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Tag Archive | "Culinaria Restaurant Week"

Ready, Set, Dine! It’s Time for Restaurant Week


Southerleigh is taking part in the upcoming Restaurant Week.

Southerleigh is taking part in the upcoming Restaurant Week.

This Saturday is the start of Culinaria’s San Antonio Restaurant Week, which is otherwise known as a food and dining holiday.

Who knows what specials you'll find during Restaurant Week.

Who knows what specials you’ll find during Restaurant Week.

With more than 110 restaurants participating, every appetite can be satisfied. Plus, your dining experience is a charitable one with every meal purchased during Restaurant Week going to help build The Farm.

Another reason to celebrate? Restaurant Week is actually two weeks long. It runs through Aug. 27.

Take a picture of your favorite meal next week and share on Instagram or Facebook with one of the hashtags: #farm #eatrepeat #SARW (or all of them!) and tag @culinariasa. That enters you to win four tickets to Culinaria’s Food Truck Event on Sept. 10.

Participating San Antonio Restaurant Week restaurants will craft a three-course menu for lunch and/or dinner for a prix-fixe price from two tiers; the first being a $15 lunch and $35 dinner, and the second a $10 lunch and $25 dinner. Keep an eye out for optional courses and drink pairings for your meal.

Click Here for Menus and a Full List of Restaurants

Ready for Restaurant Week?

Ready for Restaurant Week?

 

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Griffin to Go: Scenes from Restaurant Week


Culinaria’s Restaurant Week continues, so what better reason do you need to go out and eat?

Smoke's Shrimp & Swine

Smoke’s Shrimp & Swine

Nothing, in my book, which is why I headed out to several lunches and a dinner in the past week.

The trips started with a visit to Brian West’s Smoke: The Restaurant and a $10 lunch that was largely wonderful.

It began with a warm pork jowl and shrimp salad, also known as Shrimp & Swine, in which the meats were tossed with cabbage and bacon. One bite convinced us that it was a masterful blending of flavors and textures, and it left us with an appetite for the meaty pleasures to come.

The main course is a three-meat plate. I don’t know if the lineup changes, but we were pleased with our trio of turkey, pork and brisket. A delicate touch of smoke laced the juicy slab of turkey while letting the real flavor of the meat shine through. The brisket was tender, but the salty crust was even more impressive; the thick-cut serving also tasted good with the house chimichurri sauce, thanks to its bright garlicky base. Strands of moist pulled pork filled out the tray and provided a great vehicle to try the six pack of sauces that arrived at the table; I preferred the tangy tomatillo sauce, while you might prefer the sweeter honey mustard. Give them all a shot.

Bolo's Monte Cristo

Bolo’s Monte Cristo

Dessert was a welcome serving of banana pudding that featured firm yet flavorful slices of fruit floating in a creamy base with a vanilla wafer offering a crunchy contrast. I had a hankering for this homespun favorite before the first morsel of food arrived, thanks to a waiter who bore a tray of servings past our table shortly arrived I arrived.

The food in and unto itself made for a great lunch, especially at $10, and we were lucky to have an attentive server even though the restaurant was slammed with diners. Unfortunately, the background music was so loud that it was hard to hear my companions that day. They had asked for the music to be turned down before I arrived a little late, and while their wish was granted, that seemed to last for only a song. By turning the music back up, Smoke lost one of my friends who decided he had no need to return, no matter how good the food is. I’ll opt for the outdoors when the weather isn’t so hot.

Bolo's lemon sorbet with stone fruit

Bolo’s lemon sorbet with stone fruit

My second lunch visit was to Bolo’s Rotisserie Grill at the Omni Colonnade, a short trip from my day job.

The special menu, at $15 for lunch, began with a grilled Caesar made with smoky romaine that had been wilted and slightly charred on the grill. A light taste of oil from the roasted poblano dressing added to the fresh of the lettuce while pearl tomatoes, grown on the hotel’s rooftop garden, added a bright touch. A couple of anchovies would have been even more welcome, but I welcome anchovies with most any dish.

