Food & Wine released the list of their 2018 Restaurants of the Year and two Texas restaurants made the cut of 10 the best new restaurants across the country. It’s a list that spans cuisines, but with a common thread: the people that made it happen.
Restaurant editor Jordana Rothman noted all of the restaurants on the list are centered around the concept of home and identity, and that how good they are is dependent just as much on the people who make the food as the food itself.
“In the end, the restaurants we fell in love with this year were the ones that delivered a rich portrait of the people who made them—where they’re from, where they’ve been, where they are now. On this journey of our own, they reminded us that we may be shaped by the things we pick up on the road, but there can be just as much power in finding a way to bring it all back home.”
The two Texas spots on the list are truly local places that honor the community, even when that community stretches across the globe.
Read on for more details about the best restaurants of 2018 in America offering everything from fine dining to comfort food with influences that range from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean, to traditional foods from Japan, Paris, the American South, and all points in between. The restaurants are ordered in the way they appear in the list.
2. Better Luck Tomorrow: Houston
544 Yale St., Houston
It might be the beginning of the work week, but no need to be salty! We’ve got you covered with this popular house cocktail, the Salty Cat. We rotate through various seasonal fruits making a salted fruit syrup, or Boshi, that makes this grapefruit and gin cocktail a crowd pleaser. Bar open from 3:30 pm to 2 am!
Better Luck Tomorrow is part bar, part restaurant, and all neighborhood joint. It’s a place where you can go to hang out with your crew at the bar or meet up for a weekend brunch. Whether you’re getting food or drink, you’re getting something local.
You’re also getting something fun and tasty, like the Julep’d Toddy (bourbon, honey, and peppermint tea) and Hangover Hashbrowns (beef gravy, cheese, pickles, and shallots) at brunch, or the Salty Cat (gin, grapefruit, salted fruit) and Crispy Chicken (fried Hot Star-style with pickled cabbage).
8. Kemuri Tatsu-ya: Austin
2713 E. Second St., Austin
Texas meets Japan at Kemuri Tatsu-ya, the restaurant spearheaded by co-chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto. Both men come from Japanese immigrant families, but both grew up in Texas. The restaurant finds the common element in those two cultures through smoke. Think skewers of Kurobuta Pork Belly, Texas Ramen with beef broth and brisket, or Guaca-Poke with tuna, fresh wasabi, avocado, pickled red onion, and Kaiware sprouts.
Kemuri’s cocktails showcase the best of both worlds, too. From a selection of Japanese whiskies to drinks like the Puff Puff Pass (sweet potato shochu, aged rum, pecan, grapefruit, and five spice bitters), the bar makes sure that you will have a fun and delicious time.
1. Maydan: Washington, DC
2. Better Luck Tomorrow: Houston, Texas
3. Fairfax: New York City, New York
4. Reems: Oakland, California
5. Superior Motors: Braddock, Pennsylvania
6. The Grand Cafe: Minneapolis, Minnesota
7. Voyager: Ferndale, Michigan
8. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya: Austin, Texas
9. Junebaby: Seattle, Washington
10. LASA: Los Angeles, California
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