Archive | August 17th, 2011

Get an Appetite! Restaurant Week is all this Week.

Get an Appetite! Restaurant Week is all this Week.

Pecan-crusted Fried Chicken at Citrus featured during Restaurant Week, 2010.

Sample some of San Antonio’s most exciting restaurant fare during Restaurant Week, which starts Saturday and runs through Aug. 27.  Sponsored by Culinaria, this delectable deal comes with specially priced menus of $15 for lunch and $35 for dinner.

Reservations are not required, but you are encouraged to do so if you wish. Make them directly with the restaurants of your choice. The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills is getting a head start by offering its prix fixe meals already. Kirby’s Steakhouse, meanwhile, is extended its special through Sept. 3.

A few of the participating restaurants include Antlers Lodge, Auden’s Kitchen, Bin 555, Bolo’s Rotisserie Grill, the Esquire Tavern, the JW Marriott’s 18 Oaks and Cibolo Moon, Ruth’s Chris, Texas de Brazil, and Tost. Go to Culinaria’s website for the full list. Here are some of the specials you’ll be able to enjoy:

Fig Tree Restaurant, 515 Villita St.

The special menu begins with a Caprese salad of burrata, baby tomatoes and arugula or Gazpacho Andaluz prepared tableside. The main course is a choice of braised short rib with polenta and wild mushrooms or Wahoo Façon Provençal with eggplant caviar, tomatoes and Niçoise olives. Dessert is a choice of chocolate macaron with hazelnut gelato or Macedoine de Fruit Tropicaux. Call 210-224-1976 for reservations.

Kirby’s Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E.

Restaurant Week special at Kirby’s will run Aug. 20-Sept. 3.

The menu opens with an optional additional course that can be had for $7 extra:  Grilled Maine Day Boat Scallops with Watercress & Charred Pineapple Green Chili Salsa. The special Restaurant Week menu begins with your choice of the following: Hudson Valley Duck Confit and Pan-seared Foie Gras with a Blackberry Veal Stock Reduction or  Maryland-style Crab Cake with Classic Sauce Beurre Blanc. Main course options include 5-ounce Peppered Center Cut Tenderloin with the Signature Cognac Pepper Sauce;  Australian Rack of Lamb with Shiitake Mushroom Veal Demi;  Hickory-smoked Berkshire Pork Chop with a Bacon Maple Hotel Butter;  Grilled Alaskan Halibut with Grilled Asparagus and an Artichoke Cream Sauce;  Filet Oscar with Asparagus and Classic Sauce Béarnaise.  All entrees served with Susie’s Famous Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Sautéed Vegetables. Dessert choices include Grand Marnier Crème Brûlée,  Kirby’s Chocolate Spice Cake and Key Lime Pie.  For reservations,  210-404-2221.

The Lodge Restaurant at Castle Hills, 1746 Lockhill Selma Road

The Lodge is already offering its Restaurant Week prix fixe dinner menu:

First course: Pan-seared Diver Scallop with Deconstructed ‘Bloody Mary’,  Celery Root Agnolotti, Charred Heirloom Tomato Coulis, Spring Radish, Preserved Lemon and Picholine Olives; Second course: Choice of Pan-roasted Duck Breast with Yuzu-Carrot Purée, Brussels Sprouts, Wild Mushroom, House-cured Guanciale and Smoked Peach-Bourbon Jus OR Forbidden Rice-crusted Hawaiian Wahoo with Yukon Mousseline, Ginger “Fried” Cauliflower and Coconut Broth. Third course: Choice of Nutella Torte with Housemade Caramel, Peanut Butter Mousse and Hazelnut Nougat or Key Lime Pie Tart with Vanilla Chantilly and Coconut Meringue. For reservations, call 210-349-8466.

Max’s Wine Dive, 340 E. Basse Road

The special lunch menu includes Cauliflower Velouté with fried cheese curd dipsticks; a choice of Pulled Crab Tamale with tomato marmalade and roasted sweet red pepper créme fraîche;  Fredericksburg Dog with pickled red cabbage, house-made German mustard and Max’s frites; or  Alamo City Prime Rib Sando with Max’s chips. Dessert is White Chocolate and Butterscotch Crème Brûlée. The dinner special includes Pulled Crab Tamale, followed by choice of Pumpkin Gnocchi with brown beurre meunier;  Chicken with Butternut Risotto; or Ahi Tuna ($7 upgrade) with ginger-scallion-shiitake rice cake and soy wasabi butter. Dessert is White Chocolate and Butterscotch Crème Brûlée. Call 210-444-9547.

The Shops at La Cantera, 15900 La Cantera Parkway

Participating restaurants in the Shops include Brio’s Tuscan Grille, Grimaldi’s, Kona Grill, The Yard House and Z Tejas Southwestern Grill. If you spend $100, you can redeem dining receipts at Customer Service in the mall management office to receive a $20 Shop Etc. gift card. One gift card per person and recipient must be 18 or older, ID required. Available through Aug. 27 while supplies last.  Reservations are preferred.


