The team of food writers at the Chronicle released its annual list of 100 restaurants defining Austin right now. The sprawling section included a list of editor Jessi Cape’s top ten Austin restaurants. While the original list isn’t presented with explanations, it’s presented here with descriptions from the full guide.
2) Suerte: “Suerte’s house-made tortillas and goat barbacoa tacos are out of this world, but their heirloom corn has moves you’ve never seen.”
3) Eldorado Cafe: “The vibe here is one of community”
4) L’oca d’Oro: “[U]npretentious but downright luxurious Italian cuisine”
5) Il Brutto: “Order a cacio e pepe (all the pasta is handmade), margherita pizza, and Negronis for a perfect date.”
6) Habesha Restaurant and Bar: “The aromatic spices alone will be enough to tempt a reach across the table.”
7) Carpenters Hall: “Your taste buds will road trip across our great state to explore a variety of influences, from chicken schnitzel for two to Gulf Coast seafood.”
8) Easy Tiger at the Linc: “Don’t sleep on that almond croissant.”
9) Himalaya Kosheli: “Chicken chili momos and hearty, delicious curries”
10) Garbo’s Fresh Maine Lobster: “The grilled brisket and sirloin burger doesn’t mess around, either — and yes, you can add lobster.”
Austin Monthly critic Jolène Bouchon reviewed Carpenters Hall this week, praising the details that added to the experience. She declared the aesthetic “somewhere between luxe and nostalgic, mixing a Wes Anderson midcentury cool with pragmatic grade-school flourishes.”
For the food, Bouchon noted that while dishes initially appear to be “prosaic,” everything has touches of the myriad influences to Texas cuisine, with the roast beef sandwich being a prime example:
The house-made sourdough provides a fabulous balance of tang and fresh, earthy grain, the crumb both soft and chewy, albeit without the mouth-scraping crust so common in rustic breads. The peppery arugula, red pepper, and horseradish mayo deliver just enough bite to cut through the rich beef, here shaved tissue for a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Bouchon also loved the spaetzle (“a superior take on the hash brown”) and the “massive” shrimp with Meyer lemon salsa.
In fact, Bouchon concluded “there were very few dishes I didn’t enjoy,” and that “the hands of [Carpenters Hall chef Grae] Nonas, familiar fare over-delivers to the point of tasting new.”
- First Plates 2019 [Chronicle]
- The Top 10 Austin Restaurants According to the Chronicle Food Editor [Chronicle]
- Restaurant Review: Carpenter’s Hall [Austin Monthly]
- All Coverage of Carpenters Hall [EATX]