2009's Top Ten Best New Restaurants in America
Today's most exciting restaurants have a lot in common. They represent the new standard: simple, satisfying local food—all served with zero pretense. They support local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and regional cuisine.
There's only one thing on the walls of Olivia: a Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings concert poster that chef James Holmes's grandfather gave to him. The image—two groundbreaking country music legends from Texas—captures the spirit of this sophisticated yet laid-back spot. The restaurant's clean art-gallery-esque interior really shows off the poster—and Chef Holmes's food. He gathers his culinary inspiration from (and in) his backyard vegetable garden. The resulting menu includes produce-based dishes like risotto made with squash and greens, and spinach-potato gnocchi with olives and tomatoes. Holmes is also fond of riffs on comfort-food classics, like spaghetti cooked in red wine and the milk-braised pork shoulder here. The diverse clientele—a tattooed musician on his way to a show or an operagoer dressed to the nines—only adds to Olivia's considerable charm.
The locals didn't have much faith in Feast, a British-style gastropub with a menu that includes bubble and squeak, black pudding, and tons of offal. "They told us that we must put steak on the menu or we wouldn't make it. This is Texas, after all," says co-owner Meagan Silk. Despite the skeptics, Silk, her husband, James, and their friend Richard Knight decided to press on. And it's a good thing they did. Today, the restaurant—and its Brit-centric menu—is a huge hit. For the offal novices, we chose this recipe, which makes good use of beef neck bones and pig's feet. Try it. We promise that it's delicious.