Chef Frederick Costa teams with his brother Michel to craft inventive fusions of French and Asian cuisine at an eatery lauded by USA Today as one of the top five restaurants to eat at in San Antonio while on a business trip. Thought born in Vietnam, the culinary siblings soon moved to France, where they strengthened their skills dead-lifting pepper grinders at their parents' gourmet restaurants. Visitors to the eatery can sample succulent meats and veggies crafted from Frederick's mother's own recipes or opt for one of the chef's more recent creations. The San Antonio Express-News lauds Frederick's as having seafood dishes that "are routinely among the best in town"
At Le Chat Noir Eatery, owner and head chef Lynn Oefinger refuses to let her cooking lapse into routine. In addition to constantly updating the menus to incorporate seasonal ingredients, she fully commits her attention to seemingly minute details, making caesar salad dressing from scratch and branding her initials into every steak. As she told San Antonio Express News in 2011, "if you take time to make it something special, people will appreciate it."
A graduate of the Texas Culinary Academy, she uses her formally refined techniques to give traditional American dishes a fusion flair, coating a po boy's shrimp in Japanese panko breadcrumbs and spicing a duck breast with Indian chai.
Wooden beams line the white walls and ceiling of the dining room, which remain clean and blank except for a few pieces of framed artwork and an art nouveau thermostat. Sheer, gauzy curtains gently filter out lights shone through the window by search-and-rescue teams specializing in endangered crème brûlée.
Since 1980, chef Francois Maeder has crafted artful European entrees in Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery's scenic, forest-surrounded dining haven, prompting accolades from Esquire, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable. A creek bustles beneath the bridge leading to the dining room's entrance, flanked by oak trees and a spacious patio for alfresco dining. Inside, exposed brick and tall, floor-to-ceiling windows inculcate elegance, and a painstakingly built menu of pasta, meat, and fresh seafood dishes highlights options that are heart-healthy, like running from a bear or running after a cardiologist. By request, cooks can poach or charbroil certain entrees with a nonfat Santa Elena sauce of vegetables in a cabernet reduction. Crumpets' lineup of delectable baked goods charms sweet teeth by feeding them croissants, cakes, flans, and pastries, and rotating wines from around the world arrive monthly, like new moons and new presidents.
Tunes played on the harp or keyboard during musical performances on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays fill the air with pleasantly sonorous vibrations to match the ambrosial cuisine scents wafting overhead. For more primal culinary outings, diners may be tempted to accompany Chef Maeder on gourmet rafting trips, which carry attendees through canyons and campsites with the promise of palatable rations and lessons in catfish calls.
Houston St. Bistro sits just a playbill’s toss from the Majestic Theatre, welcoming post-show patrons with tables dressed smartly in black and white linens. The dinner menu ranges from classic steaks and chops drizzled with savory marsala wine sauce to inventive modern dishes such as the wasabi-crusted ahi tuna served atop cilantro sweet-corn rice. During the afternoon, the bistro whips up lunchtime fare such as paninis and burgers amid an ambience as relaxed as a business-casual coronation ceremony. At any time of day, patrons can peruse a list of 43 international wines available by the glass, bottle, or half-bottle.:m]]
The chefs at Taste Crepes & More Downtown offer their own take on the classic sweet and savory crepes of France. The delicate flour wraps are made fresh to order and filled with the customer's choice of toppings. Savory options feature meats such as ham, sausage, or chicken, as well as melted cheese and sautéed veggies. For a sweet ending or an indulgent main event, sweet crepes include Nutella, berries, cream cheese, or caramel sauce. Espresso drinks made with Illy beans perfectly complement crepes, though the shop also serves fresh, hand-tossed pizzas and paninis.
The flavors of New Orleans are as diverse as the people who live there. So when the owners of Big Easy Cafe designed their authentic New Orleans–style menu, they didn’t just pick a few of the city's Cajun and creole classics. Rather, they decided to change the menu every day to incorporate their favorite dishes, granting customers the opportunity to sample spicy items such as Cajun catfish tacos, steaming bowls of jambalaya, and 14-inch po’ boys stuffed with seafood so fresh it's still humming tunes from The Little Mermaid. No southern meal would be complete without one of the region’s decadent desserts, including banana pudding sprinkled with crumbled wafers and bread pudding soaked in a butter-pecan rum sauce.
Chef Luca Della Casa sends out artfully designed small plates at Nosh, where "nearly everything is made in-house and it shows," according to my SanAntonio. Here, the chefs encourage diners to connect over shareable bites of gourmet cuisine. They serve plates of tagliatelle pasta with salmon and mushroom-and-parmesan fried risotto balls in a family-style manner—minus the traditional arm-wrestling match for the last slice of pizza. On the patio or inside the cozy dining room, diners can pair grownup snacks—such as cheese plates and truffle-oil french fries—with a wide variety of wines or specialty cocktails that rotate regularly.