Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for August...Featuring the Culinaria Restaurant Week Menu at Bite

Last week was one of the most popular culinary events in San Antonio: the annual San Antonio Restaurant week. Participating restaurants from all over the city offered special three-course prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. Restaurant Week benefits Culinariaa not-for-profit organization dedicated to benefiting the San Antonio community and promoting San Antonio as an ideal wine and food destination. Area food lovers -- including Michael and I -- had a chance to enjoy fabulous menus at a great price...and help support a fantastic local organization. That's a win-win combination, friends! This year, Michael and I visited Bite, a new-to-us restaurant in the fun Southtown neighborhood near Downtown. We knew we were in for a special treat the second we walked in the door.

The first thing we noticed is that Bite is a jewel box of a restaurant -- with just eight tables and a lively bar area. It may be small in size, but the food is HUGE on flavor! There are several additional tables outside for those who prefer to dine al fresco. The decor is brightly colored and fun...and it really sets a perfect tone for an equally fun menu! The staff is friendly and helpful, and we could literally look into the kitchen and see Chef Lisa Astorga-Watel cooking. Because of the size of the restaurant, we could literally smell garlic being sautéed in the kitchen from our about whetting your appetite! Bite's Restaurant Week Menu offered two choices for appetizer, entree, and dessert. We asked them to bring one of each choice so we could share all of the creative menu items. We started with brewed-to-order ice tea that was smooth and perfectly brewed. Then, out came our appetizers. Both were perfect for late Summer. The refreshing Watermelon & Arugula Salad with Feta and Balsamic Reduction was an excellent combination of flavors. Sweet watermelon, salty feta, and tangy balsamic paired perfectly with pepper arugula. I loved this salad!
Our second appetizer was a Fig and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Tart, paired with a simply-dressed field green salad. The tart was really nice -- crispy outside and creamy inside. The perfectly ripe fig worked very nicely with the creamy, mild goat cheese. The addition of sautéed shallots brought all of the flavors and textures together. We agreed that our meal was off to a great start! Next came our duo of entrees.
I had never tried skate fish before, so I was very excited to try the Grilled Skate with Spinach Cannelloni, Roasted Vegetables, and Lemon Sauce. Michael opted for the Roasted Pork Shoulder with Grilled Pineapple, Mushroom Risotto, and Balsamic Reduction. Both entrees were expertly prepared and delicious! If you've never had skate wing before, you should definitely try it. It's a flaky white fish and very mild. The lemon butter sauce gave it a tangy finish, and the spinach-filled cannelloni was robust and flavorful. 
Michael's roasted pork was fork tender and so juicy. The pork paired very nicely with the tangy balsamic and the tangy-sweet caramelized pineapple. The rich earthiness of the creamy mushroom risotto worked really nicely with the acidity of the pineapple and balsamic. This was definitely upscale comfort food at its best. We were feeling comfortably full by then...but not so full that we couldn't enjoy our dessert course! We shared the Deep Chocolate Tart and a fabulous Basil Sorbet.
The tort was a chocoholic's dream come true: chocolate crust with a rich chocolate filling. The berry coulis on the side provided a perfect tart punch to cut some of the richness of the chocolate. The basil sorbet was the biggest surprise of the entire meal. It was flavored with tangy citrus, and the basil wasn't at all overpowering. It was creamy, refreshing...and perfect for a warm Summer evening! By the time we left the restaurant for our car, it was dark...and we loved how the exterior of the restaurant looked at night. We couldn't resist taking an artistic shot of Bite's exterior. 
Now that we've visited Bite for Restaurant Week, we can't wait to go back and try out some of the signature items on their regular menu. Once the weather cools off a bit, one of those outdoor tables will make a perfect place to enjoy a leisurely dinner and drinks. Bite is closed on Monday and Tuesday, open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and serves brunch on Sunday. Because Bite is popular -- and only has a handful of tables -- reservations are recommended. To make a reservation, simply call Bite at (210)  532-2551. 

Disclosure: Culinaria provided us with dinner at Bite to facilitate our coverage of San Antonio Restaurant Week. All photographs are copyrighted by Michael K. Garcia and may not be copied or otherwise used. All opinions expressed are my own.

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