Esquire has released its annual Best New Restaurants list. Sorry, Dallas, we weren't included in the slideshow of winners. We did, however, get an honorable mention in the intro that described several growing trends in national dining. While describing gastro pubs, the continued rise of southern cooking, and the return of big eating, the article had this to say about Latin food in the states:
Excellent, highly creative Latino restaurants -- like Salinas and Tertulia in New York, Playa in Los Angeles, El Rey in Houston, Komali in Dallas, and Tico in Boston -- have reached a critical mass so as to push Spanish-Latin American cuisine beyond trendy and into the mainstream.
Komali has turned Mexican cooking on its head, showcasing a typically humble cuisine in a haute new light. It would have been nice to see his cooking featured in the main article, but that's hard in a list packed with the likes of Grant Achatz and John Sedlar.
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Austin made the grade. Newly opened Congress was described as a tribute to Texas' cornucopia. Chef David Bull had this to say about Texas cooking
Texas is the underdog in the world of cuisine. Even today it conjures visions of barbecue and taco stands. And yet we have deep culinary roots with Mexico, but also a solid tradition of German cooking, cowboy chuck-wagon food, Italian, Native American, and an increasingly strong Asian influence. We have venison, antelope, peaches, figs, red snapper, oysters. It all makes my job a lot easier.
If Texas is the world's underdog, what's that make Dallas? And what will it take to bring one of our new restaurants into the national spotlight? Any restaurant that's opened after August 2011 will be game for next year's list. Is Private Social good enough to make the grade? Or will something that opens later in the year serve up Dallas' best shot?