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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Pearl Gets Boehler House; Luke, Barbaro


Pearl acquires Boehler property

Minnie'sPearl has announced its plan to proceed with the purchase and restoration of the Boehler property at 328 E. Josephine St. The most recent occupant, Minnie’s Tavern and Rye House has closed, but the famous leaning structure will stay in its place. It also, for many years, housed the Liberty Bar.

Boelers liberty bar sepia“We regrouped and everyone felt like it’s a very special and historic structure,” said Elizabeth Fauerso, a spokeswoman for the Pearl. “You don’t find often a building that has such a place in San Antonio’s history and such an emotional connection to so many people.

“Our objectives are to restore the historic building,” Fauerso said, “and also to think about the streetscape and try to improve it. We want to think about how to add more green space, outdoor space or seating space; to think about how to add more parking so that it can actually support that establishment; and then to think about a really cool and interesting use for the little house.”

Silver Ventures plan to work together with the HDRC and its neighbors in Tobin Hill to preserve and repurpose historic assets bringing them new life within the San Antonio community.

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzled with flavor.

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzle.

Lüke at Fredericksburg Crawfish Festival

As part of the Fredericksburg Crawfish Festival this weekend, Luke San Antonio’s chef John Russ will be hosting a special Creole Brunch on Sunday (May 25) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Marktplatz.

Russ’ festival menu features Crawfish Po-Boys, Crawfish Etouffe, and Cajun Eggs Benedict among other New Orleans-inspired items. Tickets cost $55 per seat and $450 for a table of eight.  Brunch and festival tickets can be purchased online at www.FBGCrawfish.com

Menu for Luke’s Creole Brunch: Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Crawfish Summer Rolls with Petite Herbs and Spicy Mayo, Mini Crawfish Pies with Smoked Tomato Sauce. Action Station 1: Crispy Fried Softshell Crawfish Po-Boys. Action Station 2: Crawfish Étouffée Popcorn Rice, Pickled Vegetables. Action Station 3: Cajun Eggs Benedict Buttermilk Biscuits, Tasso Ham, Crawfish Hollandaise. Buffet: Seasonal Lettuce, Boiled Crawfish, Creole Mustard Vinaigrette, Fried Bread, Hard Eggs, Bacon Deviled Eggs, Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Pulled Mozzarella, Herbs, Sugarcane Vinegar. Dessert: Classic Banana Foster, Rhum Cake, Vanilla Cream.

 

Barbaro 1Barbaro’s new hours, late night menu

Barbaro, 2720 McCullough Ave., serving craft pizza, cocktails and beer, has extended its hours on Friday and Saturday nights, until 2 a.m.

The restaurant also has launched a late-night menu for these weekend nights when they’re open late, see below for a sample of a recent menu. The menu changes each day, but here are some ideas of types of things they’ll be serving.  Late night menu runs from Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.  On the menu are items such as  Fried Bread, House Ricotta, Roasted Tomatoes, and Chives; Chicken Liver Mousse, Apricot Jam, Toast; Seared Lasagna, Mornay, Fried Egg; Roasted Bone Marrow, Truffled Tomato Jam, Basil Salad, Toast; Fried Chicken Livers, Piperade, Mahon, Toast; Pizza Bianca- Fior De Latte, Beef Fat, Roasted Green Onions; Cheese Pizza.

Also, Barbaro has launched a new cocktail menu created by bar manager, Elisabeth Forsythe. The menu includes some unique and delicious concoctions, such as the Rhubarb Mule and IP- Yay! (gin, lemon, grapefruit, IPA syrup). See new items here.

Domaine Carneros Wine Dinner at Fig Tree

Fig tree logoT.J. Evans, winemaker for Domaine Carneros, will be at Fig Tree restaurant on Wednesday, June 18, for a wine dinner that begins with a reception at the Dashiell House, 6:30 p.m.  The price is $115 per person, including tax and gratuity. For reservations, please call Pat at 210-225-2111.

On the menu:  Reception: Le Reve Blanc de Blancs 2006 with Foie Gras Terrine and Apple Ginger Chutney; Brut Vintage Cuvee 2009 with Poached Langostino Tails, Crab Tortellinis, Lemongrass Broth; Brut Rose Cuvée de la Pompadour NV with “Blanquette de Veau,” Rice Pilaf, Baby Carrots, Seasonal Mushrooms;  Estate Pinot Noir 2011 with Domestic Cheeses; Fonseca Porto, Tawny 10 years old with Mixed Berries “Gratin” and Madeleines, along with coffee service.

Luca Della Casa at GauchoGourmet

Luca della CasaGauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road hosts a tasting event on May 31, from 10.30 a.m. 1.30 p.m. featuring Silo & Nosh’s Executive Chef Luca Della Casa. Della Casa will be seen very soon competing on national TV to become a future “star chef” and have his own TV show. (The show, “Food Network Star” is on the Food Network at 8 p.m. June 1. This is the show’s 10th season. Finalists will have to impress mentor-judges Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.)

Della Casa will present samples of different Italian appetizers with some of GauchoGourmet’s best ingredients featuring Sicilian fruit peels and Piedmontese hazelnuts; two risotto recipes using exclusive 7-year aged Carnaroli rice; and share cooking techniques to prepare an authentic Italian meal. Customers who purchase tickets will also enter a drawing for a dinner for two at one of Luca’s restaurants.

Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased online at www.gauchogourmet.com/events.html .

 

 

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Fig Tree Offers a Special Menu for Early Diners


The Fig Tree Restaurant is offering a special dinner menu for those dining anywhere from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Chef de Cuisine Christopher Spencer’s prix fixe menu begins with a choice of Field Greens with Herb Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries, Toasted Walnuts and Sherry Vinaigrette or the soup of the day.

Entree choices include Rock Shrimp Linguine al Burro with English Peas and Sundried Tomatoes; Rainbow Trout Amandine with Creamy Brown Butter Sauce, New Potatoes and Haricots Vert; Texas Farmed Chicken Breast, Potatoes Mousseline and Sherry Mushroom Cream; and Braised Beef Short Rib with Creamy Polenta, Glazed Carrots and Natural Jus.

Dessert options: Yuzu Chocolate Cake or Banana Crème Brûleé.