The main course was a Monte Cristo sandwich filled with generous slices of honey-roasted turkey and Hill Country ham as well as plenty of Swiss to help melt it all together. The French toast that surrounded the meats and cheese arrived sizzling to the touch and went from hot and crisp to a welcome warm soft state before the last bite disappeared.

Biga's snapper with pappardelle and bacon

Biga’s snapper with pappardelle and bacon

Dessert that day was a lemon sorbet instead of the advertised mango, and that was perfectly fine with me as it arrived over a medley of plums and peaches in a passion fruit and honey sauce (the honey was also harvested from that rooftop garden). It sent me back to work with a sweet smile.

By Saturday night, I was ready for more, and Biga on the Banks happily delivered.

My friend and I were able to split most of the Restaurant Week options even without quibbling over who would try what.

She wanted the advertised soup choice, a chilled bowl of potato cilantro soup, which was refreshing after a hot day even as it excited with a drizzle of chile oil on top. I opted for a special that evening, a warm soup with roasted mushrooms and cauliflower, which proved earthy and bold; one spoon convinced me it would be hard to top, no matter how good the rest of the meal proved to be.

Biga's mousse bar

Biga’s mousse bar

And it turned out to be quite good indeed.

A Kobe beef burger (with a slab of foie gras for a $15 supplement) was practically perfect, thanks to a juicy slab of meat matched by a bun loaded with the flavor of caramelized onion. The bread overwhelmed the foie, so we merely removed it and enjoyed it by itself. The burger and fries were bolsterd by a robust Simi Cabernet Sauvignon.

I’ve been trying somewhat to increase my seafood intake, so I ordered the seared snapper over pappardelle pasta. The fish was firm and fresh, complemented by the dill in the sauce, and truly satisfying. I just won’t tell my doctor about the bacon that also appeared in the sauce, sending the dish into a whole new realm of texture and flavor.

We finished off the evening with a chocolate-raspberry mousse bar topped with melted orange marshmallow, which was dense and rich, but somehow couldn’t eclipse the brilliance of lemon custard with blueberries and coconut ice cream.

Add in Biga’s always excellent service and inviting ambience, and you have the perfect illustration of why Restaurant Week is such a favorite of diners. I hope your adventures are proving to be as rewarding.

Biga's lemon custard with blueberries and coconut ice cream

Biga’s lemon custard with blueberries and coconut ice cream

Smoke: The Restaurant
700 E Sonterra Blvd.
210-417-0175
http://smoketherestaurant.com/

Omni Colonnade – Bolo’s Rotisserie Grille
9821 Colonnade Blvd
210-699-5864
http://www.omnihotels.com/

Biga on the Banks
203 S. St. Mary’s St., Suite 100
210-225-0722
http://biga.com/

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Tales from Culinaria’s Winter Restaurant Week


It’s no good feeling less than your best during Restaurant Week.

A Waygu burger with pesto, bacon aioli and fig jam at Tribeca 212.

A Waygu burger with pesto, bacon aioli and fig jam at Tribeca 212.

An overdose of allergies left me feeling blah with one to go on Culinaria’s first winter round of the popular promotion, but I was feeling anything but blah about two specials the week had to offer.

First up was a lunch trip to Tribeca 212.

Promise people a bowl of Champagne-Oyster Bisque with a fried oyster on top, and they’ll show up with an appetite in tow.

That’s  how it seemed Wednesday as a large group filled the spacious bar dining area at the Olmos Park restaurant.

That soup was sublime, with its mix of briny oyster and creamy tart soup base with plenty of black peppercorn stirred in. A garnish of a fried oyster with a touch of caviar just made the whole dish all the more luxurious.

Tribeca's mushroom pizza

Tribeca’s mushroom pizza

A mushroom pizza and a Wagyu burger cooked medium rare as ordered made for a substantial midday meal. The slightly sour taste of the thin pizza crust offered a pleasant complement to the creamy denseness of the cheese and the earthy richness of the mushrooms. The patty arrived with a series of toppings that seemed to reveal themselves in different bites; they included bacon aioli, fig jam and mozzarella.

