Statesman critic Matthew Odam unleashes his top 25 restaurants in Austin today. The list puts tiny South First restaurant Lenoir at the top, with national sensation Qui landing at number two. Familiar faces like Uchi/Uchiko, Congress, and Barley Swine round out the top five. Odam will do a live chat tomorrow, October 31 at 11 a.m. about the list. On Lenoir's number one spot:
The pricing structure makes Lenoir the best value of any restaurant in town. And though the chef opened his 32-seat restaurant with modest ambitions, his imagination and the execution of his team - from the kitchen to the attentive service staff - have elevated it to the top of the Austin dining scene.
"We set out to have a really good neighborhood restaurant," Duplechan said. "It's turned into something a lot bigger and a lot better and a lot more successful than we ever could have imagined."
Meanwhile, The Chronicle visits newly opened Slab BBQ. Virginia Wood makes only a single visit, where the hip-hop inspired decor confuse and the non-sandwich options miss the mark. Wood digs the sandwiches the trailer build its business on:
My sandwich choice, El Jefe ($7), featured tasty chopped brisket dressed with grilled onions, jalapeños, and a mantle of the house queso on a jalapeño cheddar bun. For the full effect, add a sprinkling of Fritos (50 cents) for crunch. It's a big, juicy, gloriously messy sandwich, but there are handy napkin dispensers on every table.
The first visit we had an amazing chicken-fried steak ($7.99, with two sides) that was ethereal: a fork-tender, beefy-tasting fresh steak hand-breaded with a thin, crispy crust, and a rich, creamy gravy. It came with garlicky Texas toast, real fried okra, and mac and cheese like Grandma's.