The price is $29.95 per person.

Call (210) 224-1976 for reservations.

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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?


Fast away the old year passes, the song tells us. But we’re not going to let it go without a big blowout. New Year’s Eve parties galore dot the city scene, and the following are a few restaurant options that are offering feasts to greet 2013.

Reservations are required. Tax and tip are not included in the prices shown.

Enjoy live music during Biga on the Banks’ New Year’s party.

Achiote at the Grand Hyatt,  600 E. Market St., (210) 451-6171 — New Year’s Eve dinner is from 5 p.m. to midnight. The buffet includes salads, such as an arrangement of greens and winter vegetables, Moroccan Cous Cous and Legumes, Jicama with Red Endive and Chili Lime Slaw, Thai-inspired Green Papaya, duo of poached pears, and Roasted Beet, Citrus and Feta;  Traditional Seafood Soup with Saffron Aioli and Seed Crusted Baguette; a Seafood and Ceviche display with Poached Shrimp, King Crab Legs, Red Snapper Ceviche, Pacific Ahi Poke’ and Taro Chips; Anti-Pasti and Cheese Specialties; Carved dishes, such as Achiote-Crusted Natural Beef Tenderloin, Roast Rack of Lamb, Parsley Marble Potatoes, and Mahi Mahi Steamed on Asian Greens with Coconut Green Curry Broth; and  Daniel’s Denim and Diamond Dessert Display. The cost is $60 for adults, $30 for children, ages 6-12. Tax and 18 percent tip will be added to each check. Does not include beverages.

Alamo Street Eat Bar, 609 S. Alamo St., (210) 227-2469 — Ring in the New Year with a variety of treats from various food trucks, including the DUK Truck, and plenty of cheer on tap.

Barriba Cantina, 111 W. Crockett St., (210) 228-9876 — The cantina will be open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with free live music on both nights from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-2722 — The New Year’s Eve menu includes an amuse bouche of crab, cucumber and caviar, followed by appetizers that include Many Mushroom and Duck Confit Raviolo, Foie Grass Terrine, Chicken-Fried Oysters, Crab Spring Rolls,  Smoked Sturgeon Profiterole,  selection of artisan cheeses,  farm-raised American Transmontanous caviar ($85 supplement) or  Wild American Hackleback Caviar ($50 supplement). Soup and salad options:  Lobster Bisque,  Grapefruit and Avocado Salad (add butter-poached lobster $12),  Chardonnay Braised Leeks (add caviar $12),  Emile’s Hydroponic Greens with Rebecca Creek goat feta, Romaine Leaves with red pepper Caesar dressing (add 3 chicken-fried oysters $8) and Spinach Salad (add grilled quail $8). Entrees:  Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna,  Slow Braised Veal Osso Bucco,  South Texas Antelope and Bandera Quail,  Grilled Beef Tenderloin,  Australian Lamb Rack and additional fish options.  The dessert list has not been written yet. Price: $100 per person. Late seating includes live music and a glass of Champagne.

Bin 555, 555 W. Bitters, (210) 496-0555 — The New Year”s Eve menu comes with optional wine pairings. On the menu: Amuse: 2008 Argyle Brut with Bruschetta & Baba Ganoush and Ras El Hanout Chickpeas, Cilantro and Mint. Appetizer: 2008 Zaca Mesa Roussanne with choice of Roasted Butternut Lobster Bisque, Pan Roasted Pork Belly and Braised Beef Cheeks. Salad: 2010 Amici Sauvignon Blanc with choice of Butter Leaf Salad, Mixed Field Greens, or Autumn Squash Salad. Pasta: Iberico Pea Risotto with 2010 Feudi LaCryma Christi Bianco. Entrée choices: Wood Fired Halibut with 2009 Sequoia Grove Chardonnay; Local Texas Rabbit with 2009 Pierre Amadieu Vacqueyras La Grangeliere Grenache/Syrad; or Braised Lamb Shank with 2009 Pierre Amadieu Vacqueyras La Grangeliere Grenache/Syrah. Dessert: Taylor Fladgate 20-Year-Old Tawny Port with choice of Chef Dady’s Signature Nutella Torte, Raspberry, Hazelnut Nougat and Smoked Pistachio Anglaise, Panettone Pain Perdu, Cinnamon Mascarpone Chantilly, Raspberry and Sour Cranberry Compote, Apple & Pear Granola Crumble or Jim Bean Black Honey Bourbon and Crème Fraiche Ice Cream. Cost is $60 a person or $90 with wine pairing. Tax and 18 percent tip added.

Bliss, 926 S. Presa St., (210) 225-2547 — On New Year’s Eve, the restaurant will offer a 5-course menu for $100 a person.

Boardwalk Bistro, 4011 Broadway, (210) 824-0100 — The restaurant will be open 5 p.m.-1 a.m. with a five-course special that includes plenty of choices.    Start with a choice of appetizers such as Cold Water Seafood Risotto, Baked Eggplant Involtini, Grilled Lamb Kofta with Cinnamon Yogurt and Shrimp Casino in Puff Pastry. Soups:   Cold Water Lobster Asparagus Bisque, Winter Squash Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Sweet Pea with Ham and Croutons and Heirloom Tomato Basil with White Cheddar Breadsticks. Salads:  Traditional Caesar Salad, Mesclun Greens with Fried Shallot and Stilton Bleu Cheese, and Spinach Salad with Corn Bread Croutons. Entrees: Prosciutto Wrapped Black Cod ($63),  Surf and Turf  (grilled lobster tail and filet mignon, $72), Panko-crusted Eggplant Napoleon ($52),  Applewood-smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin ($65), and Grilled Lamb T-Chop ($68). Desserts: Duo of Crème Brulee, New York Cheesecake with Berries,  Chocolate Pecan Caramel Torte with Frangelico Anglaise,  and Tiramisù with Frangelico Anglaise filled Chocolate Truffle.  An optional flight of wines can  accompany each course for an additional $20.

Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, 219 E. Houston St., (210) 472-2600 —The restaurant will be open New Year’s Eve for those celebrating along Houston St. The regular menu with steaks, including Akaushi Beef,

Laurent’s Modern Cuisine

Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden, 312 Pearl Parkway, (210) 354-4644 — Chef Jesse Perez of the upcoming Arcade Midtown Kitchen joins Boiler House chef James Moore to create a special six-course New Year’s menu that includes:  Chilled Smoked Sturgeon, Caviar Creme Fraiche;  Moroccan Quail Medallions, Pomegranate Molasses;  Confit Rabbit Terrine, Pickled Mustard Seed Aioli;  George’s Bank Diver Scallops, Smoked Oyster Stew;  Balsamic Braised Cabrito, Goat Cheese Farro Risotto;  and ‘Crispy & Salty’ Chocolate Bar. The price is $65 per person (food only); plus 6 half glasses of paired wines, $25 per person, or  six half glass of premium wine for $45. Balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight.  Live music 8 p.m.-1 a.m.

Bolo’s at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, 9821 Colonnade Blvd., (210) 699-5803 — New Year’s Eve seatings begin at 6 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m. The meal features a Spanish Tapas-style menu with dishes from different regions of that country. The price is $65 a person and includes a Champagne toast at midnight. The bar in the hotel will have a large-screen TV broadcasting the drop of the ball at midnight for those who want to watch.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., (210) 641-1998 — The restaurant will be open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations will be taken.

The County Line Riverwalk, 111 W. Crockett St., (210) — The River Walk location is open New Year’s Eve from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. No reservations accepted.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, (210) 821-5454 — On New Year’s Eve, chef Francois Maeder will be serving appetizers such as artichokes stuffed with goat cheese and almonds or Nova Scotia smoked salmon with cream cheese. Guests can experience Crumpets Trilogy, a special main course featuring a lobster tail with lemon butter, rack of lamb Provencal, and tenderloin of beef with Rossini sauce. Other entrées offered are chicken, shrimp, Rainbow trout, veal and beef. All include an appetizer, cup of soup, house salad and dessert.

Fig Tree Restaurant, 515 Villita St., (210) 225-2111 — There will be two seatings on New Year’s Eve: 6-9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.-midnight. The special menu starts with an optional connoisseur caviar course (30 g of osetra) for a $150 supplement. The dinner includes Caramelized Onion Tart with Figs, Chevre and Arugula Pistou; Peking Quail with Persimmon Chutney; Bok Choy and Pear Salad; Lobster Cannoli Chanterelles and White Truffles, Mascarpone Béchamel; Chateaubriand for Two with Béarnaise and Chateau Potatoes. Dessert choices: Dark Chocolaté Pavé, Milk Chocolate Mousse or Wild Morello Cherry Crème Brulee. The price is $98 a person plus tax and 18 percent tip.

Celebrate the arrival of 2013 at your favorite restaurant.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, 255 E. Basse Road, (210) 824-WINE (9463) — Fleming’s will celebrate Dec. 28-31 with a special menu that includes a complimentary Gulf shrimp and grits appetizer, followed by a choice of Delmonico Steak with Blue Crab & Gruyere Glaçage ($74.95), Filet Mignon and Lobster Brioche Bread Pudding ($69.95), and Lobster Tail with Macaroni and Cheese ($79.95). Chocolate Budino ($9.95) is the special dessert. Magnums of Gloria Ferrar Sonoma Brut will be poured at $12 a glass or $100 for the 1.5-liter bottle. The regular menu will also be offered.

Frederick’s Restaurant, 7701 Broadway, (210) 828-9050; Frederick’s Bistro,  14439 N.W. Military Highway, (210) 888-1500 — Both restaurants will ring in the new year with the following special menu. First course is a choice of Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops with Leeks Ragout and Caviar Beurre Blanc, Seared Veal Carpaccio with Herbed Cheese, Stuffed Quail and Foie Gras Terrine Platter or Assorted Seafood Delicacy. Second course: Frederick’s Salad and Goat Cheese with Champagne, Hazelnut Vinaigrette. Main course choices: Orange Ginger Glazed Duck Breast Over a bed of Wild Rice Risotto, Beef Tournedo “Rossini” with Foie Gras and Perigourdine Sauce, Sea Bass and Crab Meat Napoleon or Grilled Maine Lobster. Fourth course is choice of dessert. Cost is $85 a person.

Gallo Pizzeria, 164 Castroville Road, (210) 264-0077 — The pizzeria is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. New Year’s Eve.

The Granary ‘Cue and Brew, 602 Avenue A, (210) 228-0124 — A five-course tasting menu will include oyster on the half shell, root beer-glazed scallop, TG Texas Toast and ‘Cue Butter, Smoked Bison and Baked Alaska. The cost is $68 a person. Add $20 for beer pairings.

Hyatt Hill Country Resort, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, (210) 767-7999 — Two packages are available for New Year’s. The Sea World package includes full breakfast buffet for two adults and two children (under 12) each day, tickets to  SeaWorld’s Twilight New Year’s Eve Party from noon – 9 p.m.,  and transportation to and from the resort. Some of SeaWorld’s New Year’s features: fireworks spectacular, A Dolphin Christmas,  Elmo’s Christmas Wish,  Shamu Christmas,  A Sesame Street Christmas,  and Clyde & Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas. Antlers Lodge New Year’s Eve dinner package includes overnight accommodations, four-course dinner for two, live entertainment, party favors, Champagne toast at midnight and breakfast buffet for two on Jan. 1. Call for prices.

JW Marriott,23808 Resort Parkway, (210) 483-6622 — The resort is offering a variety of activities and events to celebrate the New Year. Raise a toast and dance the night away in Crooked Branch or High Velocity after enjoying dinner either 18 Oaks and Cibolo Moon, both of which feature special New Year’s Eve menus. A complete New Year’s Eve package is available for $239, which includes a guest room and a $50 resort credit that can be applied to golf, spa or dining. 18 Oaks will feature a selection of special a la carte dishes on New Year’s Eve, including Cast Iron Baked Fontina for $16 and a 16-ounce Ribeye for $48. Cibolo Moon is offering a New Year’s Eve buffet dinner for $28 featuring king and stone crab, oysters, aged cheeses, smoked meats, prime rib, Shiner-brined turkey and much more. A Kids’ Zone dinner buffet is also available for $14.