Dessert was our choice of gelato flavors, so we tried one of each available: vanilla, wild berry and coconut. The vanilla was easily the best, with its creamy texture bursting with flavor. The coconut appear to have been made with coconut milk and had a nice layer of ice crystals adding to the delight of each taste. Whatever worked for the vanilla was missing from the dry, powdery wild berry mixture, which had frozen far too hard and was even a problem to spoon out of the Mason jar in which it had been served.

Thai Topaz's Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thai Topaz’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thai Topaz on Northwest Military Highway offered one of the best dishes I sampled during the week, a entree that could stand up with Tribeca’s Champagne Oyster Bisque. It was an entree of Emerald Salmon served in a tamarind-coconut milk sauce with a fan of avocado slices and asparagus on the plate. It was gorgeously plated and tasted every bit as good as it looked.

An appetizer of Thai Lettuce Wraps (Miang Kai) with a touch of fresh ginger on top was welcome, as was a fried banana with coconut ice cream. But I’ll be dreaming of that salmon until the next visit. It was well worth the $25 price for three courses of food.

Tribeca 212
4331 McCullough Ave.
(210) 320-0698
www.tribecadiolmos.com

Thai Topaz
2177 N.W. Military Hwy.
(210) 290-9833
http://thaitopaz-sat.com/

 

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A Day Made for Dining on the River


The terrace at Zocca Cuisine d'Italia.

The terrace at Zocca Cuisine d’Italia.

Dining on the terrace of Zocca Cuisine d’Italia is one of the most peaceful joys of living in San Antonio — and it almost doesn’t matter what the quality of the food is like.

The antipasti plate

The antipasti plate

As my colleague Bonnie Walker said during our lunch there Tuesday, during Culinaria’s Restaurant Week, it’s the perfect River Walk spot for introverts. That’s because you can be close to a particularly peaceful stretch of the water and not be bothered by throngs of tourists passing by. As we sat there for more than an hour, it seemed as if fewer than a dozen people walked by, and a couple of those were guests looking for the best place to enter the restaurant.

We were richly blessed during our visit, too. The menu was a comfort food feast. The weather was practically perfect. And we found ourselves entertaining several guests who were glad we’d invited them to partake of part of our lunch; I refer to a pair of ducks who gladly scooped up bits of flatbread left over from our antipasti plate.

Italian sausage pizza with wild mushrooms.

Italian sausage pizza with wild mushrooms.

If you head to Zocca this week, you can taste a prix fixe lunch menu for $15 that begins with an attractive array of antipasti, including slivers of prosciutto, salami and other meats, Gouda and a variety of soft and hard cheeses, and giardiniera as well as the ducks’ favorite flatbread.

We complemented the arrangement with a thin-crust pizza from the regular menu. It featured Italian sausage, wild mushrooms, roasted peppers and grilled onions sealed together by a finely melted blend of Italian cheeses, and each bite revealed new and wonderful flavors.

The main course featured fettuccine in an Alfredo sauce filled with peas, mushrooms and pecorino romano. Grilled chicken had also been added, but it was the least interesting of the dish’s treasures, as the meat was just a little too bland and tough to compete with the rest of the sauce’s riches. Thankfully, the portion was not so large as to induce a carb coma later in the afternoon.

Our lunch companions.

Our lunch companions.

That might have resulted if we had finished off the entire dessert instead of taking half of it to go. Here was another pizza, but this time it was made with chocolate. Both white and dark chocolate melted together atop a fairly savory cocoa crust. A sprinkling of irresistible streusel crumbs and a splash of caramel added to our enjoyment, though a sprinkling of fried parsley or something green was a rather odd garnish. After one taste, it was easily removed and no damage was done.

As we were enjoying the last minutes of peace before heading back to the reality of our work day, the pair of ducks came waddling over from the water to seek their fair share of the food being served. After all, we had enjoyed watching them as they swam around the passing boats, why shouldn’t they get a little something in return? I doubt feeding the fowl is encouraged at Zocca, but we sneaked the beautiful, brown lady bird a bite or two while tossing a few other crumbs over to her green-headed mate anyway. It made us feel like tourists in our own hometown, and I’m always grateful for that feeling.

