Seven Austin restaurants land on Eater’s 38 Essential restaurants in Texas

Eater National’s roving critic Bill Addison recently spent quite a bit of time traversing the great state of Texas for the Texas 38, a list of the “Essential” restaurants in the state and a play on the Essential 38 lists run in each of Eater’s cities and several regions around the country.

Franklin Barbecue. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

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.

To read the complete Eater Texas 38 click here.





Two Austin restaurants land on Texas Monthly’s annual list of 10 best new restaurants

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The national magazine of Texas this morning weighed in on all of the great new additions to the state’s dining scene. Longtime Texas Monthly restaurant critic Patricia Sharpe announced her 10 Best New Restaurants in the state and Austin’s Kemuri Tatsu-Ya came in at #2, behind Houston chef Hugo Ortega’s Oaxacan restaurant Xochi; and Pitchfork Pretty in East Austin landed at #7. I named those two restaurants (along with Bonhomie) as best new restaurant in Austin last year. Bonhomie also found a spot on Sharpe’s list, earning an honorable mention nod, along with Spanish restaurant El Chipirón. Houston had the biggest 2017, nabbing four of the top 10 spots. For the complete list, visit

Ruby trout poached in olive oil with roasted tomatoes, fennel and breadcrumbs at Pitchfork Pretty 2708 E Cesar Chavez, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (Stephen Spillman/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


2017 Austin360 Dining Guide: Kemuri Tatsu-Ya (#9) | Pitchfork Pretty (#11) | Bonhomie (#16)

StarChefs names several Rising Stars in Austin culinary community

Industry publication StarChefs has returned its focus to the Austin-San Antonio corridor for the first time in five years, this week handing out their Rising Stars awards to local culinary talent.

Chef Michael Fojtasek at Olamaie on May 9, 2017. (TAMIR KALIFA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

This year’s crop of winners includes Kevin Fink and Page Pressley of Emmer & Rye (#5 in our Dining Guide), Tatsu Aikawa of Kemuri tatsu-Ya (#9 in our Dining Guide); Fiore Tedesco of L’Oca d’Oro (#8 in our Dining Guide), Adam Brick, the former Apis chef who recently announced he has joined as a partner at the soon-to-change Vino Vino; former counter 357 executive chef Damien Brockway; Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie (#1 in our Dining Guide); and Max Snyder of Pitchfork Pretty (#11 in our Dining Guide).

To celebrate the newly named Rising Stars, StarChefs will host an awards ceremony and tasting event on December 13 at Fair Market in East Austin. The event will feature tastings from all of the honored chefs, as well as pastry chef winners Tavel Bristol-Joseph (Emmer & Rye) and Daniela Herrera (Counter 357) and other winners in the artisan and beverage categories. For the evening’s complete menu, visit

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.


Eater names one Austin restaurant to its list of 38 best restaurants in America

Eater’s national critic Bill Addison is a tireless man, traveling the country in search of the nation’s up-and-coming and stalwart restaurants. The website today released its list of America’s 38 Essential restaurants. One Austin restaurant made the grade. The big shot? Franklin Barbecue. Addison writes, “The most famous barbecue restaurant in America deserves its celebrity; every omnivore should wade through the long (really long) line once to fathom Aaron Franklin’s smoky pyrotechnics.”

On April 28, 2017, Aaron Franklin greeted customers at Franklin’s Barbecue, which he co-owns with his wife Stacy Franklin. nvestors offering to expand the restaurant into a chain. “This is our little bit of old school Austin,” Franklin said about his restaurant. “We’re not changing.” (RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The only other Texas restaurant to make the list was fellow James Beard award-winner Hugo Ortega’s namesake restaurant in Houston. Check out the complete list of Eater’s Essential 38 here.

Bon Appetit names Austin restaurant #8 on list of 10 best new restaurants in America

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.

Brisket at Kemuri. (Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell)

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.

This isn’t the first national nod for the East Austin restaurant from the owners of Ramen Tatsu-Ya.  Kemuri took a spot on the Best New Restaurants list from GQ earlier this year, as well. And, of course, we raved about it with our review in March.


Bon Appetit’s list of 50 Best New Restaurants in America includes two Austin restaurants

The hits just keep on coming for the East Austin mash-up of izakaya and smokehouse and the all-day, wine-centric cafe on South Congress Avenue.


Kemuri Tatsu-Ya and June’s All Day earned spots on Bon Appetit’s list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America. They were the only two Texas restaurants to make the annual list. This after June’s landed a spot on a similar lists by Food & Wine earlier this year, as well as nabbing very positive reviews from the Statesman, and Kemuri took a spot on the Best New Restaurants list from GQ. Bon Appetit’s list of winners will be announced in the coming weeks.

Here’s what Bon Appetit had to say, in part, about Kemuri:

ASK ABOUT: the specials, or Kemuri-Osusume (“recommendations’). Some of the best things we ate came from this menu, including a rich crawfish chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) and “fries with eyes,” roe-filled smelt that are deep-fried.

And, of June’s:

GO HERE: to find out what our ideal wine bar looks (colorful! neon!) and tastes like (a little bit healthy, a little bit indulgent). Restaurateurs Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman have done it again (see also: Jeffrey’s and Clark’s Oyster Bar) combining smart, stylish settings with good food and vibes.

RELATED Statesman reviews:

Eater restaurant critic names Austin restaurant one of country’s 12 best new restaurants

Eater critic Bill Addison travels the country all year looking for the best the nation’s restaurants have to offer. His annual assessment of the best new restaurants in America this year includes a unique Austin restaurant that hybridizes Japanese and Central Texas traditions. When he first looked at the menu at the izakaya-smokehouse Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, Addison thought, “Welcome to Gimmick Town.”

Brisket at Kemuri. (Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell)

Then he tried the mash-up of East and West in dishes like octopus fritters with chili and poke with guacamole and thought, “Genius.” Read what else he had to say about the restaurant from chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya “Tako” Matsumoto. This is the second time this year that Kemuri has received praise from a national publication. GQ’s Brett Martin named it one of the country’s 10 best new restaurants in April.

Xochi, the new Oaxaca-inspired restaurant from recent James Beard winner Hugo Ortega of Houston, was the only other Texas restaurant to make the list.