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E., (210) 404-2221 — Chef Daniel Nemec is preparing a special menu priced at $89 a person. Start with a choice of Texas Sterling Lamb Wellington,  Cedar Plank Diver Sea Scallops With Grilled Applewood Smoked Bacon and a Chive Beurre Blanc,  House-made Crisp Gnocchi With Garlic Sautéed Wild Mushrooms and Sauce Carbonara,  Broiled Veal Marrow and Kirby’s Signature Maryland Style Crab Cake. Second course choices:  Oven Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Baby Mozzarella, Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette in a Parmesan Tuile;  House Caesar;  Baby Arugala and Fire Kissed Strawberry Salad; or Lobster Bisque. Third course choices:  Grilled 7- or 10-ounce Blue Ribbon Filet; Grilled 16-ounce Ribeye; 7- or 10-ounce Filet Oscar; Grilled Cobia Fillet; Oven-Baked Cold Water Western Australian Lobster Tail with Alaskan King Crab Dressing; Texas Sterling Lamb Shank Osso Buco; 16-ounce Prime New York Strip.  Served with side and choice of dessert. Melina Narezo Band will perform.

Las Canarias at Omni La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St., (210) 518-1177 — On New Year’s Eve, the restaurant will offer a special five-course pre-fixe menu for $100, with reservations available from 5:30 to 11:00 p.m. Menu items include a chilled white asparagus velouté, Pacific sturgeon and Strube Ranch wagyu beef bavette. Á la carte dining will also be available at featured menu prices. A live band with dancing and party favors will perform from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and a complimentary champagne toast will be offered at midnight to bring in the New Year. Complimentary parking will also be available on a first come, first serve basis. On New Year’s Day, the brunch will be from 6:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. The cost is $25 for adults, $15 for children ages 6-12 and free for those 5 and under. The buffet menu consists of eggs and omelets made to order, Texas cut cinnamon raisin French toast, fried eggs Benedict with crispy pork belly and a selection of breads and cereals, among other options. The buffet also includes complimentary parking, juice and coffee; all other beverages are non-inclusive. Las Canarias’ à la carte dining will be available from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Laurent’s Modern Cuisine,4230 McCullough Ave., (210) 822-6644 — The New Year’s Eve menu will include a five-course meal with the chance of adding a cheese course to the lineup. Some of the items on the menu include appetizer choices of Diver Sea Scallop with sweetbread strudel, candied orange, blood orange gastric; Ahi Tuna Tartar, caramelized sea urchin, fried quail egg; Foie gras crème brûlée, mini ginger bread and torchon sandwich; or Three cheeses Profiteroles, Brie, Humblefog and Gruyere, Yellow pepper coulis.  Salad course: -Petite Mache salade, baby Heirloom, shaved asparagus, frisee, champagne vinaigrette.  Main course choices:  Norwegian Halibut (or Sea Bass), Fresh Peas and Horseradish puree, Miso beurre blanc; Farm raised Capon, baby vegetables, Parsnips puree, Red plum-chicken jus; Beef Tenderloin, Crispy Pig Feet, Sauce Perigourdine, Truffled dauphines potatoes; or Half roasted Maine lobster, curried crab meat, Roasted corn Hach, Sauce Americaine. The price is $75 a person while the cheese course is an optional $10 more.

Little Rhein Steak House, 231 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-2111 — New Year’s Eve sittings are 5-6:30 p.m., 7-9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.-midnight. The early dinner special includes choice of Shrimp Cocktail or Bacon Wrapped Quail Legs, followed by Beef Steak Tomatoes with Blue Cheese or Field Greens with Cranberries, Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Basil Vinaigrette. Main course choices:  Prime Rib, Prime Strip Loin,  Center Cut Filet Mignon, Bay of Fundy Salmon Fillet or Center Cut Filet and Lobster. Entrees served with Au Gratin Potatoes, Sautéed Wild Mushrooms and Buttered Asparagus. Dessert is either Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream or  New York Cheesecake with Strawberries.  A glass of Champagne included. Price is $70 a person plus tax and 18 percent tip. Later seatings add lobster bisque to the menu. Price is $79 a person plus tax and 18 percent tip.

Ring in the new year with Morton’s Legendary Chocolate Cake.

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, (830) 438-2747 — The regular menu will be served all New Year’s Eve.

Morton’s The Steakhouse, 300 E. Crockett St., (210) 228-0700 — The restaurant will be celebrating during dinner on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Oro at the Emily Morgan Hotel, 705 E. Houston St., (210) 224-0146 — New Year’s Eve seating starts at 5:30 p.m.  Begin with a Belvedere Martini, followed by Bluebonnet Farms Petite Lettuces or Charleston She Crab Soup. The main course is a choice of grilled ribeye with sherried lobster mushrooms or pan-roasted halibut with hickory smoked oyster sweet potato hash. Dessert is a choice of espresso tiramisu or caramelized pear and apple beignets. The cost is $79.95 a person and includes the martini, a glass of Moet et Chandon Brut Champagne and complimentary valet parking.

Ostra at the Mokara Hotel, 212 W. Crockett St., (210) 396-5817 — Reservations can be made from 6:30 to 11 p.m. with bar beverage service continuing until 2 a.m. Party favors and champagne toasts part of the celebration.

Paloma Blanca, 5800 Broadway, (210) 822-6151 — The restaurant will be open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. New Year’s Eve.

Perry’s Steakhouse,15900 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 558-6161 — Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille is offering a three-course menu followed by a champagne toast at midnight. For each course, guests can choose from a selection of Perry’s signature items, such as the lobster bisque, Perry’s Famous Pork Chop and Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bar dessert. For those dining at 5:30 p.m. or earlier, the cost is $54.95 per person plus tax and tip; it is $74.95 per person plus tax and tip for 6 p.m. or later.

Say Happy New Year with fireworks!

Q on the Riverwalk at the Downtown Hyatt, 123 Losoya, (210) 362.6325 — The New Year’s Eve celebration will feature dining from 6 to 10 p.m. The meal includes choice of the following main courses: house-smoked standing rib roast, fire-grilled fillet of salmon or roasted breast of chicken. Side dishes include roasted butternut squash risotto, baked mashed potatoes, au gratin potatoes, and grilled seasonal vegetables. There will also be a build-your-own salad bar as well as desserts that include vanilla bean creme brulee, mini-strawberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse shooters and cappuccino tarts. The cost is $50 a person.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Concord Plaza, 7720 Jones Maltsberger Road (210) 821-5051; Sunset Station, 1170 E. Commerce St. (210) 227-8847 — The specially priced menu consists of Ruth’s Chris steaks and other signature favorites for $99 per person and includes a Champagne toast as well as view of fireworks from the balcony of the Sunset station location.