Culinaria’s Restaurant Week continues through Saturday. Zocca is offering a three-course lunch for $15 and dinner for $35.

Zocca Cuisine d’Italia
Westin Riverwalk
420 W. Market St.
(210) 444-6070

Chocolate pizza

Chocolate pizza

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Good Food, Strange Service Mark the Beginning of Restaurant Week


Culinaria’s first winter Restaurant Week began for me with a lunch trip to Mariposa at Nieman Marcus. It had been a while since I’d eaten in the store’s airy, sunlit dining room, so I was glad for any reason to make an overdue return.

White Bean Chicken Chili at Mariposa

White Bean Chicken Chili at Mariposa

I was even happier when our server presented us with an amuse bouche of warm chicken stock with a bright saltiness that went straight to the heart of my comfort zone. Too bad we didn’t see that server for another 15 minutes after that.  Yes, it was a holiday and the restaurant was full of families, shoppers, Restaurant Week diners and even a tiara party for young girls, but it was never seriously overcrowded.

Yet we overheard a manager, in almost exaggerated tones of exhaustion, bemoan to another table about how pressed they were. I’m sure those diners were suitably impressed that they had somehow earned his confidence. Yet they had been seated long after we were and were somehow served long before we were. Or should I say, loooooong before we were.

When we finally got our first course, we dove right in and practically inhaled the smoked duck risotto with strands of meat stirred into the rice, and a white bean chicken chili with a light but welcome touch of spice balanced by plenty of Monterey Jack over the tender bites of chicken.

Smoked Duck Risotto

Smoked Duck Risotto

The kitchen was already out of the red fish featured on the Restaurant Week menu, so I opted for Chicken Paillard served over mashed potatoes, a touch of fennel and a few bits of vegetables. The serving could not have been hotter, which was most welcome, and the breast meat was moist and accented by a chicken jus.

Two of my friends were served their short rib plates while I was presented my chicken. The short rib plate meant for the fourth of our group never appeared and the waiter, of course, was nowhere to be seen. Eat or wait until all were served? Our friend gave us permission to go ahead, but we still felt as if our table had been jinxed.

She finally got the her short rib as our plates were being cleared, and she did enjoy the tender meat atop jalapeño polenta.

At this point, the restaurant had largely cleared out and our service finally turned the corner. I had ordered the chocolate bread pudding, while my friends ordered what was billed as the “Culinaria Chocolate Chip Cookie Box.”

Short Rib with Gremolata

Short Rib with Gremolata

What I received was an attractive slice of warm white (not chocolate) bread pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce and berries, while my friends received, well, a rather sad, dry looking cookie with a smudge of powdered sugar on top. No, they didn’t want that cookie, so our waiter brought them bread pudding instead. They did manage to get the chocolate bread pudding, which they didn’t mind in the least.

After all was said and done, we paid our $15 for our three courses, glad to have helped Culinaria and glad to have been back to Mariposa. If you go, and I would recommend that you do, make reservations first. Then just be glad you won’t be visiting on a holiday.

Mariposa at Nieman Marcus
The Shops at La Cantera
15900 La Cantera Parkway
(210) 694-3550

The not-so-chocolate bread pudding.

The not-so-chocolate bread pudding.

 

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Restaurant Week Is Here. Have You Worked Up an Appetite Yet?


In a few short years, Culinaria’s Restaurant Week has become an August fixture that food lovers look forward to with hunger.

Bite is on the Restaurant Week menu.

Bite is on the Restaurant Week menu.

Now, Restaurant Week is happening in the winter, and it’s shaping up to be as full-flavored as its warm-weather counterpart.

Enjoy it now through Saturday, you can dine at a series of restaurants across the city — new places like Starfish and El Machito are taking part alongside old favorites, including Boudro’s, Tre Trattoria, Restaurant Gwendolyn and Fig Tree. Plus, you’ll find your favorite steakhouses, including Bob’s, Perry’s, Kirby’s, Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris.

