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Griffin to Go: Restaurant Week Brings a Welcome Mix of Old and New


Kirby's Angus New York strip

Kirby’s Angus New York strip

Culinaria’s Restaurant Week, which is actually two weeks this summer, offers the chance to see what some old friends are up to while introducing us to new places on the city’s dining scene.

Kirby's braised lamb shank

Kirby’s braised lamb shank

And so it was with visits to the new Alberico Fine Wine and the reliable Kirby’s Steakhouse on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Let’s start with Kirby’s, which has long gotten into the spirit of Restaurant Week by offering a varied menu and by being the first to extend the special an additional week.

This year’s special menu, available for $35, begins with an extra appetizer, available for $7 — and it’s worth every penny. It’s a chorizo-stuffed quail atop a bed of smoky jalapeno coleslaw, both of which are as fine as you can imagine. The spicy sausage offered a nice contrast to the moist fowl while the slaw had the right balance of heat and creaminess to make each of want more.

The menu begins with starters that included your choice of two bacon-wrapped scallops with spinach, fried artichokes or a baked Caprese, a kind of Napoleon of tomato slices topped with a Boursin-stuffed portobello mushroom. All disappeared quickly.

Kirby's baked Caprese

Kirby’s baked Caprese

Then arrived the real star of the evening: a rustic braised lamb shank in a meaty rosemary thyme au jus that was pure comfort food, tender perfection in every bite. A 10-ounce Angus New York strip lacked the velvety nature of prime, but the beef flavor won out. Glazed salmon topped with pecans was a little sweet for my tastes, but one of my friends enjoyed it as well as the red bell pepper risotto that came with it. There’s also a prosciutto-wrapped filet that might call us back for a second visit.

Dessert options included butterscotch chocoflan, which was a little on the dry side, and a strawberry mojito sundae that hit all the right buttons on a sweltering August evening, thanks to a lively combination of berries, whipped cream, mint and a touch of rum.

We forgot that Sunday was half-off wine night at Kirby’s, so imagine our surprise when we got the bill and noticed that our bottle of 2008 Ridge Lytton Springs was listed at $27.50, instead of the usual $55. It was just the right note to end the evening on.

Special mention must be made of the excellent service, which made the visit all the more special.

Alberico Fine Wine's tuna

Alberico Fine Wine’s tuna

We were looking forward to our first visit to Alberico Fine Wine, and we were impressed with the wine program as well as the help we received from the sommelier. The restaurant and wine bar, located in the Yard next to Olmos Perk, offers all of its wines by the glass and at a good price. Plus, you can enjoy it in your choice of environs: a light and cozy bar area; a cool, spacious dining area; or in the inviting wine room.

It’s too bad that the food largely failed to match the wine experience. Dad’s Salad was a single leaf of romaine lettuce topped with diced unripe tomato, a few paltry cubes of avocado and strands of red onion. The watermelon and feta salad with arugula was far better, in fact the refreshing combination was the best dish of the evening.

Duck medallions were served in a sauce that was far too sweet, throwing off the pleasantness of the dry Barolo we’d ordered. Just-seared tuna with grilled vegetables were good, but they were served atop a mound of risotto that was gummy and cold.

Alberico's watermelon and feta salad

Alberico’s watermelon and feta salad

A salt grilled peach struck the right note, but it was atop a nearly flavorless sorbet while a pair of creme brulees were a little too gritty when they should have been silken and creamy.

It didn’t help matters that our waiter was indifferent to his job duties and seemed to avoid our table, one of only three or four occupied in the place.

In the end, it was all a part of what makes Restaurant Week special. Here’s to more adventures in eating.

Kirby’s Steakhouse
123 N. Loop 1604 E.
(210) 404-2221
kirbyssteakhouse.com

Alberico Fine Wine
5221 McCullough Ave.
(210) 320-VINO (8466)
albericofinewine.com

 

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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Biga, Kirby’s and Sea Island


Kirby’s Alaskan King Crab Cake part of their Restaurant Week menu.

Restaurant Week extensions

Culinaria’s Restaurant Week last week was a hit — and at least three restaurants will be extending their Restaurant Week offerings. These include Biga on the Banks, 203 S. Saint Mary’s St.; Auden’s Kitchen, 700 E. Sonterra Blvd;  and Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E.