Silo, 1133 Austin Hwy., (210) 824-8686; 434 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 483-8989 — The New Year’s Eve special menu begins with a choice of lobster bisque, chicken-fried oysters, ricotta gnocchi, tuna carpaccio or five-spice Texas quail. Second course choices: Hydroponic mixed greens, baby wedge salad, Caesar salad, or roasted beet and watercress salad. Third course options: Roasted duck breast and confit leg, grilled beef tenderloin, prosciutto-wrapped sea bass, grilled Australian rack of lamb, or whole butter-poached lobster. Fourth course choices: Toasted coconut mousse pie or Callebaut dark chocolate truffle tart. A glass of Piper Heidsieck Brut is the finale. Price is $85 a person.

Sustenio at Eilan Hotel Resort & Spa, 17103 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 598-2950 — There will be two seatings on New Year’s Eve. The first is at 7 p.m. and features a three-course dinner priced at $75 a person.  The second is at 9 p.m.  and features a five-course dinner with dancing at iDance City and a Champagne toast, all for $125.

The Terrace Grill at Riven Rock Ranch, 390 Hermann Sons Road, Comfort, (830) 995-4045 —The New Year’s Eve party begins at 8 p.m. and runs until 12:30 a.m. The meal includes passed appetizers, soup or salad, a choice of Beef Tenderloin with red onion and Singing Water red wine marmalade, sweet cream whipped potatoes and Texas caviar or seasonal fresh fish topped with blue crab and pecan brown butter sauce with wild rice pilaf and Texas caviar. Cost is $99.95, which includes party favors and a complimentary glass of Champagne at midnight.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., (210) 299-1600 — The restaurant will be open early and late, offering diners skewers of meat as well as its extensive salad bar.

Thai Dee, 5307 Blanco Road, (210) 342-3622 — Thai Dee Restaurant will be open on New Year’s Day serving your favorite Thai dishes.

Tre Trattoria in Alamo Heights, 4003 Broadway, (210) 805-0333 — All parties receive family-style antipasti on New Year’s Eve, followed by the following menu. First course choices: Slow Roasted Caprese with House Pulled Mozzarella and Basil; Pear and Apple Panzanella with Rye, Arugula, Shaved Fennel, Spiced Walnuts and Lemon; or Salt Cod and Yukon Gold Fritters, Roasted Cauliflower Salad and Caper Aioli. Second course choices: Roasted Pumpkin Bisque with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Caramel Crema or Mussels and Chickpea with Saffron, Italian Sausage, Caramelized Fennel and Greek Yogurt. Third course options: Pan Seared Diver Scallop with Pecan Ice; Butter Poached Cold Water Oysters with Creamy Orzo, Chiles and Bottarga; or Tagliatelli with Smoked Local Cabrito, Calbrese Peppers, Pecorino and Rosemary. Fourth course choices: Pan Seared Ahi Tuna with Beluga Lentils; Wild Boar Ragu and Creamy Polenta; Grilled Tuscan Ribeye and Smashed Red Potatoes with Fontina; or Crispy Skin Duck Confit with Grilled Chicories. Fifth course options: Nutella x 3; Butterscotch “Blondie” with Thyme Chantilly and Praline “Crumble”; or Olive Oil Cake with Citrus and Mint. Price is $69.95 a person. Price does not include tax and 18 percent tip.

Tre Trattoria Downtown at The Fairmount Hotel, 401 S. Alamo St., (210) 223-0401 — The special New Year’s menu begins with an optional apertif of Cinco Vodka, Cava and Hibiscus flower syrup with Pomegranate Juice and Lime ($12 supplement). It is followed by a choice of House-made Mozzarella Caprese Salad, Caesar Salad or Lobster Bisque. Second course is Pearl Farmers Market Bruschetta served family style. Third course is a choice of Tuscan Farro Salad, Black Eyed Pea and House Sausage, or Israeli Cous Cous with Crab ($7 supplement for the latter). Fourth course choices: House-Made Pan Seared Potato Gnocchi; House-Made Tagliatelle with Wild Mushrooms, Thyme and Parmigiano Reggiano; or House-cut Fettuccini with Roasted garlic, Wilted Spinach, Basil and Parmigiano Brodo. Fifth course choices: Seared Diver Sea Scallops: Pan Seared Salmon with Marinated Purple Cabbage; Grilled Tuscan Marinated Ribeye ($15 Supplement); or Cornish Game Hen. Dessert choices: Nutella x 3, Vanilla Gelato, or Fresh Fruit and Local Honey Parfait. Price is $90 a person plus tax and tip or $120 with wine pairings.

The Westin La Cantera Resort, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 558-2253 — Dinner on New Year’s Eve will be in Francesca’s at Sunset and will include an Alice in Wonderland theme. Chef Stephen Gonzalez and sommelier Steven Krueger are planning a five-course meal with matching Champagnes. The price is $125 a person.

 

 

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Enjoying a River Walk Idyll at Fig Tree


Tempura squash blossoms

Culinaria’s annual Restaurant Week came to a close with an impressive dinner at Fig Tree Restaurant, offering a rewarding finale to eight days of special tastes from some of the city’s finest restaurants.

It’s always a treat to dine at Fig Tree, with its spectacular view of the River Walk, and this meal was certainly no exception.

Our evening  started with a delightful amuse bouche of a fried pepper Jack ball with the tiniest bit of heat serving as a hint of bold flavors to come.

It would be hard to say which of the appetizer options was better, a dilemma that happily presented itself through all three of the meal’s courses.

Was the better dish the tempura-battered squash blossom stuffed with goat cheese? This was a happy blend of crispy hot dough on the outside while the cheese largely stayed cool and creamy at the center of the blossom. A tomato coulis added a welcome acidic brightness.