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Calypso Rotisserie Rocks Caribbean Flavor

Calypso Rotisserie Rocks Caribbean Flavor

The first thing we noticed about Calypso Rotisserie was color. Vibrant, saturated color is incorporated into the logo to dishes and menus and interior. We always take it as a good sign when the proprietors invest in a stylish, cohesive look.

Next came our thought, ever hopeful, that love of good design might actually mean that the same care went into the kitchen, food and training of cooks. More times than we’d like, we are disappointed.  But at Calypso Rotisserie we were not.

Lively seasoning mixes sizzle on these roasting chickens at Calypso Rotisserie.

The restaurant, just north of Loop 1604 on Bandera Road, is modest in size. You walk up to the counter to order. In this way it resembles fast food, and in fact, our food came quickly to the table after we’d ordered. But it seems to have a meat market feel to it as well. Come in, grab one of the succulent rotisserie chickens, or a couple of the caveman-size beef ribs, a side dish or two, then take your booty back to the den.

A salad bar, though, invites one to stay, as do tables and chairs — comfy and not crowded together. The servers, clad in a bright, apple green, are friendly and swift. We had a small serving of perfectly seasoned mashed black beans, topped with a little white cheese and chips, set down moments after we settled at our table with drinks.

The menu is posted over the ordering counter, and you can see the cooks at work through the kitchen window.

Hungry eyes will immediately go to the large rotisseire,. You can choose from three optional seasonings, the original, honey-pineapple barbecue and Jamaican jerk.  That big, nicely seasoned chicken, with two large sides, costs just under $20. But we’d say the bird would easily feed a family of four, and maybe offer a few leftovers. Five bucks per person isn’t that steep.

Caramelized Plantains

We haven’t tried the pulled pork or pulled chicken yet. We will definitely be going back to do so, though. The restaurant offers “group meals” with a menu that prices chicken by the piece, and the Island Pork by the half pound, short ribs by the piece, and pulled chicken or pork by the half pound.

Calypso's seasoned, roasted potato wedges a great side dish.

The kids’ menu recommends serving the “smart meal” with black beans, steamed broccoli and water. Well, fat chance on that water thing, and probably the steamed broccoli. There is a full list of soft drinks (including Mexican Coke and Barq’s Root Beer) to choose from. Plus, I can’t see any self-respecting child not demanding the wonderful, tender roasted potato wedges, these also heartily seasoned.

Other healthful options include gluten-free bread, as requested and “all natural” beef, pork and chicken (hormone, antibiotic free).

While the spicy jerk seasonings, and a side of jerk sauce that we ended up pouring over our black beans, were really delicious on our chicken, the highlight of my lunch was the Cuban sandwich.

Cuban Sandwich at Calypso, sliced roast pork, ham and cheese, pressed and served hot.

I once raced through the Miami airport as I awaited a connecting flight to Jamaica, to find a certain sandwich concession that I’d read about. That Cuban sandwich was worth all the hassle — it was close to perfection.

The one at Calypso Rotisserie comes in a very close second. I think the bread at the airport had more flavor and was pressed with a flat grill rather than the ridged panini grill used by Calypso. But these are more observations than complaints. The tender slices of roast pork included a nice trim of fat pressed with tasty spices. The ham was tender, the cheese, pickle and mustard were just right — these may be bit players in a good Cuban, but they also need to be right.

Jerk Chicken plate includes sides of potato wedges, sauce and Tropical Slaw.

After lunch, we decided to buy dinner as well and take it home with us. That meant refrigerating it, then reheating, which probably isn’t optimal with this fresh-off-the-rotisserie food. But, the slabs of sliced Island Pork were fork tender and bounteously seasoned. We tried the Pineapple Coconut Rice, Caramelized Plantains and the Crispy Tropical Slaw as well.  I loved the coconut rice, which had a colorful mix of confetti-cut vegetables in it and a rich coconut flavor. The slaw, made of mango, cucumber and jicama was refreshingly not overdressed. The plantains were firm and not overly sweet, but good.

Finally, the beef short rib was an impressively sized hank of bone, with a lot of tender meat. That meat came easily off the bone in tender, well-seasoned shreds. With the coconut rice and using some of the jerk seasoning as a dipping sauce, we were well satisfied.

While we had our cold beer at home with dinner, Calypso Rotisserie is still awaiting its liquor license. But, don’t let that stop you from starting your tour of the menu.  Oh, and did we mention the Jamaican jerk chicken wings and guacamole?

Calypso Rotisserie is at 12030 Bandera Road in Helotes. It is open daily. For more information call 210-695-4242 or go to the website.




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