DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya turns dining into an Austin show, where you do some of the work.
DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya's seating is essentially broken down into wood pods stretching the length of the room.
San Antonio's The Jerk Shack is as low key as it gets. And it's also one of the Best New Restaurants in America.
What the restaurant world will look like post coronavirus is still to be determined. One thing clear though is that Texas will help lead the way.
GQ magazine is revealing the Best New Restaurants in America 2020 in its new May issue — and two innovative Lone Star State spots make the very curated list of 16. California is the only state to land more restaurants on this prestigious sweet 16. The two Texas standouts — Austin’s DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya and San Antonio’s The Jerk Shack — bring very different vibes.
But they both met GQ restaurant critic Brett Martin’s idea of where dining is going. That’s away from things like a “private hoagie omakase tasting room (yes, that’s a real restaurant concept in Philadelphia, The Hoagie Room) to a more casual (and sane) scene. Martin wrote his piece after the sweeping coronavirus pandemic restaurant shutdowns began and declares “as it happens, the future has arrived, ahead of schedule.”
DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya may be the rare Uber Eats proof meal in this new world. For this Austin mecca — the latest Japanese-Texan mashup from Tatsu Aikawa‘s team — is all about the experience. Each spot is outfitted with its own induction burner, shelves to hold ingredients, an hourglass timer and more. It’s all so you can cook your own shabu-shabu right where you’re sitting.
These traditional hotpot dishes of thinly-sliced meats and vegetables go to another level with Texas Wagyu and pot pocket dumplings made of Kurobuta pork at DipDipDip Tastu-Ya. There is even a roving meatball attendant who will drop meatballs into your broth. Now, that’s tasty showmanship.
The Jerk Shack brings a decidedly different atmosphere, though an equally fun one. There is a walkup window, picnic tables and arguably the best jerk chicken you’ll ever taste. Its cooked by a Culinary Institute of America graduate who also happens to be a U.S. Army veteran. In fact, Lattioa Massey and her husband Cornelius Massey, who helps run the restaurant, are both Army vets.
The rousing success of The Jerk Shack is allowing the Masseys to open a new restaurant in the trendy, upscale setting of The Pearl, the mixed-use land that even Charles Barkley has crowed about. Mi Roti will be centered around Caribbean flatbreads stuffed with fillings — and everything will be to-go. That’s a spot that should work in these coronavirus times.
Gilded dining rooms are not always required. But, as this list of America’s best restaurants proves, Texas ingenuity always will be.