Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for January...New Year's Eve Dinner at Luke San Antonio

This month’s edition of The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out is featuring a very special New Year’s Eve celebration spotlight! Michael and I were invited to take part in a fantastic five-course Chef’s Menu at Luke San Antonio, located on a quiet stretch of the beautiful San Antonio Riverwalk. Luke is a Chef John Besh restaurant, the first located outside of his native Louisiana. The menu is a little bit New Orleans…a little bit Texas...and thoroughly wonderful! The menu features many locally sourced products, and the food is really fabulous. There were two dinner seatings offered that evening, so we opted to take part in the early 630 seating. That way, we could arrive back home in time to relax a bit, pop the cork on some champagne, and watch the Times Square ball drop on television. The early seating also allowed us beat the large crowd of New Year's Eve celebrants partying in Downtown San Antonio. We dressed up a bit, jumped in our car, and made our way to the Riverwalk. 
Photo courtesy of Luke San Antonio
We arrived and dropped our car with the valet, then made our way inside the restaurant. We quickly noticed that the place was really jumping that night…tons of people were having a great time celebrating over an early dinner in the downstairs main dining room. We checked in at the front desk and were escorted to the upstairs seating area, which offers large windows so you can see all the action that's taking place in the kitchen. Executive Chef John Russ and his crew were cooking up a storm already! We were shown to our table, then we sat back and waited for the tasty delights to start coming out of the kitchen. The pacing for the five-course special menu was great, and the portions were filling without making us feel overly stuffed. 

The First Course was perfect for seafood lovers like us. Gulf Seafood Maison featured a trio of appetizers including Oyster en Brochette, Shrimp Remoulade and Gulf Crab Ravigote. The presentation was fun, and the food was great. The seafood was so fresh and sweet! The remoulade sauce had a spicy kick, which we loved; the oyster brochette was crispy and smoky from a bacon wrapping; and the lump crab was sweet and plump. The meal was off to a smashing start!
The Second Course was Potato Gnocchi with Gulf Lump Crab and Truffle. It was one of our favorite courses of the entire meal! The gnocchi were pillow soft, and the truffle-infused sauce was rich and creamy. Both paired perfectly with the sweet lump crab. This dish was so good that I could’ve eaten two portions of it…but then I wouldn’t have had room for the remaining three courses of the meal.
The Third Course was Peeler Farms Chicken Sauce Piquant with Farmers Peas and Sweet Potato. The chicken is sourced from a farm located near San Antonio that’s humanely raised and free-range. The chicken was flavorful and juicy. The piquant sauce was slightly spicy, but it didn’t overpower the chicken. The fresh farmers peas had large chunks of smoky meat that gave them a robust flavor, and the velvety sweet potato puree brought all of the flavors together.
The Fourth Course featured Aged Akaushi Beef Ribeye, Cauliflower Puree and Trumpet Royale Mushrooms and Red Wine Jus. Akaushi is American Wagyu beef that’s primarily bred in Texas. It’s well marbled and very flavorful. The ribeye was cooked med-rare and sliced into thin rounds like prime rib. Sigh…it was amazing! The cauliflower puree looks like whipped potatoes, but has the earthy taste of cauliflower.
The Fifth Course and final course was a decadent dessert: Dark Chocolate, Nutella and Espresso. It featured a dark chocolate dessert resting on a crispy base and topped with dark chocolate ganache. It was paired with an intense espresso ice cream and a chocolate sauce. We enjoyed each component separately, but the dessert really shone when we included a bit of each component on our spoon! The dense chocolate dessert and intense ice cream worked so well together.
This New Year's Eve celebration meal was a fabulous way to end 2013 on a high note before welcoming 2014 with a quiet at-home celebration! Luke San Antonio is located adjacent to the Embassy Suites Riverwalk hotel. Parking Downtown easily can be tricky, but Luke’s convenient location lets you valet your car at the hotel. Luke even validates your ticket, allowing you to pay a $7 reduced rate for parking. Enjoy Riverwalk views during your meal, or maybe go for a relaxing after-dinner stroll. We’ve enjoyed both dinner and Sunday Brunch at Luke, and we've always had a great experience. For those catching a show at The Majestic Theater, Luke is a great place to grab a pre- or post-show dinner…it’s an easy walk from Luke to The Majestic.

Disclosure: Luke San Antonio provided us with dinner to facilitate this article. We received no other compensation, and all opinions stated are my own. All photographs are copyrighted by Michael K. Garcia. They may not be copied or otherwise used without prior permission.

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