Restaurant Week featured special menus at lunch, for $15 and dinner, for $35. You can check out their menus by clicking here.

“A to Zealand” at Rock San Thai and Sushi Restaurant

Chef Rocky Niravong has planned a great four-course dinner to accent wines from
Argentina and New Zealand. Dinner begins with a Pinot Gris from New Zealand and move to two great reds from Argentina.  The finish will be a Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough.  Cecil Flentge will be there to discuss the wines as you enjoy the special dishes Niravong has for the night.

Event is Saturday, September 15, 7 p.m., $39.95 per person, not including tax or tip. For reservations call: 210-561-0011. Rock San Thai and Sushi Restaurant is at 5238 De Zavala Road.

Kids Eat Free, Mondays at Sea Island

Check out Sea Island Shrimp House’ new promotion, kids eat free every Monday, now through through Sept. 30. The promotion, which is valid every Monday all day, includes one free kid’s meal with the purchase of one adult entrée.  The kid’s meals feature one of four entrées and include a hush puppy, a choice of a side dish or Mott’s Applesauce and a free fountain drink. The entrees are Shrimp Bites, Fish Bites, Hamburger and Chicken Tenders.

Each Kid’s Meal costs $4.95 when ordered off of the menu, so a family of four ordering two adult entrées dining with two children 12 or under could save $9.90.

Mango Pork Carnitas Tacos at Barriba Cantina.

Music, Mexican street food on the River Walk

Barriba Cantina on the San Antonio River Walk is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week, and features Mexican street food that is available until closing time.  Happy hour specials are available every Monday through Friday between 3 – 6 p.m. ($4 drafts, $4 wells and $2 off all Barriba Cantina signature cocktails).

Barriba also offers live music seven days a week, and during the day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  There is no cover charge for the music. Music schedules are updated regularly on Barriba Cantina’s website. See what’s coming up!

The Hangar introduces new Smoked Meat Sandwich

The Hangar, a local bar and restaurant in the Alamo Heights area, at 8203 Broadway, introduced a new Smoked Meat Sandwich this month. Their cooks season a slab of brisket, then it is rubbed and cured for five days, then slow-cooked for five hours. It is served on rye bread with mustard, a pickle spear and home-cut fries. The sandwich is available Fridays through Sundays until they run out.

 

 

 

 

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Say ‘I Love You’ by Making Reservations Early


You can treat your sweetheart to breakfast, lunch or dinner on Valentine's Day.

Valentine’s Day vies with Mother’s Day for being the biggest dining out day of the year. That means you need reservations, and the sooner you make them, the better. Otherwise, you may have to wait an hour or two with your loved one for the possibility of a table opening up.

Many places are offering specials over the weekend before Valentine’s Day, for those who want to celebrate a little earlier to avoid the crush.

Some prices listed below are per person, others are per couple. A few are listed per dish. Tax and tip are not included, unless otherwise indicated.

18 Oaks at JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa, 23808 Resort Parkway, 210-491-5841 — The special Valentine’s dinner menu includes a series of appetizer choices, such as oysters on the half shell ($16) or roasted beet salad with goat cheese ($14) as well as the following entrées: 8-ounce filet mignon ($38), 16-ounce rib-eye ($45), baked stuffed lobster ($50), Windy Bar Ranch short ribs ($36), seared Scottish salmon ($34) or olive oil-poached monkfish ($35).

Achiote at the Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St., 210-224-1234 — The Valentine’s menu is available Feb. 10-11 and 14.   The special consists of a Spicy Smoked Avocado Cucumber Shooter and Seared Ahi Tuna Skewer with Citrus Ponzu, followed by Infused Watermelon and Fried Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula, Frisée, Radicchio and Thai Basil Vinaigrette. The entrée is Angus Beef Filet and Gulf Red Fish with Shiitake Mushroom Ragu and Rock Lobster Papaya Salsa. Dessert is Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Tahitian Vanilla Custard and a Dipped Strawberry. The cost is $50 a person and includes a glass of Champagne. www.achioterivercafe.com

