For a passport to Thailand in Texas head to Jack Nuchjasem’s CrushCraft. Chef Nuchjasem is channeling the flavors he loved growing up near Bangkok into his authentic dishes. “That’s one of the best curries I have ever had,” Guy said after tasting the Green Thai Curry.
Chef Omar Flores is dishing out comfort food with a Southern spin and making some seriously crispy fried chicken at Whistle Britches. The Hot Dang is their Nashville-style hot chicken served on thick Texas toast, with cool dill ranch and house-made pickles. Their chicken and waffles are served with a drizzle of jalapeno hot honey, house-made sausage gravy and a wedge of watermelon. “That’s wrong in so many ways that it makes it right,” Guy said of the dish.
Guy’s been to more BBQ joints than most people so when one impresses him it’s worth trying. Chef and Owner Kyle St. Clair’s brisket was so tender that Guy remarked, “You don’t even need a knife; you can cut that with a bad look.” Have it on the Spicy Brisket Sandwich which is layered on a brioche bun with a roasted poblano, in-house smoked cheddar, pickles and red onion.
Chef Jesus Carmona is serving up real-deal Tijuana street tacos and more in Dallas. His grilled octopus tacos are topped with a spicy pesto salsa and cooled with avocado and cheese. The chef was inspired to make his signature Mole Fries by a vendor selling potato chips dipped in mole. His version substitutes crispy fries topped with house-made mole, crema fresca and cotija cheese. “I came here for tacos, I’ll come back for the fritas,” gushed Guy.
Chef Matt Pikar’s restaurant is the first Afghan place Guy has visited on DDD. The cuisine is redolent of spices like turmeric, cardamom and saffron. Guy loved the tender lamb shanks served over fragrant basmati rice and topped with raisins, carrots, pistachios and slivered almonds. The Kofta Chalao, Afghan meatballs, were another feast of spice and flavor.
At Tutta’s there’s a pizza for every appetite but they’re known for their smoked-meat topped creations. The Texan features smoked brisket topped with their house-made barbeque sauce, red onions, pepperoncini peppers and melted mozzarella cheese.
This bakery in San Antonio aims to transport you back to Mexico City circa 1950. The Mexico City-raised owners Jose Cáceres and David Cáceres are cranking out authentic bread and pastries like Guy has never had. Guy’s sons join him to make the bakery’s best seller, the Tequila-Almond Croissants.
Guy wasn’t prepared for the depth of authenticity he would experience at Cuchara. The real-deal Mexican flavors and attention to detail permeated every dish. He raved about the four-color handmade tortillas and the tacos chelo, potato-stuffed tacos topped with tangy green salsa, calling them “one of the top 10 tacos” he has ever had. He left calling it “an outrageous experience.”
Home Slice draws the Austin crowds with its New York-style pizzas, which have proven to be so popular that the joint sells 1,000 pies daily. Fans include Tim Love, who frequents the spot for its pepperoni and white slices. Home Slice’s pepperoni pie is slathered with a rich layer of tomato sauce, dusted with oregano, then hit with a flurry of Parmesan, provolone and mozzarella cheeses before being finished with perfect rounds of pepperoni. The white pizza features a layer of provolone and mozzarella cheeses studded with chopped garlic, mounds of baked ricotta cheese and heaps of blanched spinach. “It tastes like the most amazing sauteed spinach you’ve ever had in your life,” Love says.
Chef-Owner Terron Henry delivers an authentic taste of his native Jamaica with spice-laden dishes that sing with traditional island flavors. Guy said the curried goat will make a convert out of anyone. “That is some of the most tender, flavorful and balanced curried goat I’ve ever had,” Guy declared after tucking into the meat. Henry marinates the goat with a heat-packed blend of housemade wet jerk and Madras curry powder, then cooks the meat in a seasoned curry sauce studded with carrots, onions and potatoes. A trio of sides (rice, cabbage and plantains) round out the plate. The exquisitely seasoned oxtails are another popular pick.
Husband-and-wife team Marcello and Pelusa Marini have perfected the art of the fried pastries that are a staple of their home country. They opened their first restaurant back in 1971 after immigrating to the United States from Argentina, and continue to draw the crowds today with their homemade empanadas. The menu is crowded with dozens of options stuffed with fillings both sweet and savory, but for a taste of an Argentinean classic, Guy recommends the beef gaucho empanada. The ground beef is artfully seasoned, layered with olives and then enveloped in a light and airy dough before being plunged into the deep fryer.
Chef-Owner Raymond Aker combines two seemingly disparate cuisines — sushi and barbecue — to make distinctive dishes that sing with bold, bright flavors. Take the surf-and-turf roll, for instance. The rice-wrapped roll is stuffed with snow crab, tempura-battered shrimp and avocado, then topped with a hefty slice of smoked brisket and spicy jalapeno slivers. The dish comes drenched in a wasabi-laced dressing that Guy says balances out the flavors. Also try the crisp, golden fries that come heaped with two Korean classics: bulgogi and kimchi.
Even in a state full of barbecue joints, this one stands out for its Big Mac Daddy. Layer upon layer of pulled pork and brisket are heaped onto a 24-inch bun, then loaded with sausage links, smothered with 2 kinds of sauces and crowned with 4 scoops of meat-studded macaroni and cheese for a seven-pound behemoth.
Valentina's manages to excel at both classic barbecue meats and Mexican staples like carnitas and fajitas. Make it there before 11 a.m. to enjoy The Real Deal Holyfield, one of the city's most-decadent culinary experiences and one that’s likely to knock you out for the rest of your day. The fried egg, beans, potato, bacon and tomato-serrano salsa are a meal unto themselves, but the dish enters a new realm of gluttony with a thick slice of fatty brisket.
Prince Lebanese Grill channels the flavors of the Mediterranean, with familiar classics such as falafel, shawarma and tabbouleh, and some things you may have never tried before. You must get the Middle Eastern Breakfast Pizza made with za'atar — a spice blend pesto pasted on a warmed pita.