A taste of the year's brightest newcomers in the restaurant world and a look ahead to 2013
Exciting spaces, exceptional chefs, intriguing cuisines reward the adventurous.
First-time restaurant owners thrilled and thrived with their maiden ventures in 2012, while seasoned restaurateurs added to their portfolios of successful establishments.
Standout newcomers included inventive Asian cuisine in an unexpected northwest location, comforting small plates downtown, traditional Italian uptown, classic Mexican in the Rainey Street District and, south of the river, some of the best food in the city.
Below I take a look at the five most exciting restaurant openings of the year and peek at 10 places we’ll be tasting in 2013.
1807 S. First St. 2159778, lenoirrestaurant.com
My Newcomer of the Year charms, challenges and enchants. Chef-owners Todd Duplechan and wife Jessica Mah-er’s restaurant features an ethereal yet rustic design and a small but varied menu that delivers “hot weather cuisine,” with flavors ranging from Northern Africa to Southeast Asia but all tied to Texas and the Gulf Coast. The mostly European wine list, curated by Mark Sayer of Trio at the Four Seasons, is intriguing despite its limited size, and the knowledgeable servers at this intimate restaurant can help guide you through thoughtful
Lenoir’s tables (top) are meticulously set each day and the lights help set the mood. Axis venison (left) wrapped in wild ramps with fava bean ravioli and parsnips. Fish curry with toasted poha crust (right), shaved asparagus and dill.