Aldaco’s at Sunset Station, 100 E. Hoefgen St, 210-222-0561 — Live flamenco and Spanish guitar will be offered on Valentine’s Day at 7 and 9 p.m. The restaurant is also offering a five-course special: bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese, Ensalada de Patatas y Atun (Russian salad with seared tuna), Gambas con Chorizo y Pan de Tomate (shrimp sautéed with chorizo and garlic, tomato garlic toasts), Champinones y Puntitas de Solomillo al Ajillo (roasted mushrooms and beef tenderloin with garlic sauce) and Flan de Cafe (coffee flan with Grand Marnier cream and shaved chocolate). Cost is $55 a person.

Red and gold beet salad.

Antlers at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, 210-647-1234 — The special Valentine’s menu begins with an amuse bouche of  roasted pepper, goat cheese and basil, followed by a choice of  open-faced petite lobster rolls, brioche and tarragon oil or chile-crusted antelope medallions, crispy shallots and orange oil. A golden and crimson beet salad with blood orange, fennel,feta and roasted hazelnuts is served before your choice of cider-glazed rack of lamb, basil and mint gelée, carrot parsnip purée, warm potato salad with wild boar bacon; grilled salmon, smoked pepper and lemon quinoa, spicy Napa cabbage slaw with cilantro dressing; Niman Ranch filet, pan-roasted morels, purple flowering kale, sweet potato matchsticks, consommé of veal and fresh herbs; or Chile black bean cakes, avocado salsa, cumin and lime yogurt sauce.  Dessert is dark chocolate custard, roasted balsamic strawberries and vanilla crisp. The cost is $68 a person.

Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., 210-225-0722 — The special Valentine’s menu begins with a choice of carrot soup with lemon, honey and cumin; shrimp croquettes with olives; or roasted asparagus salad with raspberries and brie. Second course is a choice of hot-smoked salmon with roasted broccolini and hazelnuts, purple mashers, tomatoes and dill or beef tenderloin with corn pudding, poblano chimichurri, and guajillo chile sauces. Dessert options include Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Soup with strawberry sorbet, strawberry rosewater mousse, rhubarb chips and rose petals; Turtle Cheesecake with caramel sauce, toasted pecans and pecan lace tuille; Chocolate Amaretto and Raspberry Pavé, layers of chocolate cake soaked with amaretto, raspberry ganache, candied almonds and raspberry coulis; Orange Canolli, citrus cookie filled with orange cream, vanilla citrus salad and mint oil; and Coconut Dacquoise, coconut pastry cream, tropical fruits, passion fruit sorbet and pineapple chips. the cost of the special is $57 a person or $75 with paired wines. La Rosa’s Photography will be here to take Valentine pictures.

The Bright Shawl, 819 August St., 210-225-6366 — Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a special Valentine’s dinner, which include your choice of Wild Mushroom Bisque or Bright Shawl Signature Salad Greens with Sautéed Goat Cheese Dollars and Cranberries. Main course options are Stuffed Breast of Chicken with Wilted Spinach, Cream, Greek Feta Cheese, Garlic Confit and Lemon Butter Sauce ($26) or Angus Beef Steak Medallions á la Diane, Surf & Turf ($34). Dessert is a Fresh Berry Fruit Tarte or White Chocolate Chambord Napoleon. www.brightshawl.com

Cibolo Moon at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa, 23808 Resort Parkway, 210-491-5841 — The Valentine’s Day special is offered from 5 to 10 p.m. It begins with a choice of appetizer: foie gras with fig bacon jam and brioche or grilled jalapeño poppers wrapped in bacon and filled with cream cheese. Choice of entrée: redfish on the half shell with red chile butter and vegetable; filet and scallop with corn purée, jalapeño and smoked gnocchi; or the Blue Plate Special with seasonal vegetable. Dessert is a duo of dark chocolate Snickers torte and banana pudding.  The cost is $55 a person plus tax and tip. The full dinner menu will also be available.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, 210-821-5600 — Dinner hours on Valentine’s Day are 5:30 to 10 p.m. All  entrées are served with appetizer, cup of soup or house salad, fresh vegetables and dessert. Main course options include Breast of Chicken with Montrachet Sauce ($35), Fresh Salmon Filet with Lemon-Butter and Capers ($35), Shrimp Lyonnaise with Wild Rice Blend ($45) , Tenderloin of Beef Savoy ($45), and Veal Scalloppini with Mushroom and Cognac Sauce ($45). The following is served with appetizer, cup of soup and house salad, fresh vegetables and dessert: Trilogy of Lobster Tail with Lemon Butter, Rack of Lamb Provençal and Tenderloin of Beef with Rossini Sauce ($55). Gourmet breakfast delivery, including a flower for Valentine’s Day, is available for $28.50 a person, plus tax and delivery fee.

