State made a solid showing, tying with New York City and Seattle, California took the most spots with four restaurants. New Orleans; Detroit; Washington, D.C.; St. Louis; Portland, Oregon; and Philadelphia each had one restaurant.