Fort Worth has not lacked for new restaurant openings in the past year, but only one made the just-released list of 10 best new restaurants from Texas Monthly: Piattello Italian Kitchen, the Fort Worth restaurant from chef Marcus Paslay.
That’s up from zero the previous year, although Press Cafe did merit an honorable mention in 2017.
The city that wins the most spots is Houston, with four restaurants. Dallas earns two: Sachet, the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant from Gemma chef/owner Stephen Rogers and his wife Allison Yoder; and Bullion, the downtown Dallas restaurant from former Mansion chef Bruno Davaillon that offers a lighter take on classic French fare. Austin also earns two, and San Antonio claims one.
Restaurants that are eligible for inclusion must have opened between December 1, 2016 and December 1, 2017; reopened restaurants that kept their original names, such as the French Room in Dallas, are not.
"There will be steaks — that’s a given. And Mexican food. And Gulf seafood," writes Texas Monthly critic Pat Sharpe. "But our annual roundup of the ten best new restaurants in Texas contains surprises too, including a place with a Canadian chef, as well as a Japanese-Texan mash-up that almost defies description. I've been putting together this list since 2002, and I can’t remember a year that included two such distinct outliers."
Piattello clinches the 10th spot on the list. Sharpe gushes about their "oozy fontina-filled risotto balls," quipping, "I’m shocked — shocked — that the arancini here have not been designated a controlled substance." She also applauds Paslay's menu, which ranges "from jet-black squid-ink bucatini crowned with lightly sautéed Gulf shrimp (for the pasta snobs) to Roman-style pizzas, their crusts toasty from the wood oven (for everybody)."
The No. 1 spot goes to Xochi, the acclaimed Houston restaurant from Hugo Ortega, and No. 2 is Austin restaurant Kemuri Tatsu-ya, a barbecue-influenced izakaya from the owners of Austin restaurant Ramen Tatsu-ya.
Dallas' Sachet takes third place. Sharpe cites dishes like field peas with grilled scallions, grilled baby carrots with pumpkin seeds, and crispy pork with porcini mushrooms as standouts and hails the restaurant's beach-inspired design that "would fit right in at a seaside resort."
Bullion is no. 5, thanks to its "stupendous" seafood offerings, such as ethereal fish-mousse dumplings and silken seared scallops in an Ibérico ham broth.
Houston's other three list-makers include Killen's STQ, which blends steak and barbecue; Beard Award winner Justin Yu earns the sixth spot for Theodore Rex, the bistro from Justin Yo of the acclaimed restaurant Oxheart; and Riel, from Canadian chef Ryan Lachaine.
Other restaurants on the list include Pitchfork Pretty, the stylish Austin restaurant that blends Hill Country and Asian influences; and Range, chef Jason Dady’s steakhouse on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.