EZ’s Brick Oven and Grill, various locations — EZ’s will be open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Feb. 14 and will offer two specials. The three-course dinner for two, starting with an organic spinach salad tossed with blueberries, artichoke hearts, toasted walnuts and house-made lemon ginger vinaigrette or a Caesar salad. It’s followed by an 11-inch Mediterranean pizza or calzone, featuring sweet Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, roasted peppers and more or another favorite pizza or calzone.  For dessert, choose between a Blue Bell ice cream hot fudge sundae or a Valentine’s Day Big Red Blue Bell float!  Two glasses of wine and a bottle of sparkling Pellegrino water are included for $25 per couple. Exchange the two glasses of wine for a full bottle for $32.  If you just want dessert, Be My Big Red features  Blue Bell Ice Cream and Big Red for $4.

Fig Tree Restaurant,515 Villita St., 210-225-2111 — A three-course Valentine’s special is available Feb. 10-14. It begins with a choice of Ahi Tuna au Poivre and Hearts of Palm with Uzu Dressing or Seared Diver Scallop with Truffle Nage and Braised Leeks. Main course is a choice of Braised Waygu Short Rib, Creamy Polenta, Fresh Oregon Truffles and Natural Jus or Lobster and Saffron Risotto, English Peas, Spanish Chorizo, Pequillo Peppers and Lobster Foam. Dessert is either Chocolate Pavé with Berry Sauce or Raspberry Frangipane Tart with Almond Anglaise. Each meal is served with a glass of Champagne. Cost is $75 a person. Regular menu is also available.

Filet mignon a popular choice for a romantic dinner.

Francesca’s at Sunset at the Westin La Cantera, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, 210-558-2253 — The Valentine’s special is a three-course dinner that begins with the following appetizer choices: sweet white asparagus vichyssoise with shaved black truffle, white truffle-mint oil, white asparagus; surf and turf ensalada with organic romaine lettuce, chilled-steamed black mussels, Texas orange vinegar drizzle and pecan dust; or Haute Caprese with Burrata cheese, heirloom tomato, hoja santa herb, Champagne vinegar, Hawaiian black sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.  Main course options: Grilled lamb T-bone with mint chimichurri, Peruvian potato croquettes, yellow wax beans; seared lemon fish with fresh roasted beet and spinach rounds, mini kiwi blocks and orange foam; filet mignon with wilted red Russian kale, heirloom carrot crisps, purple carrot-cauliflower purée; or Scallops Salteado with multi-colored fingerling potato salad, quinoa pilaf, mustard vinaigrette. Dessert is a choice of a   banana split or tiramisù. Cost is $65 a person. Holiday hotel packages are also available for those with more than food on their minds.

Frederick’s, 7701 Broadway, 210-828-9050;  Frederick’s Bistro, 14439 N.W. Military Hwy., 210-888-1500 — The special menu includes choice of Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops with Leeks Ragout and Caviar, Spring Rolls with Mint Cilantro and Lettuce, Stuffed Quail and Mousse of Foie Gras  Terrine Platter, Assorted Seafood Delicacy or Tuna Tartar with Citrus Vinaigrette. Second course is Frederick’s Salad and Champagne Hazelnut Oil Vinaigrette, followed by a choice of Glazed Duck Breast with Orange Ginger Sauce with Wild Rice, Beef Tenderloin with Jumbo Shrimp and Roquefort Fresh Herb Sauce, Sea Bass and Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Napoleon with Champagne Caviar Velouté, Fresh Maine Lobster and Crab Navarin served with Spring Vegetables on a Bed of Parppedele Pasta or Veal Strip Loin with Foie Gras with Mushroom Duxelle and Madeira Sauce. Dessert is a choice of Frozen Lemon Grass Parfait with Mango and Passion Fruit Purées, Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cake or Dark and White Chocolate Terrine. The dinner is priced at $90 per person.