Watermelon soup

Or was it the watermelon soup with lime and jalapeño? This simple yet artful blending of three fresh flavors worked so well that you had to wonder why the trio hasn’t become a summertime mainstay throughout the state.

The main course options both had roots in northern Africa, with touches of general manager Moe Lazri’s heritage filling the dishes.

Grilled cobia

Grilled cobia was firm yet supple with the freshness of the fish making itself apparent in every bite. A chermoula sauce with garlic and preserved lemon worked well with both the fish and the caponata on the plate. Every detail of the dish merged into a richly satisfying whole.

And yet I would have to give the prize here to a tagine filled with tiny pearls of buttery couscous on which lamb, merquez sausage and a vegetable medley of zucchini, carrots, turnips and garbanzo beans as well as white raisins had been arranged. The presentation of the dish was particularly dramatic with the conical dish placed in the center of the table, and a miniature version filled with spicy harissa next to it.

Lamb, merquez sausage, turnips and more over couscous

We helped ourselves to spoons of fork tender lamb with a touch of jus, well-seasoned sausage and the delicate pasta, all made even more inviting with a touch of harissa adding a fruity and fiery touch. Yet the turnips were what won over everyone at the table — and they drew us back for seconds and thirds until they had run out. That is a sentence I never thought I’d type, but even the two non-turnip fans, myself included, were drawn to cubes of the firm, slightly sweet root vegetable.

Chef Byron Bergeron stopped by our table and explained the lengthy process by which the couscous had been made, according to Lazri’s instruction, and every forkful made it clear that it was worth the effort. (The chef also announced that he would be leaving Fig Tree at the end of the month, with his assistant Chris Spenser taking over. So, you have a few more days of sampling Bergeron’s distinctive cuisine.)

Almond Tart

Both dessert options pleased. Peach Melba featured the expected fresh peach and raspberry, but it was the pristine vanilla ice cream that sent spoons back into the glasses for more until the last drop could be scraped from the bottom. An almond tart was filled with several forms of nutty richness, from a not-too-sweet marzipan in the base of the tart crust to toasted slivers on top. A dollop of whipped cream and diced poached pears added color, texture and flavors, but they were surprisingly not needed, at least in the opinion of this almond fanatic.

A bottle of 2008 Simi Merlot was a nice companion to the lamb with the jus, the couscous, the squash blossoms and, well, even the hot buttered rolls, which had a dense crust and yet was so fluffy inside.

Service deserves a special mention for being among the most professional, best informed and least obtrusive that we have experienced recently.

This year’s Restaurant Week ably demonstrated how the celebration has grown in just a few short years. I may need to go on a diet, but I’m also ready for another run.

Fig Tree Restaurant
515 Villita St.
(210) 224-1976
figtreerestaurant.com

 

 

 

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Work Up an Appetite: Restaurant Week Begins Saturday


Are you hungry? You should be. Culinaria’s Restaurant Week begins Saturday.

Restaurants across town will be participating in this growing event, which includes three-course lunches for $15 or three-course dinners for $35. Those are great prices if you want to try new places or visit old friends.

A few of the participants include Antlers Lodge at the Hyatt Hill Country, Bin 555, Biga on the Banks, Fogo de Chao, Paesanos 1604, Perry’s Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on Commerce, the Palm and Zinc.

Here are a couple of sample menus:

  • Bella on the River, 106 River Walk, offers choices of Toasted Bruschetta with Zucchini Puree and Grana Padano or Warm Caprese Salad; Swordfish Steak with creamed leeks or Petite Filet Mignon with pea shoots and trumpet Royale mushrooms; and Mascarpone Parfait or Nutella Creme Brule. French roast coffee and hot or iced tea included.
  • Fig Tree, 515 Villita, is offering choices of Tempura Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese or Watermelon Soup; Couscous Garni with Merquez or Grilled Cobia with Chermoula Sauce; and Almond Tart or Peach Melba.
  • From Ostra at the Mokara Hotel, 212 W. Crockett St., you get your choice of Baby Spinach and Radicchio Salad or Corn and Poblano Soup, followed by Blackened Redfish. Tres Leches Cake with Fresh Berries is dessert.

For a full list of participants, click here.

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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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An All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, Oysters al Fresco and More Restaurant News


Oysters at Brasserie Pavil.

The city’s dining scene is bustling with activity and great tastes to tempt all palates.

Oysters on the patio

During Fiesta, Brasserie Pavil, 1818 N. Loop 1604 W., celebrated with an oyster bake on the patio.

Guests seemed to really enjoy the event and, as a result, the restaurant is offering an oyster bake each Thursday.

The menu includes $2 grilled or raw oysters, $2 classic martinis and $2 beers.

Call 210-479-5000.

Start the weekend right

Tommy Moore’s Cafe, 915 S. Hackberry St., is having its monthly all-you-can-eat brunch buffet this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

If you haven’t been to Tommy Moore’s, it’s a haven of home cooking with the fried chicken earning the highest praise. If you have been, then you know what lies in store.

The price is $10.95 for adults and $5.95 for children. Call 210-531-9800 to let them know you’re coming.

Carpaccio at Fig Tree Restaurant.

A mid-week treat

Wanna know the best fine dining secret in town? It’s the Tuesday and Wednesday prix fixe special at Fig Tree Restaurant, 515 Villita St.

Chef Byron Bergeron and his staff prepare a three-course menu that changes weekly. The specials include two choices of appetizer, entrée and dessert for $39. Wine pairings are available for $49.

Recent appetizer options have included smoked duck breast, a summer roll with a peanut sauce or zucchini blossoms with goat cheese and an heirloom tomato coulis. Past entrées options: Steak au Poivre, an oven-roasted prawn, Veal Blanquette with jasmine rice or crispy skin striped bass. Desserts run the gamut from an almond and pear tart to Domino Cake, a creamy house specialty. On a recent Tuesday, it was strawberries flambé prepared tableside.

For reservations, call 210-224-1976. Let your server know you’re interested in the prix fixe.

On the move

Fishland Fish Market, 4941 Walzem Road, is moving. Not far, mind you, just next door. But the new space will be much larger, so more diners can enjoy the kitchen’s seafood specialties. The move should be complete by July.

If you aren’t familiar with this haven of fried seafood, with some of the best hush puppies you’ll ever taste, check out our review. Though it appeared in September 2009, recent visits have shown it to be as good as ever.

