Looking for a bottle of 2015 Jean Claude Courtault Chablis Grand Cru to pair with your appetizer of crab toast? Or maybe a bottle of Chappellet’s Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon to go with your dry-aged bone-in ribeye? This Clarksville institution has you covered.
One of the deepest, broadest and most exclusive wine lists in Texas has been honored as the Best Medium-Size Wine List in North Americaby The World of Fine Wine. After several years of advancing up the star rankings, Jeffrey’s earned the distinction this month from the industry publication, which had the following to say about the program led by Master Sommelier and McGuire Moorman Hospitality vice president of operations June Rodil.
The wine list embodies clarity and complexity with defined headlines such as ‘Grower Champagne’, with labels from Robert Barbichon Blanc de Noirs Brut NV, to Jacques Selosse “Millésimé” Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2005, and ‘Négociant Champagne’, such as Bollinger “La Grande Année” 2005, and Ruinart Rosé Brut NV. Not overlooking sparkling wines, a few cherry-picked options from Spain and Italy are some of the options available, alongside Oregon’s Soter “Mineral Springs Ranch” Brut Rosé, which is sustainably produced.
Judges of the 2017 awards commented that Jeffrey’s has an, “Elegant choice and layout”, with a “very good spirit selection.”
If you want to take a tour of modern American culinary history, from West Coast to East, you could do a lot worse than starting with Food & Wine magazine’s recently released list of the 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Past 40 Years. It would be a dining tour that would take you from The French Laundry in Yountville to Daniel in New York City, with stops at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans and much more.
Food & Wine’s comprehensive list would also send you to Texas where you would make a stop at arguably the most famous barbecue restaurant in the world. Aaron Franklin was the first barbecue cook to ever win a James Beard Award for Best Chef, and now his and wife Stacy’s restaurant, Franklin Barbecue, has landed a spot side by side with some of the nation’s most classic and beloved institutions. Of the restaurant, the magazine writes, “The occasional six-hour line is worth it, we promise; the lunch-only spot delivers on the hype, a rare feat in restaurants.”
It wasn’t Austin’s night at the James Beard Foundation Awards. The city boasted two of the five nominees for Best Chef: Southwest at Monday night’s awards, but Barley Swine chef-owner Bryce Gilmore and Olamaie chef-owner Michael Fojtasek were beat out by Alex Seidel of Mercantile in Denver.
This was the sixth consecutive year Gilmore attended the awards as a finalist and the first such appearance by Fojtasek.
Gilmore and Fojtasek did not enter the small fraternity of three Austin chefs (Tyson Cole, Paul Qui and Aaron Franklin) who previously have won the award, but their two restaurants have taken top honors in the Austin360 Dining Guide four of the past five years.
Seidel also beat out chefs Steve McHugh of Cured in San Antonio and Martín Rios of Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe.
Earlier in the evening, Otoko failed to take home the prize for restaurant design.
Barley Swine founder and chef Bryce Gilmore and Olamaie founder and chef Michael Fojtasek are up in Chicago right now for the James Beard Awards. This is the sixth consecutive year Gilmore, whose Barley Swine has taken home top Austin restaurant honors twice from this critic, has been a finalist for Best Chef: Southwest and the first such nomination for Fojtasek, whose Olamaie has also been named #1 twice by me.
Former Austin winners of the award include Tyson Cole of Uchi (2o11), Paul Qui while at Uchiko (2012) and Aaron Franklin (2015). The two Austin chefs are competing against Steve McHugh of Cured in San Antonio, Martín Rios, of Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and Alex Seidel of Mercantile in Denver.
The Michael Hsu Office of Architecture was also named a finalist for best restaurant design for Otoko at the South Congress Hotel.
If there’s one dish that sums up the spirit of Kemuri, it would be the BBQ Tsukemen—springy noodles in one bowl, a thick dipping broth in another. That soup is a three-day labor of love that stacks collagen-rich chicken and pork feet for texture with smoked brisket burnt ends, kombu, and katsuobushi. The result is murky magic that you’ll want to polish off like a shot of whiskey.
Kemuri is joined on the list by Better Luck Tomorrow, the Houston bar-restaurant from chef Justin Yu and Texas’ mixology godfather, Bobby Heugel. The rest of Rothman’s exciting list bounces around the country, with welcome nods to places as diverse as Minneapolis, Seattle and Ferndale, Michigan. See the full list here.
The James Beard award for the Best Chef Southwest category has two big Austin names competing for the crown. Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie) and Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine) were both named finalists today for the prestigious culinary award. The other nominees for the category include Steve McHugh of Cured in San Antonio, Martín Rios, of Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and Alex Seidel of Mercantile in Denver. The Michael Hsu Office of Architecture was also named a finalist for best restaurant design for Otoko at the South Congress Hotel.
Gilmore was Austin’s only semifinalist last year, and the chef went on to earn his fifth consecutive finalist nod, but the city has done well in recent years. Aaron Franklin won the award in 2015, and former Austin winners include Paul Qui (2012) and Tyson Cole of Uchi (2011), Austin’s first-ever winner.
In the words of Addison, the list includes “singular steakhouses, barbecue standard-bearers, Tex-Mex strongholds, and cafes serving outstanding burgers, breakfast tacos, and kolaches: the foods that make Texas defy trendiness,” as well as restaurants that “reflect the rich multiculturalism of its metropolises.”
Austin had seven entrants make the cut. They are (with the parenthetical numbers showing the restaurant’s list in our annual Austin360 Dining Guide: Contigo (Critic’s Pick), Emmer & Rye (#5), Franklin Barbecue (#10), Kemuri Tatsu-Ya (#9), Odd Duck (#4), Tamale House East (n/a) and Veracruz All-Natural (Critic’s Pick). That list of Austin restaurants checks a lot of boxes: rustic, farm-to-table, Japanese, barbecue and tacos. The biggest surprises on omissions would probably be Olamaie (#1), Dai Due (#3), Lenoir (#2) and Barley Swine (#7, though sister restaurant Odd Duck did make it in).
Addison was joined in compiling the list by Eater Austin editor Nadia Chaudhury, Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn, who tackled the barbecue restaurants around the state, and others. Houston, not surprisingly, had the most entrants on the list with 10.
Tickets cost $85 ($125 for VIP tickets) and can be purchased online. Proceeds from the event will benefit Austin Food & Wine Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas culinary community.