Kirby’s Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E., 210-404-2221 — The special Valentine’s menu begins with a  choice of one of the following: Maryland Style Crab Cake,  Grilled Herb Polenta with Sautéed Baby Spinach and Robiola Cheese, Peppered Lamb Lollipops with a Cognac Button Mushroom Sauce and Totten Bay Oysters on the Half Shell with a Cilantro Lime Mignonette. Course two options: Chopped Salad,  Classic Caesar Salad,  Salad Lyonnaise with a White Truffle Vinaigrette  or Lobster Bisque.  Main course options: 7- or 10-ounce Blue Ribbon Filet with a choice of sauces,  18-ounce Rosewood Smoked Rib-eye with Signature Rub,  16-ounce prime New York strip, Lobster Newburg, Australian Barramundi Oscar or  Braised Lamb Shank.  All entrées accompanied by Lobster Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed White Truffle Wild Mushrooms and Grilled Asparagus. Dessert is Belgian Dark Chocolate Nirvana Cake with Tahitian Vanilla Bean Strawberry Compote. Cost is $85 a person.

Las Canarias, Omni La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St., 210-518-1063 — Executive Chef John Brand has created a special three-course and five-course menu to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The three-course menu includes choice of Roasted Shiitake Mushroom Bisque or Blue Bonnet Farms Hot House Green Lettuces; entrée choice of Pan-Roasted Local Farm Raised Chicken Breast with Swiss Chard, Yukon Gold Potato Purée and Natural Jus or Creekstone Farm’s Braised Beef with Lamb’s Grist Mill Polenta, Baby Carrots and Veal Demi-Glace. Dessert is a Valrhona Chocolate Tasting with Guanaja Chocolate Cake, Equatorial Mousse, Caraibe Panna Cotta and Caramelia Gelato. The five-course menu includes Dungeness Crab and Jerusalem Artichoke Velouté with Sea Urchin Roe; Gundermann Acres Beets with Local Watercress and Chèvre; Lavender Honey-Lacquered Duck Breast and Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Torched Figs and Fiddlehead Ferns; Tasting of Wagyu Beef Prime Rib with Chanterelle Risotto and Sauce Perigourdine; and Valrhona Chocolate Tasting of Guanaja Chocolate Cake, Equatorial Mousse, Caraibe Panna Cotta and Caramelia Gelato. The menus are available Feb. 10-14. The three-course meal costs $125 a person, while the five-course costs $150 a person. The regular menu will also be available.  Las Canarias’ regular champagne brunch offering will be available on Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost of the Champagne brunch is $39.95 a person.

Little Rhein Steak House, 231 S. Alamo St.,  210-225-2111 — The four-course Valentine’s special is available Feb. 10-14. Start with a choice of Shrimp and Crab Cocktail or Bacon Wrapped Quail Legs, followed by either a Caesar salad or Beefsteak Tomatoes with Blue Cheese Crumbles. Main course options are served with asparagus, sautéed wild mushrooms and au gratin potatoes plus your choice of the following: Prime Rib Eye, Filet Mignon, Grilled Salmon and Lobster Tail. Desserts include New York-style Cheesecake or Crème Brulee. Glass of Champagne is included. Cost is $68 a person. Regular menu is available.

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 12255 Huebner Road, 210-561-9700 — The restaurant is offering a three-course special beginning with a choice of  Zuppa di Aragosta (Lobster Bisque), Carpaccio Cipriani (Raw Thin Cut of Beef Tenderloin),  Baby Arugula Salad and Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, Mustard Aioli, Caesar Salad, Insalata di Mare (Cold Salad, Shrimp, Calamari, Scungilli, Diver Scallops, Garlic, Celery, Extra Virgin Olive Oil) or Caprese (Tomato Slices and Fresh Mozzarella di Latte, Basil and Olive Oil). Main course options:  Filetto e Capesante (Grilled Filet Mignon and Diver Scallop, Toasted Garlic Vegetables and Basil Mashed Potatoes, Veal Reduction) or Pesce alla Luce (Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass, Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto, Toasted Garlic Vegetables). Dessert choices are Spumoni,  Crème Brûlée or Chocolate Lava Torta with Vanilla Gelato. The cost is $36.95 per person.

