Monday, April 22, 2013

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for April...Featuring Arcade Midtown Kitchen

Our featured restaurant for this month's The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out is Arcade Midtown Kitchen, one of the hottest new eateries in San Antonio. Arcade opened at the Pearl Brewery entertainment and retail complex in February, and Chef Jesse Perez's cooking has been packing in hungry customers since then. The menu is full of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients...and fun combinations of ingredients that feature the Big Flavor that Michael and I love. Add in a great bar with lots of fun original cocktails, and you've got a winner of a restaurant on your hands! Chef Jesse invited Michael and I to come for dinner earlier this month to sample some menu items and share the experience with you.

The first thing you notice when you walk up to Arcade's entrance is that the restaurant is full of light thanks to lots of windows. The decor and vibe is what I would best term casual elegance. The food is upscale, but it's not at all stuffy. Arcade strikes a nice balance between formal and informal, casual and elegant. The servers are knowledgeable and friendly, and the music playing is a nice mix of genres that really sets the mood for a fun evening. You know you're in for a good meal when the logo on the front of the restaurant tells you that FOOD FORTUNE AWAITS!
We were warmly welcomed and seated at a table just outside the open kitchen. I loved being able to watch Chef Jesse and his team make our dinner! We shared an appetizer and dessert and selected two entrees for our meal. We ordered a couple of cocktails and decided to try the Chipotle Shrimp and Seared Pineapple Flatbread for our appetizer. Michael even managed to snap a picture of it going into the open kitchen's wood-fire oven!
The flatbread was full of flavor from the spicy shrimp and tangy pineapple. The addition of queso fresco, roasted peppers, and fresh herbs pulled everything together. The flatbread was spicy, but not overly so...and it was the perfect size for sharing. Next up came our entrees. I selected a seafood dish, while Michael -- ever the beef lover -- selected a steak.

I opted for the gorgeous and flavorful George's Bank Diver Sea Scallops with Green Chile Corn Grits, Pico de Gallo, and Smoked Bacon Salsa. Michael selected the Grilled 12 oz Ribeye with Jalapeno-Lime Rub, New Mexican Mashers, Grilled Tomato, and Smoked Jalapeno Butter. We were both blown away by the complexity of the flavors in both of our dishes.

My scallops were perfectly seared, and the green chile grits were creamy and slightly spicy. The pico de gallo brought a touch of bright freshness, and the bacon salsa was smoky with a gentle heat. It didn't hurt that the presentation was gorgeous and so colorful! Michael proclaimed his steak was seasoned and cooked perfectly, with just the right amount of spice. The smoky chile-infused mashed potatoes were a perfect complement to the savory steak. 

We loved that we were able to look into the kitchen and watch Chef Jesse and his kitchen staff cook. They worked so hard preparing meals that's like a finely tuned engine. We appreciate the fact that -- even though he was very busy -- Chef Jesse came to our table to personally thank us for coming and chat for a few minutes while we enjoyed our entrees.

After our dishes were cleared, our server Sabrina brought over the dessert menu. We decided that the Banana-Phyllo Stack would light and perfect for sharing: layers of crisp phyllo, fluffy cream filling, bananas, and sweet dulce de leche. It was the perfect sweet ending to our meal.
This dessert was a fantastic combination of flavors and textures. It was light not too rich...perfect for sharing for "a little something sweet" to end our fantastic meal! After dessert, we thanked Chef Jesse for his hospitality...and told him we'd definitely be back to try some other menu items that caught our eye. Arcade's location at The Pearl is perfect for both locals and visitors to San Antonio, and prices are very reasonable for the quality of food served. For the menu the evening we visited, appetizers ranged from $7-14, and entrees ranged from $18-24. Amazing food, reasonable prices, and a great location makes Arcade one of our favorite new restaurants in San Antonio!

Disclosure: Arcade Midtown Kitchen provided us with a complimentary dinner to facilitate this feature. All opinions expressed are mine, and all photographs are copyright of Michael K. Garcia. They may not be copied or reproduced without permission.

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