In the November issue of Austin Monthly currently on shelves now, a panel of food experts share their picks for the best of the best in Austin's food scene. A lot has happened in the past year, leading to some exciting additions to a winners list, but often such honors tend to be predictable.
The Best New Restaurant of 2011 was awarded to both Congress and Barley Swine in a tie. What would have been more intriguing is if they were forced to pick a clear winner. The Best Burger went to Hopdoddy while the Best Steak went to III Forks. The East Side Showroom, Franklin Barbecue, Uchi, and Fonda San Miguel all got nods. Asia Cafe, the bastion of traditional Chinese food in northwest Austin, won for Best Ethnic, presumably beating out any other type of "foreign" food. What does that include nowadays? Some controversy may ensue from their picking Backspace as the best pizza in town, though. An east Austin newcomer and favorite of food lovers, Contigo, didn't win for their delicious ranch cuisine or cocktail program, instead only getting Best Patio.
No trailer won a "best of" award, instead being relegated to its own "new and noteworthy" sub-section. Also absent from the best list is any category for pastries or desserts. Surely the craft of Cak of parkside, Sandalio of Congress, or Speer of Uchi+Uchiko deserves a mention.
The issue also includes a rundown of gourmet comfort food options, noting dishes like the shrimp and grits at Black Star Co-op and the Texas "haute" dog at Max's Wine Dive. The photos and dishes are amazing, leaving one to wish the pages could be scratch and sniff (or eat).
What are your thoughts on the issue? Did you think their awards were spot on, or are you sour about your favorite restaurant not getting a glossy mention? Leave 'em in the comments.