Lüke, 125 E. Houston St., 210-227-5853 — The restaurant will host a private dining event featuring a prix-fix four-course dinner with wine pairings on Feb. 14. Seating begins at 7 p.m. in Lüke’s upstairs private dining space. Menu highlights include pan-seared scallops with Allen Benton’s bacon and spiced pumpkin “love letters.” Dark chocolate torte with blood orange sorbet is dessert. Cost is $75 a person. Prepaid reservations required. The downstairs dining room is also accepting dinner reservations.  lukesanantonio.com

Max’s Wine Dive, 340 E. Basse Road, 210-444-9547 — The Valentine’s Couple’s Menu begins with the Chef’s Choice Amuse Bouche and a half glass of bubbles, followed by Baked Jalapeño and Oysters “Max-a-fellers.” Second course is a choice of Pan-seared Veal Chop with balsamic red onion confit, twice baked white cheddar new potatoes, and Crab and Asparagus Bavorois or Cracklin’ Chicken and Butternut Squash Risotto Dessert:  Pandora’s Chocolate Box of Love (filled with fresh berries and a white chocolate and port mousse). A take-away Valentine’s treat: chocolate and gold laden truffles. The cost is $75 a couple; wine pairings available at an additional $25 per person. The regular menu and items from the couple’s menu will also be available. www.maxswinedive.com

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, 830-438-2747 — Mike’s will be offering a Valentine’s special Feb. 10-14 (the regular menu will be available Feb. 10-11). The multi-course meal will include Lobster Bisque, followed by Shrimp and Grits with Jumbo Shrimp. Entree choices include Pan-seared Sea Bass over Warm Fresh Spinach, Wild Mushroom and Crabmeat Salad with Lemon Scented Creole Cardinal Sauce; Tender Filet Medallion over Feta and Green Onion Potato Cake, Haricot Vert and Wild Mushroom Marchand de Vin Sauce; Pecan and Herb Crusted Lamb Chops with Apple Mint Chutney with Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Haricot Vert. Dessert, served with a glass of Prosecco, is a choice of Chocolate Tort with Warm Chocolate Glaze, Raspberry Sauce and Fresh Raspberries; Molten Chocolate Lava Cake; or Strawberry Shortcake with Balsamic and Black Pepper Syrup. The cost is $60 a person.

Ostra at Mokara Hotel & Spa, 212 W. Crockett St., 210-396-5817 — Ostra’s regular a la carte menu is available during its normal hours throughout Valentine’s Day weekend. Additionally, on Valentine’s Day only, Ostra will feature specials during dinner service, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Paesanos 1604, 3622 Paesanos Parkway, 210-493-1604 — The Valentine’s dinner is served with your choice of a bottle of Solletico Prosecco, La Crema Chardonnay or La Crema Pinot Noir. It accompanies two entrées of Classic Shrimp Paesano with pasta and two house salads, plus bread, followed by Limoncello Cheesecake. The cost is $95 per couple plus tax and tip.

Paesanos Riverwalk, 111 W. Crockett St., 210-226-8490 — Valentine’s seatings are at 7 and 9 p.m.  Dinner begins with an optional appetizer sampler for two (for an $14.95 a person) of Parmesan Crusted Artichoke Hearts and Giant Calamari with Duet Of Sauces and Crab Cake Croquettes. The special begins with  House Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette, Olives, Tomatoes and Feta Cheese.   Entree choices include Shrimp Paesano with Lemon Butter and Garlic; a Grilled Ribeye Steak and a Herb Garlic Béarnaise Sauce; Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast with Linguini, Capers and Lemon Butter Sauce;  Grilled Ahi Tuna and a Basil Parmesan Vinaigrette; or Cheese Tortellini with Basil Pesto Cream and Pine Nuts.  Dessert is Lemon Mascarpone Cream Cake. The  children’s menu is a choice of Lasagna, Manicotti or Spaghetti with Butter or Tomato Sauce. Iced tea and soft drinks included.  The cost for the meal is  $51.95 a person plus tax and 20 percent tip; the cost for children ages 9 and under is $25.95 per child plus tax and 20 percent tip.

