GQ correspondent and restaurant critic Brett Martin debuted his 10 Best New Restaurants in America list today, his second for the magazine, and Austin izakaya-smokehouse hybrid Kemuri Tatsu-ya made the list. Martin loved the “surreal pastiche of Japanese-Texan kitsch, a saloon out of a Quentin Tarantino fever dream.” Among the food he praised, the chili-cheese takoyaki, which perfectly captures the spirit of the Texas-Japanese mash-up.

Brisket at Kemuri. (Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Martin’s piece isn’t just a rote list. It offers a narrative about the state of dining in America right now (as well as the state of America).  One of my favorite anecdotes from Martin is about the hive-mindedness of restaurants:

My brother, who is a doctor but also an expert backyard smoker, has long mused about leaving medicine behind to open a combination pastrami/ice cream stand. This year a pop-up serving exactly that opened. Two blocks from his house. In the back of a sex shop.

For the complete list, head to

For my recent review of Kemuri Tatsu-ya, head here.