Friday, January 3, 2014

Great Addition to the San Antonio Food Scene

I am constantly complaining about how there aren't enough good places to eat in San Antonio - sorry fellow San Antonians, but it really is true.  Once you've eaten in some truly amazing food towns, it's hard to appreciate the food in San Antonio.  Before you all blow up my inbox with your local faves, let me just say that I exclude Mexican food from my previous statement.  I could eat Mexican food everyday and never tire of it and we've got some spectacular choices here in San Antonio.  What we don't have is a good variety of locally-owned, consistently tasty restaurants.  We have made huge strides in the past few years and for that I am grateful.

One of my favorite restaurants is Luke, owned by Chef John Besh of New Orleans fame.  DH and I love the food and the atmosphere of this unique eatery that combines German and French cuisine.  We have invited countless friends and family to join us at Luke for a nice dinner.  Recently, a little birdie told me that the head chef of Luke, Steven McHugh, was opening his own restaurant at the Pearl Brewery in a beautiful 100-year-old building. I further learned it was to be called Cured.

As a girl brought up in a large German family, I have a true appreciation for cured meat and knowing that this restaurant was also in the spirit of New Orleans cooking, it was a must-try.

The old building is downright gorgeous and I love the interior as well.  If you peak through the front doors, you can see the various hanging meats that are being cured.  It is a sure sign of what is to come.  DH and I had the charcutrie and everything was delicious.  I personally liked the jalepeno sausage and the pate.  One dollar of each selection on your charcutrie board goes to charity - such a nice gesture.

The menu was superb - we wanted to order each and every dish, from the pork belly to the cassoulet.  

Make sure you call for a reservation as Cured is the new hotspot. Luckily, DH had us covered and we actually ended up sitting at the chef's table.  I enjoyed sitting there and watching Chef McHugh run his kitchen.  It was also fun because I had a front row seat to view all of the dishes on the menu as they were prepared.  Check out the Smoked Duck Ham in its gloriously creative presentation.

Do you see the tall red can in the background?  It is some kind of contraption that sucked air in from the top and had pieces wood inside that the chef lit on fire and then it shot smoke out of the hose! The chef carefully inserted the hose under the glass dome and viola! What you are seeing in that glass dome is actual smoke!  I really wanted to order this dish just for the theatrical experience, but other tasty concoctions were also calling my name.

This dish was incredible - Beer Can Mussels served with fries and whipped lemon aioli.  I have made the traditional French dish of Mussels in White Wine before and DH declares it to be his favorite meal that I make.  I wasn't sure how this dish would turn out made with beer, but I was undoubtedly impressed.  DH had the flat iron steak with mushrooms and it was delicious.  We kept saying, "wow, mmmm, wow" over and over again!  Every dish that came out of that kitchen looked amazing and we will happily return soon.

I'm so glad that we now have a restaurant like Cured in San Antonio.  As we were leaving, the Maitre'D asked us if we'd be returning for brunch.  DH asked, "what's on the menu?" and the response couldn't have been better.  "Grillades"
Grillades and grits is my favorite dish to order at brunch in New Orleans.  I dream about it, discuss it with DH while en route and abandon all my politically correct feelings about veal for this dish.  If you've never tried it, you haven't treated your taste buds to one of the best flavors on earth!

While I would love to keep this special restaurant all to myself, I've got to make sure San Antonians and tourists alike help keep it alive and strong.  Go to Cured - it will be a dining experience you won't soon forget.

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