It’s easy enough to argue that Texas’ food scene hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves on the national stage, or at least that’s the way it used to be. Now, it appears as if Houston is rapidly becoming Texas’ – and perhaps the country’s – best dining destination.
Times correspondent (and Texan) Robert Draper penned a glowing survey of Houston’s restaurant scene, making sure to assure East Coast readers that his point of view wasn’t just simply Texas braggadocio:
With full recognition that [Texans] credibility is suspect, I nonetheless come today to proclaim Houston one of the great eating capitals of America. I mean (and here I mount the mechanical bull) far better than anywhere else in Texas, better than anywhere else in the Southwest, better for that matter than in my current place of residence, Washington, D.C. That the nation’s fourth-largest city is no longer one gigantic steak platter for oil barons should not constitute breaking news. One can go on about the city’s indigenous assets, such as its array of Gulf Coast ingredients and its surprising multiculturalism.
Anyone who’s ever been to Houston can confirm Draper’s assessment, but it’s nice to see the city get some attention on such a massive scale. Specifically, Draper calls out some of Houston’s more hidden gems, like Pax Americana, Helen Greek Food & Wine, and BCN Taste & Tradition. Surprisingly, though, James Beard nominee Justin Yu’s Oxheart didn’t make the cut.
Back in 2013, New York Times food critic Pete Wells reviewed Oxheart and Chef Chris Shepherd's Underbelly, noting that the restaurants make Houston one of the “country’s most exciting places to eat.” Fortunately, that’s a fact that has only continued to become more true. And one that Houstonians have long been well aware of.