A Toast to the Tastemakers
San Antonio's best restaurant and top chef crowned at 2022 Tastemaker Awards
If you've been following CultureMap this spring, you know that we've been celebrating San Antonio's restaurant and bar all-stars in anticipation of our annual Tastemaker Awards.
On Tuesday evening, we gathered with nominees and the San Antonio community at The Espee for our first-ever local tasting event and awards ceremony. Guests mixed, mingled, and sampled delectable dishes from participants prior to the awards ceremony, where this year's winners were revealed.
Our 2022 CultureMap San Antonio Tastemaker Awards winners are a perfect representation of the city's vibrant, eclectic, and delicious culinary scene. Meet them below and join us in raising a final toast to the Tastemakers.
Restaurant of the Year: 2M Smokehouse
The force behind this barbecue joint was a backyard griller long before the James Beard Awards noticed his fire. And that familial spirit still shines in pitmaster Esaul Ramos' food. The holy trinity of brisket, sausage, and ribs are done with just the right amount of bark and bite, no doubt perfected over years of get-togethers. The sides are a pachanga — macaroni with chicharrones, pickled nopales, and Mexican street corn.
Chef of the Year: Jason Dady, Jardín
No San Antonio chef has explored a broader range of flavors than hometown hero Jason Dady. Since opening his first restaurant in his 20s, the busy restaurateur has experimented with Spanish tapas (Bin 555), Asian fusion (Umai Mi), and Tuscan Italian (Tre Trattoria) in a city not often recognized for its cosmopolitan taste. His most recent venture, Jardín, planted at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, basks in the veggie-heavy fare of the Mediterranean. As always, his encyclopedic palate is right on point.
Bar of the Year: Bar 1919
There’s a reason barkeeps keep returning to the heady days around Prohibition. It was a time when cocktails had nuance before being assaulted with a riot of technicolor booze. Drink like a grownup at this Blue Star Arts Complex speakeasy where original creations hold up to the tried-and-true concoctions of yore. And bask in the soigné atmosphere — a reminder that imbibing can still be an elegant affair.
Best New Restaurant: Dashi Sichuan Kitchen & Bar
New from Sichuan House, one of the city’s most celebrated Chinese eateries, is Dashi Sichuan Kitchen & Bar, which aims to integrate the diversity and innovation of Sichuanese cuisine with a modern American-style dining experience. Dashi, which means “grand artist” in Chinese, is an appropriate moniker for this spirited gathering spot where familiar Chinese food favorites meet more adventurous ingredients in a bevy of family-style dishes.
Best Brewery: Dorćol Distilling & Brewing Co.
This long-running distillery is just as adept at making beer as it is spirits. Its High Wheel line features a quartet of easy sippers, mostly inspired by classic European styles like Belgian saisons or English porters. Although respectful of tradition, the team is comfortable mixing things up with newer trends, like the must-try 56, a West Coast-style IPA with notes of citrus, tropical fruit, and hefty pine.
Brandon Watson and Chantal Rice contributed to this story.