EaDo continues to grow in dining destinations. Tiny Champions from the fun folks at Nancy’s Hustle has recently opened, which should be both quite enjoyable and a much-needed expression of pizza in this quality-pizza-deprived metropolis. And, Justin Vann, formerly of the terrific wine and whisky bar and recent Covid casualty, Public Services, is seemingly aiding the effort with the team, which provides even more reason to visit.
Xin Chao, too, needs a visit sooner than later. I’ve enjoyed Christine Ha’s personal and somewhat inventive offerings downtown at the Blind Goat in downtown’s Bravery Chef Hall. Further west down Washington Avenue, Ronnie Killen opened a new spot not far from my office, consistently named Killen’s. I haven’t been to the office since early March, but it is nice to know that option exists whenever it is safe to return there. With a menu of heart-stopping local favorites, I’m certain to love the place if just the few barbecue dishes are near the caliber of the influential Pearland spot.
I’ve mostly been visiting more humble, and inexpensive and convenient, places in my daily quest for food and desire to support local eateries. Several of the new ones I have checked out have been fine, though nothing really to rave about – except just maybe Baguette & Tea for banh mi – much less include in a best newcomer list. Maybe these will improve with time and experience, as can happen.
The reason I won’t have a list is that there is no way to accurately judge – and more so, enjoy – a restaurant in the current situation, especially for me who needs to be much more careful than most. When taken away from the restaurant and eaten at home necessarily loses a good amount in transit, as there is always fair amount of time between preparation and consumption that you don’t have when dining at there. That the food is likely less than the chef’s intended temperature, and is likely suffered at least a bit from jostles of the road. It won’t be as attractive, seductive; plating in Styrofoam doesn’t really exist. Not just the taste or look of the food, but the rest of the restaurant experience is missing: the décor, the atmosphere, the buzz, the people-watching, the banter with fellow diners and staff, the inventive cocktails – my home-bartending skills certainly pale in comparison with those found at most of my favorite places Mostly, the company of your immediate dining companions, family and friends, in a suitable setting outside the home.
The great and really good new Houston restaurants of 2020 will have to wait until next year to be correctly judged. Please pick up meals from them and others, though.
Maybe not the best choice, but was enjoyable for that lunch from a newcomer.