The Cupid Quesadilla at Paloma Blanca.

Paloma Blanca, 5800 Broadway, 210-822-6151 — The restaurant is offering the following specials Feb. 10-16: Sabor de Amor ($29.99), includes a 7-ounce filet mignon grilled “au” carbon and topped with chipotle butter; Cajita Corazón (19.99), a chicken breast filled with champiñones (mushrooms), corn and Oaxaca cheese, covered in a creamy poblano sauce and topped with melted cheese; and Quesadilla de Chocolate Cupido ($9.99), Chocolate Abuelita ice-cream sandwiched between two flat chocolate buñuelos drizzled in a Kahlua reduction.

Q on the Riverwalk at the Downtown Hyatt, 123 Losoya St., 210-222-1234, ext. 4240 — The Valentine’s menu will be available Feb. 10-11 and 14. It begins with an amuse-bouche of  Gulf Blue Crab Cake Paddlefish Caviar, followed by Hearts of Locally Grown Organic Romaine Lettuce with Heirloom Tomato, Aged Asiago Cheese and Moët-Blood Orange Vinaigrette. After an intermezzo of Passion Fruit Sorbet, dine on Chateaubriand with Fennel Bulbs, Swiss Chard, Baby Patti Pan Squash, Golden Beets and Chateau Potatoes with a choice of sauces. Dessert is Strawberry La Bomba, an explosion of strawberry and amaretto cream in an almond-flecked cake. The cost is $100 per couple and includes a glass of Champagne per person. www.qontheriverwalk.com

Romo’s Cafe, 7627 Culebra Road, 210-521-7666 — The four-course Feb. 14 special includes she crab bisque and foie gras garden, followed by a palette cleanser of tarragon sorbet and Champagne. For entrees, choose two of the following: beet and potato wrapped seabass with citrus beurre blanc; crab raviolo with crab aioli; handcut Texas rib-eye with red wine redux; lamb with a green peppercorn demi; and pheasant with herb l’orange. Choose your sides: potatoes gratin, haricot vert, spinach saute or herb roasted potatoes. Dessert is a trio of raspberry devil’s chocolate cake, cheesecake with honey and figs, and RoMo’s chocolate bar. Cost is $80 per couple.  A wine pairing including two special blends from the Boerne Wine Company is available for an additional $35 per couple. Book your reservation before Feb. 8 and receive a special gift (chocolate-dipped strawberries) and a rose for your date. On Feb. 11, the restaurant will celebrate Singles Awareness Day with a special menu for those Anti-Valentines.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., 210-299-1600 — The restaurant is offering special Valentine’s Day cocktails and a decadent chocolate dessert in addition to the regular offerings. Drink specials, priced from $7 to $9, include the Brazilian Rose, the Brazilian Kiss, the Raspberry Cream Dream and the decadent Milky Way Martini. The special dessert is a Triple Layer Chocolate Mousse Cake just right for sharing.

Tost Bistro and Bar, 14415 Blanco Road, 210-408-2670 — The Valentine’s Day special includes a multi-course meal that begins with a seared scallop on top of crispy roasted red beet risotto cake with spicy chimichurri, followed by Tost Bibb Salad with lardons, shaved carrots, cherry tomatoes with creamy buttermilk chive dressing or Butternut Squash Bisque. Main course choices are a pan-seared filet topped with truffle hollandaise with roasted wild mushrooms, grilled asparagus and creamy Yukon gold mash potatoes or crab-stuffed red snapper with roasted fingerling potatoes, spinach and a Champagne thyme beurre blanc. End with a choice of white chocolate mousse with fresh berries or house-made sorbet. The cost is $58.00 a person.