Visit Culinarsa.org for a full list of participants and special meals.

I’ve already planned out a few visits, including Zocca Cuisine D’Italia, Mariposa at Niemann Marcus and Tribeca. What’s high on your list?

Here are a few background details Culinaria sent out in advance of this tasty week:

What: San Antonio Restaurant Week benefits all of Culinaria’s community outreach programs, making each dining experience a charitable one. It is truly a masterful culinary adventure, as well as an opportunity to try new restaurants and support many local favorites. With each meal ordered specifically for San Antonio Restaurant Week, participating restaurants will donate $1 from each lunch menu and $2 from each dinner menu ordered to benefit Culinaria.
Top Money Makers: The three restaurants who raised the most money for Culinaria during August’s Restaurant Week are all back for January. They are Arcade Midtown Kitchen, Bliss and Bob’s Steak and Chop House.
El Machito is serving up Restaurant Week specials.

El Machito is serving up Restaurant Week specials.

The Menus: Participating restaurants will offer an array of prix-fixe menus— encompassing both three-course lunch menus and three-course dinner menus within two different pricing tiers.

 
* Tier 1 establishments will offer $15 for a three-course lunch menu, and $35 for a four-course dinner menu.
* Tier 2 establishments will off $10 for a three-course lunch menu, and $25 for a four-course for dinner menu.
 
How to Participate: Reservations are encouraged and you can contact each establishment directly, for the complete list, please visit culinariasa.org.
When: January 19-24, 2015.
So, what will it be? Bite, Biga or Boiler House? Scuzzi, Speisen or Stella Public House? Winners all. By the end of the week, you’ll probably be like me wondering why there wasn’t time to visit more.

 

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For a Handful of Places, Restaurant Week Continues


Culinaria’s Restaurant Week had originally been set to run through Aug. 23, but a few restaurateurs don’t seem to be able to tell time.

Tre Alamo Heights is continuing Restaurant Week.

Tre Alamo Heights is continuing Restaurant Week.

A large number of places will continue the celebration another week:

• Arcade Midtown Kitchen
• Boiler House
• Biga on The Banks
• Bob’s Steak & Chop House
• Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse
• Zedric’s
• Tre Alamo Heights
• Umai Mi
• Tuk Tuk Taproom
• Texas de Brazil
• Ruth’s Chris Steak House
• Morton’s the Steakhouse
• The Fruteria

So, expect to get three-course meals at a special rate, ranging from $15 to $35, for another week. For full menus, click here. And enjoy!

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Tuk Tuk Taproom Offers a Feast for the Eyes and Taste Buds


Bahn Tom Ha Noi are yam and shrimp fritters you fold up in a lettuce leaf and top with herbs and fish sauce.

Bahn Tom Ha Noi are yam and shrimp fritters you fold up in a lettuce leaf and top with herbs and fish sauce.

Time is running short on Culinaria’s Restaurant Week, which runs through Saturday. There’s still time to grab the special dinner at Tuk Tuk Taproom, which runs long on flavor.

Chef David Gilbert’s menu is a feast of small plates worth sharing. He presents a riot of colors, Asian-infused flavors and textures, all of which are perfect with many of the beers available, such as the Hitchitano Nest Real Ginger Brew or the light, seasonally welcome Wasatch Apricot Hefeweizen. If beer’s not your think, try the Proseccco on tap or the kombucha that’s made specially for the Taproom.

Rather than sing the hymns of the many dishes we sampled, here are photos of several to whet your appetite. Surprising flavors abound, but for this one time, we’ll let the photos do the talking.

 

Ya Rou Mian is a crispy noodle salad with tofu, Sichuan chiles, scallions and a sesame-soy dressing.

Ya Rou Mian is a crispy noodle salad with tofu, Sichuan chiles, scallions and a sesame-soy dressing.

Gat Tod Samoon Prai is Thai-style fried chicken with lemon grass and other seasonings.

Gat Tod Samoon Prai is Thai-style fried chicken with lemon grass and other seasonings.

For an extra $10, you can add a plate of pork belly to your table.

For an extra $10, you can add a plate of pork belly to your table.

