Pot Luck

Three Houston Restaurants Top Bon Appetit's Best New Restaurant List

Oxheart, Uchi and Underbelly have a lot more to crow about after last week: The three restaurants -- two of which have received rare four-star ratings from Houston Chronicle food critic Alison Cook -- have been named to Bon Appétit's list of the nation's 50 best new restaurants.

Even more flattering: Andrew Knowlton, who compiled the list, called Houston "Texas' greatest food city" in his write-up of Oxheart. "Justin Yu and Karen Man's spectacular sliver of a restaurant celebrates Gulf Coast produce and seafood," noted Knowlton of the jewel box of a restaurant in downtown's Warehouse District.

Houston was the only Texas city to have three restaurants featured on Knowlton's list. Tim Love's new Woodshed Smokehouse was highlighted in Fort Worth along with Jason Maddy's Oak in Dallas and Lenoir and Elizabeth Street Cafe in Austin.

Moreover, Houston was the only city one of only two cities to have three restaurants noted on the list, tied with Portland, Oregon. It could be claimed that New York City had more -- but those restaurants were split: two in New York City proper and two in Brooklyn. Los Angeles, Austin, San Francisco and Chicago all had two restaurants featured apiece.

It looks like the rest of the nation is finally starting to catch up to what the rest of us in Houston have known for years: The Third Coast is on the rise.

Update: Bon Appetit just released its final list of the 10 best new restaurants of 2012, and Oxheart earned a spot at No. 8.

"The first time I visited Houston, it was for Vietnamese crayfish and Eastern European kolachke," writes Andrew Knowlton (side note: hehehe, "crayfish" and "kolachke.")

"But my most recent trip to Texas's best and most diverse food city (you heard me, Austin) was for high-wire dishes like heirloom potatoes roasted with vegetable ash in a restaurant whose unpretentious philosophy flips fine dining on its head."

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Katharine Shilcutt