Pasha readies second location

Pasha Mediterranean Grill will open a second San Antonio location on Loop 1604 at Blanco Road in June. The restaurant’s original location is at 9339 Wurzbach Road.

Closing

San Antone Cafe and Concerts, formerly Casbeers at the Church, is closing. The owners, Steve Silbas and Barbara Wolfe, have cited personal health reasons and the economy. Whatever the reason, it’s a shame. The owners have helped raised plenty of money for charities over the years through the Gospel Brunch and other fundraisers, while bringing in some fine music.

Many will miss the one-of-a-kind Tex-Mex enchiladas as well as the bean burger, one of the best in the city.

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Griffin to Go: Raise a Glass in Memory of a Fine Foodie and Friend


Richard Toupal in Clearwater, Fla., in January 2010, with stone crabs and a 2006 Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet.

San Antonio lost one of its finest foodies last week with the passing of Richard Louis Toupal, 54.

Richard and his wife, Gigi, could be seen frequently at the city’s finest eateries, and I don’t mean the most expensive. He loved exploring the flavors at a small place like Thai Dee on Blanco Road, which looks like nothing from the road, as much as he enjoyed dining outdoors at the elegant Fig Tree Restaurant. Finding a new restaurant, like Pike’s Place in Pipe Creek, was as exciting to him as opening a present on Christmas morning. As long as the food was good, he was happy. He was even happier, actually, if he could bring along a bottle or two of wine from his collection.

He had a great and varied collection, made up of fantastic sparklers, whites and reds from all over the world and also at all prices. Finding a bargain was something he loved. Plus, it pleased him to share his cellar with anyone who also appreciated the beauty of a well-made wine. He kept a wine cooler in his dental office, just in case he was headed out to dinner and didn’t have time to get home to grab a bottle.

I met Richard and Gigi (born Griffin and surely some relation in our knotted family tree) at Le Rêve. Friends and I would go there every Thanksgiving Eve, as would they. It just seemed natural for them to join in the fun. They also came by my house back in the day when I threw an annual radish party, my variation of the Oaxacan gathering, Noche de los Rabanos (Night of the Radishes). Guests didn’t have to bring a radish dish, but I remember one year Richard brought a curried lamb dish with radishes cooked in.

Richard was an excellent cook, whether it was grilling a perfect steak or shaving fresh truffles onto a pasta dish that was based on something Gigi and he discovered on one of their trips.  At his parties, you’d find a little bit of everybody, from his favorite restaurateurs and their staffs to fellow wine lovers and even a few political figures, all friends who had come together over food and wine.

Those weren’t his only interests, by any means, and he was a reliable friend when things were less than bright. He was a strong supporter of this website, and he understood that things were not always easy for me after I lost my day job. He was like this with so many others that it’s no wonder many of the same people from his parties were at the hospital last week after he had suffered the stroke that would take his life.

My favorite memories of sharing a meal with Richard happened regularly around Christmas Eve. He would call and I’d find a way to head off to to some place like Van’s Chinese on Broadway to discover how Champagne is a perfect foil for spring rolls. This past December, we met at the Sandbar, because chef Chris Carlson had gotten in some oysters from the Belon area of France for lunch. Perfect with a crisp, icy Sancerre. We marveled over the bold succulence of each one, before making our way through several more dishes, eventually deciding that the bagels, laden with house-cured lox and a schmear, were among the best we’d ever had.

One of Richard’s more extravagant gestures, as least as far I know, was when he rented out Dough on Blanco Road for Gigi’s birthday. The counters were laden with food, the wines were flowing and spirits were high as he honored his wife. It seems fitting that you can see the two of them on the recent episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” that was filmed at the pizzeria. They can be seen having a great time, which is how Richard tried to live his life. And that’s how I’ll remember him.

For information on the funeral services, click here.

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Book Your Holiday Parties ASAP


Have you booked your holiday party yet? If you haven’t you may want to get moving on it. Many restaurants in town are already booked on the weekends through the season, though there are plenty of options on weeknights.

Menus vary from place to place, of course, but one element all have in common is a desire to work with the budget you have. From El Mirador to Auden’s Kitchen, from Ilsong Garden to the County Line, the list of options covers all areas of the city.

Luce Ristorante offers as private dining as well as a patio.

Luce Ristorante

At Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road, owner Joe Buonincontri has already booked all of his Saturday nights through the holiday season. Most of the Fridays are gone, too.

His private room can seat up to 40 people depending on the demand. If the party givers want a buffet, then 30 is the maximum that the room will hold. He also has a patio with a fireplace for an outdoor get-together.

Buonincontri will gladly work with people to accommodate their budget needs. He recently hosted a four-course dinner that offered appetizer, entrée and dessert choices, along with a salad, for $33 a person.

He can also set up various drink policies, from an open bar to tickets, depending on how the client wants to plan.

Luce’s take on Italian food “brings back memories” for many of Buonincontri’s customers, he says. “It’s a certain taste profile they don’t get anywhere else in San Antonio.”

For more information, click here or call 210-561-9700.

Dashiell House

The Dashiell House, located in La Villita, offers the best of Fig Tree Restaurant and Little Rhein Steak House in a private River Walk setting. All of the food is prepared to order, not in advance, says Marlys Camilleri, event coordinator. So, combine the quality of the food with a gorgeous view of the Christmas lights along the river and a house built circa 1850, and you can understand why bookings are placed far in advance.

Downtown San Antonio is also bracing for two large conventions in December, including the annual breast cancer symposium, and they have led to bookings throughout most of two weeks.

Many of the Dashiell House’s customers are repeat bookings, Camilleri says. That says a great deal about how satisfied its customers have been.

Yet there are still some openings for the space, which seats up to 64. Almost double will fit for a stand-up cocktail party. Camilleri will work with people and their budgets. For a sample menu and more information, click here.

Brasserie Pavil and Watermark Grill

Whether you want a cocktail party or sit-down dinner, Brasserie Pavil can accommodate your needs.

Weekends are booked at Brasserie Pavil, 1818 N. Loop 1604 W., but there are plenty of weeknights available, says manager Jan Bonugli. And that’s all for the best, because the restaurant’s rental fee is waived Monday-Thursday.

