Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out...Featuring Restaurant 3 Double-O Nine

H-E-B is a popular grocery chain in Texas -- especially in its headquarters city of San Antonio. They recently branched out to offer full-service concept restaurants at some of their new locations. I recently 3 Double-O Nine. It's named for its location near Selma, on FM 3009 and Loop 1604. It's a really fun, casual place to grab a bite before or after you do your shopping, but you don't have to be an H-E-B customer to stop by for a tasty bite! The restaurant is located adjacent to the H-E-B and offers everything from small plates and cocktails to tacos, Texas BBQ, and other creative entrees. The atmosphere is casual and fun...and you can dine indoors or al fresco is the weather's nice.

I recently visited 3 Double-O Nine for a Saturday dinner tasting with a friend. I was really impressed with the quality of the food on Chef Randy Evans' menu, as well as the reasonable prices. This definitely is NOT a grocery store food court, people...this food is the real deal! The entrance is separate from H-E-B, so it's really a separate free-standing restaurant. You order and pay for your food at the front register, then take a seat in one of the two dining rooms. When your food is ready, a server brings it to your table. We started with a duo of cocktails, a decadent appetizer, and a refreshing salad.
We shared an order of decadent Fried Green Chile Mac 'n Cheese Bites and a Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Salad. The mac and cheese bites were crispy outside, creamy and spicy inside...and served with ranch for dipping. Talk about total cheesy goodness! The salad was a perfect refreshing counterpart to our rich appetizer, with lots of fresh Buffalo mozzarella. For our cocktails we had the Texas Creamsicle Cocktail, which was sweetly creamy and tasted exactly like a creamsicle ice cream treat! The unique Avocado Martini had a creamy texture from the avocado and citrus notes from pineapple juice...with a bit of chile powder floated on top for a spicy background flavor. Our meal was out off to a great start! Next out of the kitchen was a duo of fun seafood tacos.
We tried the grilled Baja Shrimp Tacos and the fried Fish & Chips Tacos. The Baja tacos were served light and refreshing, with juicy grilled shrimp, crunchy slaw, and a spicy chipotle aioli. They were a nice mixture of flavors and textures. The Fish & Chips tacos featured lots of crunchy beer-battered cod, french fries, and tartar sauce wrapped inside yellow corn tortillas. This was a fun and flavorful fusion taco! We then turned our attention to a duo of 3 Doubl-O Nine's signature entrees.
First up was their unique, boldly flavored Korean Fried Chicken, which featured a generous helping of crispy fried chicken coated in a delicious sweet and spicy glaze. The flavor reminded me of spicy chicken wings, only entree sized. It was served with zesty kimchi mashed potatoes and braised greens for a Korea meets Texas flavor profile. We also shared the comforting and insanely delicious Creole Shrimp and Grits, which featured jumbo shrimp in a spicy Creole sauce and cheddar stone-ground grits. This was comfort food at its good!
We were absolutely stuffed by then, but we just couldn't resist sharing a dessert to end our meal on a sweet note. We decided to sample a comfort classic: Texas Pecan Bread Pudding. It was studded with golden and traditional raisins and topped with a warm rum cream sauce. I'm a huge bread pudding fan, and this was a perfect rendition. We left 3 Double-O Nine with full bellies...and impressed palates...and then I went into the adjacent H-E-B to pick up a few needed items before I headed home. That's a win-win in my book!

Disclosure: Restaurant 3009 provided a complimentary dinner to facilitate inclusion in this article. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

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