Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last Nights

No matter how long I'm in Texas for a visit it's never long enough. So when time has flown by and all of a sudden it's the last night, we usually do it up and go out in style. This past trip was no exception. As everyone else in my family (including my sister's boyfriend) had been to Andrew Weissman's latest creation but me and all I had ever heard were the most rave reviews (and also still feeling a lingering sadness over the now-shuttered Le Reve) that was my pick: Il Sogno.
Now I try not to give you too many restaurant reviews because it's frustrating if you're not in the area, and maybe just to me but posting pictures has always seemed like the easy way out. Not being a professional reviewer as well, not even a professional writer, photographer, or blogger, I've been hesitant to take on the role of influencer, especially with the chef-driven out cry against amateur reviews that may be the deciding factor of whether a reader even comes to their restaurant or not. I understand and respect when a chef asks diners not to take pictures and just because I'm a pretty happy, laid back, and optimistic person, don't really want my little blog cluttered with bad reviews anyways when I have that occasional bad meal.

But when the meal is exceptional, the town is wonderful and the restaurant is a bit off the beaten path I will break my little rules, but keep it short and sweet. Even with the recent departure of the executive chef Luca Della Casa and Weissman back on the line, even with a large party the open kitchen looked almost relaxed, well practiced in their art. Everything was excellent, the atmosphere superb, and service was top notch. That's all you really need to know outside of a little food porn, right? So if you are in San Antonio in the near future, or live there but just haven't been, this is still along the Riverwalk, but not in the expected places- in fact it's down a mostly new stretch of peace and quiet that would make for a nice pre/post dinner stroll.
I just love the font and design of the menu. My sister- who's day job is a graphic designer got me into the habit of always being on the lookout for cool fonts.  The bread, a lighter, fluffier (did they sift the flour a few extra times?) focaccia, was great too.

They had about 11 absolutely delicious looking antipasti to choose from on a counter. We went with the 5 option. Antipasti: Lengua (beef tongue), Caprese Salad with housemade mozzarella, Pea Puree with Mint and Ricotta Salata, Gnocchi with roasted vegetables and Seafood Salad- simply mixed with a vinaigrette
Our Shared Appetizer: A ravoli stuffed with mixed scallops, shrimp and lobster, covered in a green goddess like sauce and topped with crawfish.
My Pasta: First off, what are those little pastas called and how in the world do you make them? Shrimp and mussels in a  delicious saffron cream sauce.

My sister's Pasta: A spaghetti-like pasta, but hollow in the middle and perfectly al dente. With scallops and shrimp, then topped with bread crumbs. It was filling and yet light.
My Mom's Pasta: Ravioli in a Beet Sauce with Goat Cheese. I forgot what else was in it but the beet was excellent and so unique. A great summertime dish I'm thinking of ways to recreate at home.

And my Dad got the shrimp risotto, which I didn't photograph but tasted and was so excellent and creamy. A little rich, but in the way a good risotto should be.
And the dessert. I forget the exact descriptions but a sponge cake rolled up with strawberries, Chantilly cream and whipped cream with a side of homemade strawberry ice cream. I am absolutely obsessed with strawberries come springtime and south Texas produces some of the best. 

Like what I did here? The happy family (minus Mom behind the lens) post meal. And yes, that's me, though I'm sure most of you probably knew that already...

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