The restaurant’s signature onion soup, its cheese tray and charcuterie, duck confit, seafood platters and carrot cake are available for parties, and Bonugli, who is also sales manager at Pavil, will work with any budget to ensure a pleasant evening.

Various sizes of rooms  are available, too, so both large and small parties will fit into the space.

At Watermark Grill, 18740 Stone Oak Parkway, parties are generally limited to the rotunda, which can seat up to 20 people comfortably, she says. But the bakery can also be used for a private function and can seat up to 40. Party menus featuring sustainable seafood start at about $40 a person.

Laughing Bird Shrimp, sea scallops, ahi tuna and lobster are all options, she says.

To book either space, contact Bonugli at 210-912-0041. For information on Brasserie Pavil, click here. For information on Watermark Grill, click here.

The Cove

Looking for a little some place different for your party? Think the Cove, 606 W. Cypress.

Owner Lisa Asvestas has started booking parties for the first time this holiday season. Her compound, with its laundry and car wash, is certainly an eclectic setting. But it’s also cozy in the bar area, where live music can be included.

But it’s the menu that places the Cove apart from the many, if not most, other places in town. Asvestas promises SOL food — that’s sustainable, organic and local. The suggested party plan includes a mini version of the restaurant’s lauded fish tacos, organic salads, wraps and a variety of snacks. And you can add beer or wine tastings, if you’d like.

For more information, call 210-227-2683 or click here.

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Weekend Calendar: Sugar Art, Basil Fest, Hill Country Beer, and More


Real Ale celebrates its anniversary.

“A Taste of Provence” Tasting Menu
Through July 31, $48 plus tax and gratuity, $12 additional for wine pairings
Fig Tree Restaurant
515 Villita
This French-inspired meal starts with your choice of Zucchini Blossom Beignets or Terrine de Légumes.  Next, select either Blue Prawns Provençale or Grilled Mediterranean Sea Bass.  The main course options are Pan-seared Herb Marinated Lamb Tenderloing or Grilled Lamb Chops with Roasted Garlic Créme.  Dessert choices are Hill Country Peach Croustade or Poached Fruit of the Day a la mode.  The optional wine pairing includes Chateau Routas, Rosé Var 2008; Mas de la Dame, Rosé du Mas 2009; and Mas de la Dame, Rouge 2006.  For reservations, call 210-224-1976.

“A Study in Shrimp”
Thursday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25, $35 plus tax and gratuity
The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills
1746 Lockhill Selma
The four-course prix fixe includes a glass of wine and starts with “Bloody Mary”: Grilled Shrimp with Sous Vide Celery, Tomato Sofrito, and Horseradish Foam.  The second course is Shrimp Bisque with Tomato-Basil Rouille “Crostini”, followed by “Shrimp and Grits”: Butter Poached Shrimp with Slow Cooked Corn Polenta, Piquillo Peppers. and Garlic Chips. Dessert is “Soufflé” Inspired Nutella-Dark Chocolate Cake with Creamy Peanut Butter Mousse and House Made Caramel.  For reservations, call 210-349-8466.

57th Annual Luling Watermelon Thump
Thursday – Sunday, June 24 – 27, prices vary from free to $8 depending on time of day
305 W. Davis St.
Luling, TX 78648
Watermelon seed spitting, melon eating, and more at this festival east of San Antonio.  www.watermelonthump.com

Aldaco’s Chef’s Table
Thursday, June 24, 6 – 8 p.m., $24.95 plus tax and gratuity
Aldaco’s Restaurant
100 E. Hoefgen (in Sunset Station)
Blanca Aldaco will be hosting this three-course dinner, which includes margarita and tequila presentation and live Latin guitar by Adam Zuniga.  The menu consists of the following: choice of Tres Marias Iceberg Wedge Salad or Cream of Mushroom Martini; choice of Grilled Rib Eye Steak or Achiote Pechuga Estillo; and choice of Pastel Tres Leches or Chocolate Flan.  For reservations, call 210-222-0561.

Basil Fest
Saturday, June 26, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., free
Pearl Brewery Complex
312 Pearl Parkway
At 9:30 a..m., Mary Dunford of Natures Herb Farm will teach how to grow and harvest basil.  From 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., children are welcomed to pot their own basil to take home.  The San Antonio Herb Society will have a Mediterranean cooking demonstration at 10:15 a.m.  From 10:45 a.m. – noon, local chefs will compete in the People’s Choice Pesto Challenge; funds raised will go to the San Antonio Food Bank.  www.sanantonioherbmarket.org

Green Fields Market Store Events
Saturday, June 26, free
Green Fields Market
19239 Stone Oak Parkway (at Huebner)
Produce sampling will be from 11 – 3 p.m. and wine sampling will be from noon to 6 p.m.  Pizza making for kids ages 4 – 12 will be 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Real Ale 14th Anniversary Party
Saturday, June 26, noon – 5 p.m., free admission, $5 parking
Real Ale Brewing Company
231 San Saba Ct.
Blanco, TX
The anniversary ale will be released at this anniversary party, which features beer, barbecue and brewery tours.  realalebrewing.com

Great Austin Beer Festival
Saturday, June 26, 4 – 8 p.m., $30 online, $40 at the door
Austin Music Hall
208 Nueces St.
Austin, TX
Explore beers from over 40 breweries near and far. Four-ounce samples are included in the admission price; food is available for purchase.  www.greataustinbeerfestival.com

Frosting Creators of San Antonio “Day of Sharing”
Sunday, June 27, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., $40 regular admission, $25 students with ID
Leon Valley Community Center
6427 Evers Road
Learn from sugar art techniques from demonstrators including Dena Bryngleson, Jacque Benson, Ximena Sempertegui, Linda McClure, and Earlene Moore.  Breakfast and lunch are included.  For more information at to register, see www.frostingcreators.com/classes.html.

Paleo Dinner
Sunday, June 27, 6:30 p.m., $75 plus tax and gratuity
Auden’s Kitchen
700 E. Sonterra Blvd., #1117
Chef Patricia Wenckus will prepare a multi-course dinner following the Paleo Diet.  The proceeds will benefit The Wounded Warrior Project.  For reservations, call 210-494-0070.

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