Two Step Restaurant and Cantina, 9840 W. Loop 1604 N., 210-688-2686 — The special Valentine’s Day menu includes a shared entrée, with your choice of 12-ounce Prime Rib Slow Smoked for 10 hours or 10-ounce Blackened Beef Tenderloin with Poblano Pesto Cream Sauce. Either choice is served with six Hot Buttered Shrimp with Tabasco Lemon Sauce and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes. Dessert is El Rey Chocolate Silk Custard. Two glasses of wine, your choice of Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay or Cabernet, included. Price is $50 per couple. twosteprestaurant.com

Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, 210-690-3334 — Z’Tejas will offer a three-course Valentine’s Day menu Feb. 11–14. The menu features a Baja shrimp martini to start, followed by a choice of ancho grilled pork tenderloin, peppercorn-crusted filet, pan-seared sea scallops or pepita-crusted chicken. A white chocolate mousse with raspberries and PAMA pomegranate syrup will be available for dessert. Accompany the meal with Valentine’s Day cocktails featuring PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur. Menu items are priced individually.

Restaurateurs, if you would like to add your Valentine’s information, email griffin@savorsa.com or walker@savorsa.com.

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Kirby’s Lays On the Flavor


Kirby's duck confit is served with foie gras and a blackberry-veal sauce.

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse has produced a Restaurant Week menu that sounded so good I’m planning on going twice, just to try an array of the dishes being offered.

My first visit, on Tuesday evening, was spent with friends celebrating their 58th anniversary. And if that weren’t special enough, the food, some excellent wine and great service managed to push everything over the top.

Most of us in the group started the evening with slivers of tender duck confit presented in a succulent pool of lightly salty duck fat. On top was a judicious bit of foie gras that practically melted into the duck. A blackberry-veal sauce on the side tasted great, but it was almost unnecessary given the standalone perfection of the duck and the foie gras. One taste of that decadent combination and my toes were definitely curling. A sip of icy cold Mersault, with a steely undercurrent slicing through some lovely apple, completed the picture in high style. The other appetizer option is the sage-infused crab cake, which one of us said she thoroughly enjoyed. (I’ll try that on my next visit. If I can get past the duck …)

Kirby's at night.

There are five entrée options for the main course, including halibut and a large pork chop atop maple butter. I had enjoyed the chop last year at this time, so I decided to go with the Australian rack of lamb, with four meaty chops presented a beautifully red-at-the-center medium rare, as ordered. A sauce that tasted of dried mushroom, veal stock and butter gave the meat an even great kick, all of which were complemented by a merlot from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Several friends also enjoyed the Veal Oscar, a 5-ounce filet mignon with jumbo lump crab meat on top. The velvety meat ably demonstrated chef Daniel Nemec’s way with a steak, making you want more, though both found the small cut to be just right. (Larger cuts are available at an additional cost, as our waiter pointed out.)

Side dishes of sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes were served family-style.

Dessert options included the signature chocolate spice cake, which is served warm and never fails to elicit a smile; a key lime pie that was pleasantly tart and creamy; and a Grand Marnier crème brûlée that bore no trace of orange or alcohol flavor, but did taste like pure whipped cream with a sugar crust on top. When I explained to the waiter that I was diabetic, he brought a welcome cup of fresh berries instead.

I would like to bring up two slight drawbacks to the evening that prompted more laughs than grumbles. One is that the noise level in the place, packed to the gills on a Tuesday night, was high. Maybe dinner in the now-smoke-free bar would have been a little more conducive to philosophical discourse — not that we had that in mind.

Australian rack of lamb with a shiitake-veal sauce.

The other is that the dining room is dark. Too dark to read the wine list. We had to borrow a flashlight from our waiter to do that. But it meant no photos of the happy couple, my other friends or even the dining area itself.

So what? The food and the fellowship combined to make the evening a joyous occasion. That’s what Kirby’s hopes to offer, and on that evening, it succeeded brilliantly. Now, for the return visit …

All Restaurant Week menus are $35 a person. For more, check out the Culinaria ad at the top of this page.

Kirby’s is offering its Restaurant Week menu through Sept. 3.

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse
123 N. Loop 1604 E.
Dinner: Daily
210-404-2221
kirbyssteakhouse.com

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