I was curious when I received a message on Urban Spoon inviting me to "San Antonio's first and only underground restaurant." The menu sounded appealing, and I R.S.V.P.'d for Sophie and me--without telling Sophie the menu had lamb and fish.
I texted Ian that it was in a private residence when we arrived, and he replied "How is food? Do u still have your kidneys?" No worries. We were greeted at the door with offers of libations and appetizers. Sophie was underwhelmed by the lamb tacos, but I assure you, they were delightful.
Sophie choked down one. I choked down 3, or maybe it was 4, but who's counting. Accented with fresh mint and cojita cheese--these bite sized tacos were a promising start.
Smoked Rainbow Trout and Chive Cheesecake: apple, mint, almond, jalepeno syrup, bagel crust
Probably Sophie's favorite item on the menu and a close second for me--she realized that smoked meat, even if it's fish, has bacon-like properties. The jalepeno syrup was a bright, almost neon green and had just a little kick. This dish didn't suffer by by being served room temperature.
Roasted Organic Sweet Corn Soup with fennel creme brulee: The soup plate with the creme brulee was brought out and then the chef poured the soup into each plate tableside. My favorite dish with well balanced seasonings. I am not sure if the creme brulee added anything other than visual appeal--I didn't really taste the fennel.
But as you can see, that didn't stop me from eating the entire bowl.
Braised South Texas Heritage Pork Belly: smoked cheddar grits, sous vide scrambled egg, tarragon puree. Sophie stage whispered, "I hate grits." She then proceed to eat all of them. I could have eaten an entire bowl. The pork belly was delicious as well but a little chewier than I would have expected a braised pork belly to be. The scrambled eggs were pitch perfect as far as texture for me, just wish they had been warm.
Mustard Seed Crusted Gulf Redfish Chop: ragout of black eyed peas and smoked ham, cornbread crumbs and lemon fish bone sauce. An interesting, if monochromatic presentation. Suffered greatly for lack of seasoning. Even the peas with the smoked ham could have used more salt. Again, not warm enough for my liking either.
Spiced Gala apple tart, pecan shortbread, Jack Daniels ice cream: Overall pretty good. My crust was a tad overcooked, but not burnt. The Jack Daniels ice cream had the barest of bourbon flavor, but made a nice addition to my after dinner coffee (btw, excellent coffee).
The chef and staff were extremely friendly and attentive. He came out after dinner and answered questions and provided us with a little take home gift of rosemary and olive oil cake with lemon marmalade. I hesistate to comment negatively on the dishes but hope they would appreciate any constructive criticism. I can appreciate the difficulty of accomplishing a menu like this out of a non-commercial kitchen. Hoping to see great things down the pipeline.