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; Lisa Astorga-Watel should not be worrying about standing in husband Damien’s shadow at her new Southtown boîte, Bite; though some dishes still need to find final form, her small-plate menu fills a void in Southtown’s ever-expanding restaurant pantheon. Starters such as octopus carpaccio and boquerones (Spanish anchovies) are fine; we expect to come to love bigger plates with lamb and duck as well.

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; On Sundays and Mondays, Hot Joy mostly evokes cries of hot damn with its inventive, Asian-esque dishes (we have loved the salt cod wontons and chicken wings with crab fat caramel, not so much the tofu offerings) and its quirky wine and beer list supplemented by a demented Riesling manifesto page offering off-the charts bottles and glasses of the outrageous elixir.

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; Chef Laurent Rea has put in his time at L’Etoile and Olmos Park Bistro; at his eponymous new place he can now shine on his own—and shine he does with a frequently changing menu informed by French technique but heavily influenced by local produce. Rea’s touch is subtle but sure. Desserts are bold and equally seductive.

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; As the CIA’s student-staffed flagship restaurant, Nao is intent on introducing to South Texas the flavors of a continent most of us know only through ceviches and caipirinhas; all of Latin America will eventually come under scrutiny, and the menu will change in response to the country currently in the spotlight. Expect unfamiliar ingredients, inventive preparations and to have your horizons expanded.

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; A Tempo is the fourth iteration of this restaurant in search of an identity. Talented chefs have come and gone, leaving a few dishes in their wake—some of which work. Most of the restaurant space does not.

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6 total results

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