First, some bad news: It’s still summer, and therefore too hot to venture outside. The good news: a handful of new restaurants are giving us some very compelling reasons to stay indoors — because that’s where they keep the rigatoni, wagyu steaks and lobster ceviche. To that end, here are five of the most exciting new restaurants in Texas, from Houston to Dallas to Wimberley.
Chef Masaru Fukuda first debuted Pacha Nikkei at the former Politan Row food hall, but now he’s brought it, along with an expanded menu, to a standalone spot on Westheimer Road. The restaurant is focused on Nikkei cuisine, which merges Peruvian ingredients with Japanese techniques. That means dishes like lobster ceviche, grilled octopus, lomo saltado and other things you’ll have a tough time choosing between in the handsome dining room or at the ceviche bar. The drink menu continues the theme, with Peruvian piscos, Japanese whiskies and cocktails like the Wagyu Old Fashioned, with beef fat-infused whiskey, shitake mushroom and plum liqueur.
10001 Westheimer Road, Suite 5, Houston (map)
Tim Love isn’t the mayor of Fort Worth, it just feels that way sometimes because his restaurants are everywhere, from Lonesome Dove and Woodshed Smokehouse to Gemelle and Paloma Suerte. But now he’s got another one: Caterina’s, a classy Italian joint in the Stockyards neighborhood that requires men to wear jackets and puts diners’ cell phones into locked pouches so they talk to each other. The dining room is decked out in leather banquettes and exposed brick, and the menu features dishes like rigatoni alla vodka, linguini with clams and a veal chop. Drinks are mostly Italian, with wines pulled from various regions around the country, and cocktails are prepared tableside via bar cart. You can’t take photos of the action, but you can talk to your date about it.
128 E Exchange Avenue, Suite 620, Fort Worth (map)
Located in the Texas Hill Country, Wimberley offers great access to breweries, wineries and distilleries — but it just got a little fancier with the debut of RR12 Supper Club, a fine-dining restaurant serving steaks and seafood with French accents. Appetizers include seared foie gras and escargot, mains feature a classic coq au vin, and dry-aged steaks can be topped with fresh truffles. Whatever you choose, know that caviar is just an ask away — the restaurant has a selection available by the ounce. RR12 also has an optional membership, which you can join for access to members-only nights on Tuesdays, free drinks, and dinner vouchers to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions.
13900 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley (map)
Atípico hails from Mexico City, but don’t expect Mexican food. The restaurant’s cuisine is as international as the city itself, with plates ranging from pitaya bowls and a cream cheese-stuffed sirloin burger to charcoal grilled octopus and the Asturias Fettuccine, which sports three types of cheese and is served on artisan bread. Atípico is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and drinks move from fresh juices and coffees in the morning to wine and cocktails as the sun gets higher. The menu caters to multiple dietary preferences, including keto, vegan and gluten-free, so if that’s you, you’re in luck. And that menu changes often, so check in regularly to see what’s new.
2301 N Akard Street, Dallas (map)
The Japanese sandwich train keeps on rolling, with the handhelds increasingly available across Texas. The latest salvo comes from popular pop-up Choo Sando, which just got a permanent location in Austin’s Brentwood neighborhood. The little spot helmed by Chef Dong Ho Choo serves a variety of sandwiches stuffed with katsu pork, light and fluffy tamago, shrimp, Korean-style fried chicken and other delights. Order individual sandwiches, or do the smart thing and preorder a whole box packed with either eight or 18 sandwiches that’s perfect for sharing.
5222 Burnet Road, Suite 535, Austin (map)
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