Kaeng Matsaman Curry featured stewed lamb in a sauce with potato, eggplant, clove, cinnamon and peanuts.

Kaeng Matsaman Curry featured stewed lamb in a sauce with potato, eggplant, clove, cinnamon and peanuts.

Che Chuoi Chung is a refreshing mix of poached bananas, tapioca pearls, coconut soup and litchi.

Che Chuoi Chung is a refreshing mix of poached bananas, tapioca pearls, coconut soup and litchi.

Tuk Tuk Taproom
1702 Broadway(210) 222-TAPS (8277)
tuktuktaproom.com

 

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Restaurant Week Lunches Offer Excellent Food, Bargains


Chez Vatel's chicken with pasta (Photo by Bonnie Walker)

Chez Vatel’s chicken with pasta (Photo by Bonnie Walker)

Two recent lunches during Culinaria’s Restaurant Week illustrate what bargains can be had during this week-long celebration. Think about it: You get a three-course meal for $15. When was the last time you paid that for fine food?

Zinc's Meatloaf

Zinc’s Meatloaf

At Zinc Bistro & Bar, some friends and I settled in among the attorneys and downtown professionals having their power lunches to enjoy a three-course menu that will largely vary by the day on which you visit.

You can choose a cup of the day’s soup or the house salad. Either should be a good choice, if you have the luck we had. The soup that day was a curried tomato with plenty of spice and a complex series of spices bolstering the fresh tomato flavor. The Zinc Salad featured a lively mix of greens, grape tomatoes, nuts, pears and goat cheese tossed in a bright orange sherry vinaigrette.

As good as both of these dishes were, they couldn’t hold a candle to the day’s special, which was meatloaf with a mushroom-laden sauce. If you’ve had Zinc’s burger, known as the “crack burger” to its addicted following, then you might consider this the meatloaf equivalent. It was that rewarding. Credit also goes to a healthy array of vegetables and starches on the side, including pan-fried potatoes with blue cheese crumbles, roasted red pepper, cooked red onion and sauteed yellow squash. If Zinc ever features this again as a special, don’t think twice; just order two helpings and have at them both with gusto.

Dessert was listed as a peach cobbler, but it was more like a rustic cupcake with peaches baked in. The batter was suffused with warm spices that offered the promise of cooler fall temperatures to come, and it left a smile filled with the pleasure that comes from something made with love.

Chez Vatel's seafood chowder

Chez Vatel’s seafood chowder (Photo by Bonnie Walker)

Chez Vatel & Bistro had a chalkboard full of options and, since we were early, a couple of unadvertised specials. So, before the restaurant filled up, we started with a comforting bowl of seafood chowder, a refreshing vichyssoise and a salad tossed in a basil vinaigrette that let the herb, not the vinegar, dress the greens in flavor.

From the main course options, we feasted on skate that practically melted on the tongue, braised pork butt that was tender, and chicken served up with a welcome helping of house-made pasta. The big surprise was how good the vegetables were. Once again, there was a generous array that included snow peas, carrots, broccoli, broiled tomatoes and french fries that approached perfection. The vegetables varied from plate to plate, but all were fresh in a way that really satisfied. So much so, in fact, that this diehard carnivore will give chef Damien Watel’s vegetarian plate serious consideration the next time I’m there.

Dessert was the French classic, Far Breton, a prune flan-style cake that arrived with a gorgeous splash of color on the side , thanks to berries, creme anglaise and a coulis. Beautiful as it was, it was no match for our forks. No trace of it was left behind.

It was yet another reminder why fans of the restaurant have voted Chez Vatel & Bistro the No. 1 restaurant in San Antonio in the recent Zagat guide.

Culinaria’s Restaurant Week continues through Saturday. Several restaurants have announced extensions, including Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse, Arcade Midtown Kitchen, the Boiler House, Tre Trattoria Alamo Heights and Umai Mi.

