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First Look: Purist’s Dream Takes Shape at Gwendolyn

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Chef/owner Michael Sohoki of Gwendolyn.

The restaurant Gwendolyn opened last week in the location vacated by Le Rêve, at 152 E. Pecan St.

Le Rêve was chef Andrew Weissman’s dream. It gained national renown and established his reputation before he closed it in October of 2009.

Now, chef/owner Mike Sohoki, who worked with Weissman at Le Rêve during its last months, and at Il Sogno, Weissman’s new restaurant at the Pearl, has returned to Pecan Street.  The Culinary Institute of America alum also was the chef for two years at The Cove, 606 W. Cypress St.

At 31, Sohoki exhibits a passion that is similar to that of his former boss, Weissman, but exacting on his own terms. The restaurant is focused on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, and on making all of the food, like the sausages and breads, in house. But his “old school”  approach means he is not using the power tools of the modern kitchen: no machinery, nothing with a motor, says the chef. He doesn’t even have a freezer.

“See this kale,” said Sohoki, holding up a bowl full of chopped, dark greens. “It was picked fresh this morning.” Everything comes in fresh, says the chef, and all is sourced within a 150-mile radius of San Antonio.

Roast chicken breast on French lentils at Gwendolyn.

Sohoki had a smattering of customers when we stopped in at lunchtime Thursday — folks who had gotten the early word about Gwendolyn’s opening. He and his staff fussed over plates of seared chicken breast over a French lentil stew, garnished with sprigs of fresh thyme, and tended to sauces bubbling on the stove.

Gwendolyn is just open for lunches as this time. The dinner meals will be announced later. Lunches are casual; dinners will be fine dining.

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3 Responses to “First Look: Purist’s Dream Takes Shape at Gwendolyn”

  1. Selina says:

    I was very excited to visit Gwendolyn this past Friday for lunch and I have to say–was extremely impressed with the food I had. The meals use simple ingredients but are very well prepared and so wonderfully flavorful. The service was great and I look forward to going there again very soon.

  2. Jeremy says:

    I recently had the pleasure of eating lunch at Gwendolyn and was both surprised and pleased with the amount of care and attention to detail that was put into my meal. I started with the roasted Chioggia beet salad which was fresh, earthy and perfectly dressed. I followed that with braised leg of lamb and rice pilaf with wheat berries this dish was so good I wanted to curl up and snuggle with it. I finished with an old favorite, strawberry shortcake which was , lite, fresh, and beautifully presented. The wait staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. Chef Michael Sohoki even came out to see how we liked our meal. I would say that this was one of the best meals I’ve had in San Antonio. Restaurant Gwendolyn, honest food, impeccably prepared, great service, enough said.

    • It all looked good, and I know I’ll be back soon to try some of the chef’s dishes. He built his reputation at The Cove, so we are anticipating another success for him at Gwendolyn. Thanks for checki8ng in, Jeremy.