Those passing by Tequila Coast often hear melodies played on classical guitar drift out from behind the restaurant's towering stucco walls. After walking inside, guests see a sunlit courtyard, where guitarists wander between wrought-iron balconies, a four-tiered fountain, and a Talavera tiled staircase, serenading evening diners who linger over Mexican dishes and glasses of tequila drinks. In the kitchen, chefs fold freshly made tortillas, Angus steak, and gulf-water seafood into appealing arrangements of Mexican food. Behind the lengthy bar, drink-masters dole out beer and wine under the glow of flat-screen TVs. Guests can also snap photographs amidst the restaurant's rustic decor and artwork, posing alongside friends or the plate of seven enchiladas they've been double-dared to finish.
A towering chalkboard announces the menu at Chef Mark's restaurant, which certified executive chef Mark Carpenter erases and redrafts each day. Drawing from nearly 40 years of experience, Carpenter oversees an experienced kitchen staff as they whip up hearty comfort breakfasts and lunches from scratch. The restaurant's countertops steam with freshly made platters of pot roasts, meatloaf, and pork chops, and a salad bar showcases colorful vegetables and dressings. Meanwhile, a dessert bar is piled high with trays of warm cinnamon buns, crusty rolls, cookies, and pies. After selecting their meals, customers retire to a sunlit dining room filled with white-clothed tables. The welcoming, communal atmosphere is accentuated by decorative flower arrangements, a bookshelf of reading material, and a prohibition on duck hunting of any kind.
For close to a decade, the stylists at Salon Divine have done much more than transform hair with services such as extensions and texturizing treatments—they've made a difference in their community. In September of 2011, the team paired with Driscoll Children’s Hospital during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to help people donate their hair to make wigs for young cancer patients. They also recently hosted a benefit for a client with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Their care and compassion is reflected in the attentiveness they show to clients' hair, nails, and skin. They soothe tired feet with fragrant peppermint, citrus, or rose salt scrubs, and enhance the stress-reliever manicure with a hand and wrist massage, loosening joints that are stiff from rehearsing one-man sock-puppet shows. As a further tribute to client comfort, the salon boasts leather furniture and elegant, dark wood accents throughout. Bright pops of magenta from the backlit ceiling and strategically placed floral accents add a whimsical vibe that permeates the team's creative hairstyles.
Shogun Restaurant Japanese Steak House's culinary artists tightly wrap sushi rolls at a glass-front sushi bar and flip and fry meat, fish, and veggies at tableside hibachi grills. A fleet of specialty rolls includes the Sky Diver roll with soft-shell crab and eel and the Shaggy Dog roll, layered with shrimp tempura and crab. Shogun’s chefs can also roll single-fish classics such as tuna, salmon, and yellowtail—the fish least likely to clash with a yellow plate or an outfit made of Post-it notes.
The epicurean engineers at Texas de Brazil blend the steak-centric cuisine of Texas with the traditional churrasco method of slow-roasting meat over an open-flame grill and filling diners with a meaty mélange of multiple steak selections. The full dinner ($42.99) marches out a cavalcade of choice cuts as diners welcome a continuous flow of flavorful proteins, including Brazilian-style sausage, filet mignon, flank steak, and bacon-wrapped chicken breast. Brandish your table's provided card, green on one side, red on the other, and it will function as a meat traffic light that summons servers to send stacks of seasoned beef, pork, or lamb skewers, or halt plate traffic like a decorated culinary crossing guard. Diners can also feel free to substitute greens for the grill by stepping into the sprawling salad-bar conga line, two-stepping through toothsome goodies such as imported cheeses, steamed asparagus, and dozens of other hors d'oeuvres ($24.99).
In 1853, two founders of the colony that would come to be known as Castroville built a classic Sunday Haus near the center of the new settlement. A century and a half later, that structure stands as one of the oldest in the city, and the restaurant that now calls it home doesn't take that fact lightly. The Old Alsatian Steakhouse and Ristorante retains its historic air, seating diners in one of two main dining rooms lined with old-world art and antiques, while displaying many of the building's original structural elements. Here, they serve a menu that nods to tradition, anchored by a hearty lineup of hand-cut steaks and European dishes. The selection ranges from 6-oz. cuts of sirloin and 7-oz. filet mignon to 16-oz. rib eyes, which can be eaten onsite or brought home. Cooks round out meals with plates of alsatian sausage and bratwurst, served with mustard and pickles, as well as fried calamari, jumbo shrimp, schnitzels, and more.
With the historic nature of the grounds, it's not surprising that a recent archaeological dig revealed a bounty of artifacts dating back to the Civil War. Ginger beer bottles, leather holsters, saber belt-buckles—these and a trove of other 150-year-old finds line the shelves of the restaurant's former smokehouse, which now acts as the onsite museum. Both everyday diners and attendees of special events—the space also features a grape arbor, a patio, a spacious lawn, a beer garden, and a full event center—can peruse these unique finds to learn the history of not only the restaurant itself, but a great deal of Castroville as well.
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"