Spend Your Summer at These New Texas Restaurants
Five exciting openings, from a sleek steakhouse to a Thai-Native American concept
If you do one thing this summer, head for the nearest body of water, and stay there until fall. But if you do two things, let that second one involve eating — because you’ll find lots of exciting new restaurants around the state, including those serving Texas classics like steak and barbecue. But there are also less expected options involving Israeli dishes and a mashup of indigenous Thai and Native American cuisines. So that ought to keep you busy for a while. Especially since these spots are generous with the A/C and shaded patios.
Ezov — which is the Hebrew name for the herb hyssop — is the latest opening from the hits-parade Emmer & Rye hospitality group, which also runs Emmer & Rye, Canje, Hestia and Kalimotxo in Austin, as well as Ladino in San Antonio. The kitchen enlists a wood-fired grill for several menu items, and that menu spans the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv and Texas. Plates are meant to be shared and include dishes like halloumi with date molasses, dukkah and sorel, and kofta with pine nuts and fire-roasted eggplant. Wines are sourced from Greece, Lebanon, Israel and Italy.
2708 E Cesar Chavez Street, Austin (map)
Say it with us: “The Preserve.” It’s a new tasting menu concept from Choctaw tribal member David Skinner and Thai native Benchawan Jabthong Painter. And it’s located in Kemah, that coastal Gulf town southeast of Houston that’s famous for its boardwalk. Skinner also runs the adjoining fine-dining spot Eculent, and Jabthong Painter has a James Beard nomination for her work at Houston’s Street to Kitchen. Together they’re pickling, smoking and fermenting their way to a tasting menu that highlights dishes and cooking methods that date all the way back to 2400 BC and span the centuries up to the present day. Dishes include blue cornbread with sunflower butter, seasonal mushrooms with red ant eggs, corn soup with smoked pork jowl, and wild boar with garlic, shallots and Thai chilies.
709 Harris Avenue, Kemah (map)
The first incarnation of the Stater hotel opened in 1956, and its new LVI steakhouse pays homage to that year via Roman numerals. The dining room evokes a private club feel, with plenty of leather and wood, and a dramatic wine display near the entrance. The menu features Texas-raised steaks, which are dry-aged in house and available in a variety of cuts, and seafood options include jumbo sea scallops and halibut. The bar is making original cocktails like the Chairman, with tequila, mezcal, amaro, vermouth and bitters, and the wine list is 1,000 bottles strong. If you’d rather bring your own, LVI has private lockers, where guests can store their favorite wines and spirits.
1914 Commerce Street, Dallas (map)
The Saint is an Italian-inspired steakhouse with an emphasis on Texas ingredients, and it features a saints and sinners theme throughout the space. Diners who want to go all-in on beef will find a lot to like, including the Texas wagyu tomahawk chop with Calabrian chili butter and the 44 Farms prime beef filet with a Barolo wine reduction. From there, you can enhance your steak with toppers like a gorgonzola raviolo, a poached egg or foie gras butter. Non-steaks include raw oysters, Maine lobster arancini and pastas, while drinks range from summery spritzes to a Negroni Bramble and Macchiato Martini.
2633 Gaston Avenue, Dallas (map)
Lockhart is the epicenter of Central Texas’s smoked meat tradition, with Kreuz Market, Smitty’s and Black’s Barbecue. But there’s always room for more brisket and ribs. Barbs BQ is the shiny new addition to the neighborhood, and it’s run by a trio of women who’ve worked at some of the state’s best barbecue joints, including Franklin in Austin and Goldee’s in Fort Worth. Barbs serves classics like brisket, beef ribs and sausage alongside lamb chops, a poblano-spiked green spaghetti and beans à la charra.
103 E Market St, Lockhart (map)
Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.
Suggested for you