Zinc Bistro & Bar
207 North Presa St.
(210) 224-2900
www.zincwine.com

Chez Vatel & Bistro
218 E. Olmos
(210) 828-3141
www.bistrovatel.com

Chez Vatel's skate

Chez Vatel’s skate

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Analyzing Restaurant Week Strategy Over Seared Halibut at Bolo’s


Sink your teeth into Bolo's Cubano.

Sink your teeth into Bolo’s Cubano.

A record number of San Antonio restaurants are taking part in Culinaria’s Restaurant Week this year, and the approach differs from place to place.

Seared halibut with Peruvian potatoes

Seared halibut with Peruvian potatoes

Some load up on options, so you and your dinner companions can have your choice of courses offered. Others, like Bolo’s at the Omni in the Colonnade, have a single choice on the menu, one appetizer, one main course and one dessert, for $35.

Which works best?

That’s what Bonnie Walker and I pondered as we had dinner at Bolo’s.

We could appreciate being able to try a place new to us that offered an array of choices, because who knows when we’d be able to return. So, we might have a lingering taste of several small plates, several entrees and who knows how many desserts.

But when you have only one choice on your menu, someone in your party can branch out and sample the regular menu — and who knows what surprises that might yield.

In this case, smiles abounded with most every bite, no matter which menu the dish came from. We could also limit the amount of food somewhat because, to be honest, a week of three-course meals can take their toll, even on old pros like us.

Texas morel and hazelnut crusted scallops

Texas morel and hazelnut crusted scallops

We started the evening by sharing the Restaurant Week appetizer, a pair of Texas morel and hazelnut crusted scallops served over melted leeks. The scallops were firm, pleasantly on the rare side, with a crumble of mushroom and nut sprinkled over the top of each. The leeks had been melted, as promised, and every last bit of solid food disappeared. Neither of us cared for the sweet sauce that accompanied the dish, which undercut the sweetness of the leeks, but it was easy to eat around.

Our entrees may have seemed like a study in contrasts, but each worked well. The Restaurant Week menu promised seared halibut over purple Peruvian potatoes and a saffron sauce. Little did I realize that the dish would be a riot of color that included microgreens on the fish, a light purple from the potatoes, the buttery yellow of the sauce and more. Helping it were the inclusion of roasted carrots and asparagus spears wrapped in some type of ham or prosciutto, both of which offered added textures and, of course, flavor. The centerpiece, a beautiful slab of halibut, had been cooked through, so that it flaked easily with a fork and yielded a solid sense of the sea.

Bolo's Chocolate Bombe

Bolo’s Chocolate Bombe

Bonnie had been craving a Cubano ever since she saw the movie “Chef” earlier this summer, and the pressed sandwich is a staple of Bolo’s menu. After making sure the roast pork had been freshly made in house, she ordered the traditional favorite, which arrived with plenty of ham, Swiss cheese and pickle all melted together with the roast pork. The bread was ciabatta, not the traditional Cuban bread. It was a little crustier than expected, but not a bad substitution.

For dessert, Bonnie ordered a peach cobbler, which more like a crumble with oats, dried fruit and brown sugar over slices of caramelized peaches that practically melted on your tongue. Of course, there was some butter permeating the warm serving, while a scoop of vanilla ice did its best to melt in.

My Restaurant Week offering was a called a Chocolate Bombe, and it was “da bomb,” to use some slang from a few years back. It wasn’t a traditional bombe, but was it ever tasty. Instead of chocolate mousse encased in a chocolate shell, this was a dome-shaped, dense chocolate cake, frosted and covered with Texas pecans. A little mousse had been piped around the outside of the cake and in a nest on the other side of the plate, which served as the home of a truffle. It passed the welcome excess test, and what I couldn’t eat made for a nice breakfast the following morning.

The restaurant wasn’t overly busy, so our chef came out to greet us after dinner and ask how the special menu was. That’s always welcome when you’ve had food that’s satisfying. And it makes me want to head back to Bolo’s again and try a few more items on the menu. Isn’t that what Restaurant Week is supposed to do?

Bolo’s at the Omni Colonnade
9321 Colonnade Blvd.
(210) 691-8888
http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/SanAntonio/Dining.aspx

Peach cobbler

Peach cobbler

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