Image courtesy of Kemuri Tatsu-ya.
It’s time to take advantage of those long, slow, Texas summer days. Hit up some of the city’s hottest new restaurants– (with company, of course), and cool down with delicious eats and ice-cold brews. And don’t worry— we have it on good authority that these places crank the AC to arctic. It’s time for the Austin Hit List; grab a seat.
Because the food here goes way, way beyond fusion. Born in Japan and relocated to Texas as a kid, chef Aikawa developed his izakaya-influenced smokehouse grub as an endearing form of biographical cooking. The (standout) result is brisket smoked alongside non-traditional meats, delicious smoked fish, and lots of it—mackerel, eel, and fish collar. Kemuri takes its flavors beyond the smokehouse, too, with takoyaki doused in chili cheese sauce, sticky rice tamales, and yuzu pecan pie. //Holly. Book now at Kemuri Tatsu-Ya.
Because fresh off a sky-high 9-out-of-10 review from the Statesman’s Matthew Odam, Phil Speer and company are killing it with their French riff on the all-American diner. Come for the pommes rosti; stay for the banana split profiteroles. And don’t skip the burger. //Allandale. Book now at Bonhomie.
Because the name doesn’t lie. This restaurant is one gorgeous buildout from Greig-Percy Collaborative, and the food’s not too shabby either. Chef Max Snyder riffs on Texas favorites, including chicken (fried and barbecue), smoked beef rib, and more. (They also do breakfast.) //Holly. (512)494-4593
4/Juliet Italian Kitchen
Because this Barton Springs favorite has a whole new vibe. After a brief hiatus for light renovations, Juliet has been reborn as Juliet Italian Kitchen, with an emphasis on Italian-American cooking. Entrees are available in family-sized portions, so grab the whole gang. //Barton Springs. Book now at Juliet Italian Kitchen.
Because the historic Celis Brewery is back in Austin, thanks to Christine Celis, daughter of the celebrated late brewer Pierre Celis. The star of the show is the beer, including the famous Celis White, but the bar – converted from a giant copper kettle – is a close second. //North Central. Walk-ins only.
Because it’s the latest entry into Austin’s quiet tapas boom. El Chipiron is light, bright, and serves a tapas prix-fixe menu with a side of gin and tonic. Salud, South Austin! //South Lamar. (512)945-8157
7/Don Japanese Kitchen
Because the favorite food truck has gone brick-and-mortar. After the truck attracted a steady stream of revelers willing to queue for Don Japanese’s donburi bowls (before they sold out!), its expansion is more-than-welcome. //West Campus. Walk-ins only.
Because the oldest operating beer garden in Texas has a fresh new menu. Frankly—pun intended—there’s no better match for revamping the German-ish cuisine at Scholz than local sausagery Frank; think brats, schnitzel, burgers, and more. //Capitol area. (512)474-1958
Because more pizza and beer is always a good thing. New York-style slices and pies are on the menu, as are Italian comfort favorites like eggplant Parm, baked ziti, and deli sandwiches. Try “Nonna’s Spaghetti-O’s”– packed with meatballs, cheese, and tiny o’s of anelletti pasta—much nicer than the canned stuff. //Round Rock. Walk-ins only.
Because that sushi goes right round, baby, right round. Austin’s only conveyor-belt sushi is great for a lark—and the sushi’s a steal for the price. But don’t get too distracted by the never-ending sushi train—the hot food, ordered on a screen, hits the spot, too. //Crestview. Walk-ins only.