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The Sanctuary Hotel Opens Broadway's Newest Dining Venue: Tender NYC

The Sanctuary Hotel Opens Broadway's Newest Dining Venue: Tender NYC


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The Sanctuary Hotel's newest restaurant and lounge, Tender, officially opened its doors last month and is already garnering rave reviews. The midtown restaurant is the perfect combination of star-studded chefs, a gorgeous wait staff, delectable food and an intricate drink menu in a modern, comfortable setting.

Located at The Sanctuary Hotel, the midtown restaurant combines sophistication, star-studded chefs, a friendly wait staff, delectable food and an intricate drink menu in a modern, comfortable setting. With a cool and sleek design, diners will feel like a Broadway star themselves while sipping on custom-designed cocktails, either at the bar or on a comfortable banquette. Behind the bar is veteran mixologist Isaac Grillo, creating eclectic concoctions in addition to a very pleasing wine list.

Located at The Sanctuary Hotel, the midtown restaurant combines sophistication, star-studded chefs, a friendly wait staff, delectable food and an intricate drink menu in a modern, comfortable setting. Behind the bar is veteran mixologist Isaac Grillo, creating eclectic concoctions in addition to a very pleasing wine list.

Chefs Dale Schnell (The Setai Fifth Avenue, Burj al Arab) and Edwin Purnomo (Sushi of Gari) helm the kitchen, featuring modern American and steakhouse cuisine married with Japanese delights. The sushi menu includes a 10-piece Omakase, and don't miss out on one of the house specialties raved about by foodies: avocado fries.

Opened by father and son hoteliers Brandon and Hank Freid, the duo brings a major background in hospitality. In addition to Tender, their lifestyle company, The Impulsive Group, features a vast portfolio of boutique hotel properties in New York City and a luxury yacht fleet in Europe, the Caribbean and Miami.


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


The Best To-Go Dishes (and Drinks!) at the Newest Restaurants in Texas

For the 20th edition of Where to Eat Now, we’ve compiled some of our favorite takeout options from places that opened in 2020.

A lmost a year ago at this time, I was panicking about the future of restaurants in Texas. The pandemic was carving a path of economic destruction that would lead to the demise of more than 10,000 of the state’s dining establishments by December. If it could kill off so many, including stalwarts that had seemed rock-solid only months before, what chance would the new ones have? Thank goodness the worst of my fears were overblown. Owners, chefs, and employees worked round the clock dealing with disrupted supply chains, changing government regulations, and the constant threat of disease and, by some miracle, managed to open new places all year long. Yes, there were fewer than usual. But they did open.

Because of this tireless work, we are proud to publish the twentieth edition of the magazine’s annual roundup of the best new restaurants in Texas. This time, instead of limiting it to my top ten places of the previous year, Where to Eat Now focuses on favorite dishes (as well as some drinks, which we really needed this year) so that we can spread the love even more, to seven major cities and regions around the state. The result is a smorgasbord of more than thirty specialties, organized by category, from starters to sweets. It was a group effort this year, with some of the magazine’s longtime freelance contributors dining on patios and taking meals to go.

In addition, we spotlight three exciting restaurants—one each in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin—and we say goodbye to some of the beloved places we lost in 2020 as well as take a look at what’s opening in 2021. There is also a roundup of new releases from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Although the package looks very different this year, the rules haven’t changed for Where to Eat Now. To be eligible, a restaurant must have opened between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2020 (there’s a grace period for latecomers we missed the previous year). All of these places offer takeout, so please check them out, tip generously, and keep your fingers crossed that they’re alive and cooking this time next year.

Additional reporting by Tina Danze, June Naylor, Robin Barr Sussman, and Texas Monthly Dining Guide reviewers.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Left: Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepares his Basque cheesecake at Kalimotxo.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Top: The pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks at Kalimotxo, in Austin.

Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Kalimotxo

Austin Spotlight

Kalimotxo (kah-lee-mo-cho), noun: 1. a drink consisting of red wine and cola over ice, inordinately popular with the cocktail crowd in Spain’s Basque country. 2. a restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. For such a tiny place, Kalimotxo (see definition 2) has plenty going on, including a comfy patio overlooking Shoal Creek. It opened in late 2019 as a cocktail / snack bar attached to Hestia, a dark and sophisticated restaurant with a live-fire kitchen. Three months later, the pandemic hit and, long story short, Hestia is now doing tasting menus in-house only while Kalimotxo has morphed into an easygoing bistro that also offers food to go. Spanish dishes set the tone, including a fine potato-and-egg tortilla española and a pintxos board of Basque-style small snacks (pictured). The most popular dish may well be the excellent wagyu burger sporting a tangy layer of Spain’s Mahón cheese, but the restaurant’s signature is its Basque cheesecake, the ebony exterior looking burnt but actually just super-caramelized. The chef-owners behind both ventures are Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who also run Emmer & Rye. And to answer the inevitable question, yes, you can order a kalimotxo. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Opened December 7, 2019. 607 W. 3rd, Austin, 512-333-0737, kalimotxoatx.com

Bludorn

Houston Spotlight

Executive chef Aaron Bludorn uses the French culinary skills honed during his years as executive chef at New York’s famed Café Boulud to weave together flavors from his Pacific Northwest upbringing and from Houston’s international palate. Anchored by a thick redfish filet crowned with lump crabmeat, his cioppino flaunts steamed clams, mussels, and shrimp a moat of sea-fresh tomato broth is poured tableside and garnished with a sliver of buttery crostini. Short-rib ravioli with figs and blue cheese is another melting-pot indulgence ditto the bacon-wrapped quail with rosemary and quince—each technically exact in flavor and aesthetically pleasing. There’s also a lobster potpie and a dry-aged-beef burger. Desserts by pastry chef Alejandra Salas, an alum of the French Laundry, in Napa Valley, are jewel-like, including a delicately sculpted baked Alaska (pictured). The former Pass and Provisions space has been refashioned with a smart dining room, tucked-away bar, and multilevel patio. Special design accents, especially the mural by a local artist of magnolia groves in East Houston, give it a modern sense of place. It’s sophisticated dining sans preciousness. Opened August 21, 2020. 807 Taft, Houston, 713-999-0146, bludornrestaurant.com

Hummus topped with crispy pork belly and puffy naan pita at Jardín, in San Antonio. Photograph by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Jardín

San Antonio Spotlight

Morning sunlight dapples the flagstone patio of Jardín, the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s five-month-old cafe, with its shady trees and umbrella tables. Soon the place will be filled with visitors drinking endless cups of coffee and Rising Suns (gin with cooling cucumber and a splash of saffron syrup). In a bit they will head out to admire the plants and greenhouses. Then they will return to explore the restaurant’s contemporary Eastern Mediterranean menu, with mezze plates, creative hummus combos, and focaccia pizzas galore. Perhaps the perfect starter is golden gazpacho, a velvety mix of beets and tomatoes. An order of the bright, fresh hummus should be next, perhaps with a topping of crispy pork belly and a drizzle of harissa oil (pictured). Happily, it comes with the menu’s signature puffy naan pita, sprinkled with za ’ atar. Serious appetites are sated by dishes such as pan-seared salmon with apricot puree, available at both lunch and dinner. Frivolous desires are fulfilled by the likes of olive oil cake with almond nougat crumble. The chefs in charge are the Dady brothers, Jason and Jake, who also run Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Public places seem to be their new niche. Opened September 13, 2020. 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, 210-338-5100, jardinsatx.com


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