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Texas Monthly spotlights 7 Austin dishes, desserts and drinks you have to eat now

Lutie's garden hand rolls made the list. (Lutie's/Instagram)

The 21st edition of Texas Monthly’s annual Where to Eat Now survey, which highlights favorite dishes from around the state, is out now and highlighting seven crispy, decadent and boozy delights from Austin restaurants.


Organized by Texas Monthly veteran and Pat’s Pick columnist Patricia Sharpe, this year’s edition of Where to Eat Now follows in the footsteps of last year by featuring favorite dishes, instead of favorite new restaurants.

Houston took the gold with eight dishes mentioned, Austin and Dallas tied with seven, and Fort Worth and San Antonio followed closely behind with five restaurants mentioned. In order to be considered, each of the restaurants had to have opened between Dec. 1, 2020, and Dec. 1, 2021.


​Panisse With Pecorino and Black Pepper at Birdie’s | 2944 E. 12th St.

Run by husband-and-wife duo Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel and Arjav Ezekiel, Sharpe highlighted Birdie’s panisse, or chickpea fritters. Birdie’s makes the fritters crunchy on the outside, “light as a soufflé” on the inside and topped with grated pecorino romano and black pepper.

​Garden Hand Rolls at Lutie’s | 4100 Red River St.

Another husband-and-wife team, Lutie’s made the list for its garden hand rolls. Made with paper-thin sheets of daikon radishes, the rolls are stuffed with carrot, zucchini and avocado before being cut into “coins” and served with some cucumber basil aioli while you overlook the gardens of the restored Commodore Perry Estate.

Grilled Yellowtail Carpaccio at Sammie’s Italian | 807 W. 6th St.

The new, yet still familiar, Sammie’s Italian will serve you all the Italian comfort foods—like chicken parmigiana and ravioli bolognese—but the dish chosen to feature the restaurant is its new-age yellowtail carpaccio. Topped with crushed pistachios, mint leaves and fish roe, the dish is exactly what you would expect from an MML Hospitality joint.

Lavraki at Simi Estiatorio | 601 Congress Ave.

Put together by New York restaurateur George Theodosiou, Simi Estiatorio is known for its seafood and Mediterranean meals. You may catch a glimpse of some live lobsters when you walk in, but the dish that took the Greek-inspired restaurant to the top is its Lavraki: a whole branzino fish, grilled and then oven-finished, topped with herbs and capers.

Black Cake at Canje | 1914 E. 6th St.

Described by Sharpe as the “love child” between a British plum pudding and American fruitcake who got “rip-roaring drunk,” Canje’s black cake is doused in rum and brandy and topped with a cream cheese frosting. The chef and co-owner Tavel Bristol-Joseph also owns Austin restaurants Hestia and Emmer & Rye.

​Belgian Chocolate Tartufo at J. Carver’s Oyster Bar & Chop House | 509 Rio Grande St.

Steak and seafood restaurant J. Carver’s really shines when it comes to dessert. Chosen for its Belgian chocolate Tartufo, which is made of chocolate mousse, meringue and pieces of dark chocolate, it makes for a sharable end to the meal.

​Slurping Bastard at Tiki Tatsu-Ya | 1300 S. Lamar Blvd.

Yet another version of Ramen Tatsu-Ya chef Tatsu Aikawa’s unstoppable ventures, Tiki Tatsu-Ya has funky cocktails down. According to Sharpe, ordering a cocktail here is an exciting feat, often coming with billowing smoke from dry ice and flowers to decorate. The Slurping Bastard, a play on the Suffering Bastard, is gin-and-brandy-based with a touch of shochu liquor and plum-based drinking vinegar.

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