Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana for fine dining, we went the other evening for Dia de los muertos, food and service were wonderful. For near-fine dining ; Ellerbe’s is wonderful. The rest of my favorite spots in town are a bit more… down home. For tried and true West Texas; try the Calf Fries and tenderloin tamales at Reata. Paco and John’s for breakfast; the migas are wonderful. For lunch, Esperanza’s; a ceviche appetizer and a chicken gordita. I have to agree about Shinjuku Station.
Lord, I wish we had a place that served excellent BBQ, but as you can see form my name, any place not related to Louie Mueller’s is difficult to justify. That said, the best brisket in town is new ; Billy’s Oak Acres BBQ on Las Vegas Trail. Take friends, drink beer in the backyard. It is one of the few places with sides that are more just great.
Cochineal. Period. Full stop. Best breakfast ...ever.. If I was allowed, I am there for every meal. For "not on the fine dining list" ; Food Shark is fun and good. If you are going to the McDonald observatory (you should go to the star show) , the snack bar is stunningly good... really .. Pizza Foundation. You will want to pack road food from the Get Go Grocery: if you are going east, once you have driven past Reata (Alpine) there is nothing ... really.
By all means, a detour to Breaux Bridge is in order. Cafe des Amis is lovely. Couchon is so good in NOLA, I am sure the outpost in Lafayette is superb... When you are leaving NOLA, take Highway 90, a cooler and ice; stop at the Fish Market @ 100 Westbank Expy, Westwego, LA and pick up some fresh crab and shrimp to cook at home. The market is not much to look at....
Great for the chops and sirloin, disappointing if you want brisket. The meat is cooked so fast only the lean meats turn out well. It's about the meat indeed. To me, the brisket fat should be melted by the time it is served. The brisket was very fat. No effort to trim it before weighing it. The pit man said "it's not BBQ without sauce" . Kinda sad thing to say if it all about the meat. Obviously he had never been to Smitty's in Lockhart where sauce is not used and not needed. I saw how he was cutting it, and asked for "a couple of inches of brisket"..he said "you want a 1/4 or a 1/2 lb?". Why would he ask that? I don't know... a couple of inches/ slices. The lean meats were pretty good. The chop is the only thing I will ever order now. The links were like salamis; firm and not much good. They served the meat directly on to the red plastic trays. A perfectly good piece of butcher paper seems to be more than they can trust the pit man with. The people away from the pit are nice. My dog was happy. She got the fat brisket when I got home. There is enough fat left to serve her some Monday and Tuesday.