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.”
Bon Appetit released its Hot 10 today. The list covers the 10 best new restaurants in America, and it includes a unique East Austin restaurant that has captivated critics around the country.
Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, which nabbed the #8 spot on the list, blends Japanese izakaya and Texas smokehouse for good eats and a real good time. The food captivated the Bon App writers, as did the vibe. The magazine’s restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton wrote:
And at no place did I party more than at Kemuri Tatsu-ya in East Austin. That’s bound to happen when you combine a raucous izakaya (think Japanese pub) and a smoky Texas BBQ joint with the “keep it weird” mantra of the capital.
But it wasn’t just the sweet vibes that captivated the writer. The food is no joke.
But it’s the more oddball, ambitious dishes that really show Kemuri’s penchant for playfulness. “Hot pocketz,” a kind of crispy sandwich involving fried tofu slices, gouda, and yes, more brisket, can’t possibly be delicate and nuanced, can it? Let’s just say I’m still trying to re-create them at home. Then there’s the octopus fritter topped with Texas chili that defies classification.