Houston's culinary clout just keeps growing.
On Tuesday, several local restaurants learned they were included among this year's James Beard Award semi-finalists--the Oscars of the nation's dining industry.
Justin Yu's Oxheart on the north end of Downtown and Chris Shepherd's Underbelly in Montrose are up for Best New Restaurant. Yu was also nominated for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Shepherd, Uchi's Tyson Cole and Hugo Ortega of Hugo's are semi-finalists for Best Chef in the Southwest. Anvil Bar & Refuge is also being considered for the Outstanding Bar Program award and Goode Company Restaurants' Levi Good is a semi-finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur.
The semi-finalists will be whittled down to a short list of finalists next month. The James Beard Awards will be held May 6 in New York.
Two of those restaurateurs got a double dose of praise Tuesday--both Uchi Houston and Oxheart were named among the 12 Outstanding Restaurants of 2013 by GQ magazine. Only one other city, Brooklyn, garnered two places on the much-lauded list.