two for the show
2 Austin hot spots land on Bon Appetit's prestigious best new restaurants list
UPDATE: Canje has been named in the Top 10 Best New Restaurants for 2022 by Bon Appetit.
Texas restaurants are well-represented on Bon Appetit’s list of America’s 50 Best New Restaurants for 2022. Seven Lone Star State establishments earn the magazine's approval, including two in Austin:
- Birdie’s, a counter service restaurant in Austin known for its seasonal menu and well-chosen list of natural wines
- Canje, the Caribbean restaurant in Austin from star chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph
And the other five contenders from across Texas include:
- El Rincon del Maiz, a taqueria in Garland that serves vegan tacos on seven different types of corn tortillas
- La Onda, chef Victor Villarreal’s Latin-inspired seafood restaurant in Fort Worth that includes dry-aged fish among its offerings
- March, the Houston fine dining restaurant dedicated to tasting menus inspired by different regions of the Mediterranean
- The Nicolett, a Lubbock restaurant that serves “High Plains Cuisine” in the form of dishes such as elk tartare and house-made pappardelle stuffed with avocado
- Reese Bros. Barbecue, a San Antonio food truck that pairs classic Texas barbecue with Mexican-inspired sides
The strong showing represents an improvement over 2019, when only four Texas restaurants made the list. Instead of awarding Best New Restaurants in 2021, Bon Appetit recognized restaurants that showed leadership during the pandemic with its Head of the Table awards, including Houston's Lucille's and its companion non-profit, Lucille's 1913.
Once again traveling the country to select this year's honorees, the magazine's editors express optimism about the state of dining in America. They note that a broader range of immigrant culinary traditions has spread across the country, writing that it means “more Guyanese and South Indian and Palestinian and Indigenous Mexican food for all of us.” They also praise restaurants that are “putting their staff first” by offering improved working environments.
“I hope this list, divided by region and filled with our thoughts on what to order and what to know, acts as an invitation to shake off any skepticism as to whether going out is ‘worth it’ these days,” restaurant editor Elazar Sontag adds.
Each restaurant on the list receives a brief profile along with a list of recommended dishes.
For Birdie's, Bon Appetit notes "the highly seasonal menu of nothing-but-hits from chef Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel," who co-owns the restaurant with "self-described wine guy Arjav Ezekial." The magazine highlighted the restaurant's minute steak ($32); fresh pasta of the day ($19); and "whatever seasonal snacks and small plates strike your fancy."
For Canje, meanwhile, Bon Appetit notes how chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph is channeling the food of his childhood for the first time in his restaurant career:
"In this chicly tropical and warmly welcoming restaurant, Bristol-Joseph and his team seek to represent not just the country he’s from but the entire Caribbean, with all its layers of influence: African, Latino, Chinese, Portuguese, Indian, and beyond. The results, from the crispy-skinned wild bass swimming in rum butter sauce to the cloudlike, coconut-milk-soaked tres leches cake, are impossible to forget."
From this long list of 50 restaurants, Bon Appetit will reveal its ranked top 10 list on September 14.