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East Dallas chefs, restaurant semifinalists for James Beard Awards

January 26th, 2023

Tatsu Dallas in the Continental Gin Building is a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for best new restaurant. Photo by Renee Umsted.

Three neighborhood restaurants are being recognized by the James Beard Foundation.

The foundation released this week its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists for the James Beard Awards, which are considered some of the most prestigious honors in the culinary industry. Semifinalists are named for 23 categories, including the Award for Outstanding Bakery, which is new this year. Oak Cliff’s Kuluntu Bakery was one of two Texas bakeries to make the list.

Junior Borges of Meridian, a Brazilian restaurant in The Village, is a semifinalist in the outstanding chef category. The award is given to “a chef who sets high culinary standards and has served as a positive example for other food professionals, while contributing positively to the broader community,” according to the press release announcing the semifinalists.

Meridian opened in May 2021 and was featured in Texas Monthly for having some of the best dishes at any restaurant in the state in 2022. Borges helped produce the 2021 edition of Cooking at Home Through the Seasons, a cookbook sold to benefit Dallas 24 Hour Club.

Regino Rojas, the chef at Revolver Taco Lounge, is a semifinalist for the award given to the best chef. Rojas was also a semifinalist for this award in 2022 and 2020.

The best chef award is given to “chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities, and who are making efforts to help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions while contributing positively to their broader community,” the press release says.

Tatsu Dallas, located inside the Continental Gin Building in Deep Ellum, is a semifinalist in the best new restaurant category. The 10-seat omakase sushi restaurant that opened in 2022 is included in the category because it “already demonstrates excellence in cuisine, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations while contributing positively to its broader community, and seems likely to make a significant impact in years to come,” according to the press release.

Nominees will be announced March 29, and winners will be celebrated at a ceremony June 5.


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