Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for September...A San Antonio Restaurant Week Recap #sarw #WGDinesOut

This month's edition of The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out is sharing our dining experiences for this year's Culinaria San Antonio Restaurant Week! This year's event took place August 13-27, and we enjoyed special three-course prix fixe dinners at a pair of amazing San Antonio restaurants: Asado Seafood & Grill and Grey Moss Inn. Both restaurants we visited featured creative and delicious Restaurant Week menus. Not only were Restaurant Week meals a delicious dining experience, but they were charitable ones too! With every meal that was ordered during the two-week event, every participating restaurant donated $1 per lunch order and $2 per dinner order to Culinaria to help advance all of its great local food-centric programs. Our first restaurant to visit was Asado, which is located inside the Hilton San Antonio Airport hotel.

My friend and I were warmly greeted by the restaurant's friendly staff and shown to our table. We were both impressed with the dining room's modern decor and soothing tones. While the restaurant's new chef went over the the Restaurant Week menu choices, we enjoyed a pair of creative cocktails from the bar. The featured Restaurant Week cocktail was the Rebecca Creek "Old Fashioned," made with locally sourced whiskey from San Antonio's Rebecca Creek Distillery -- and featuring a charred lemon for an oh-so-slight smoky flavor. We also sampled the refreshing -- and potent -- Moscow Mule Slushy. This icy cocktail featured a generous helping of mint, making this a perfect cooling cocktail for a warm Texas evening. Before we knew it, our appetizer courses appeared from the kitchen. The tasty and creative Asado Deviled Egg and Hobel Farms Goat Cheese Gratin starters were beautifully presented and delicious!
This trio of deviled eggs included a pickled Serrano pepper, a house-made smoked bacon jam, and a sprig of micro cilantro. The flavors going on here definitely elevated a comfort classic to new levels of deliciousness! The warm goat cheese gratin was creamy and rich, then topped with melty cheese and a piece of honeycomb for a touch of sweetness. We spread all of this goodness on warm flatbread and toasted sourdough. to a good start!

Next came our entree selections -- including a bonus third entree courtesy of the chef! We tried two seafood entrees and one beef entree. All three dishes were creative and packed with the big flavors I love. We opted to share all  the Gulf Red Snapper, Grilled Prime Ribeye, and Blackened Texas Redfish. All three were served with some amazing sides to round out their complex flavors.
The Gulf snapper was topped with lump crab gratin and served with roasted garlic shipped potatoes and a spicy Serrano-lime butter. The juicy, tender ribeye was perfectly cooked -- and accompanied by a decadent mac and cheese, grilled jumbo asparagus, and house-made chimichurri sauce. Finally, the blacked redfish was paired with charred corn, queso fresco, shallot butter, and a saffron-cilantro rice. It was an explosion of flavors and textures! 

Photo provided by Asado Seafood & G
We were getting quite full, but we still had a dessert course to come. While we waited for our desserts to arrive, we commented on how much we enjoyed the dining room's modern decor and soothing color scheme. Great food served in a pleasing environment? That's a win-win to me! Next thing we know, out come our duo of comforting desserts: Warm Chocolate Fondant Cake and Summer Berry Cobbler, with the cake being served a la mode. Swoon! I always make sure to save thismuch room for dessert, no matter how good my main meal is...for reasons just like this. We immediately grabbed our spoons and dug in, sharing both desserts like good friends always should. These desserts did not disappoint!
The chocolate cake was served warm, topped with vanilla bean gelato and a fresh berry salad. The texture of the cake was almost like a souffle, and the addition of cold ice cream and tart berries cut through its richness. The cobber was sweetly tart, with a sweet and crumbly topping. Instead of ice cream, it came topped with a lovely cinnamon-scented creme fraiche. of us might have snagged a bit of the ice cream from the cake to sample with the cobbler. With that, our amazing meal at Asado was over. I can't wait to go back and sample more items from their creative menu!

The second restaurant in our Restaurant Week itinerary was Grey Moss Inn, which is a long-time favorite restaurant in the San Antonio special-occasion dining scene. This restaurant is located in nearby Helotes, in a picturesque rural setting -- complete with deer in its adjacent fields! Grey Moss Inn is known for its great food, and it's also one of the area's most romantic restaurants. I know of multiple friends who got engaged here. I somehow had never dined here before, so I was very excited to try their food. The drive into the country was peaceful, and I was immediately impressed by the gorgeous landscaping and the rock structure of the building. We we warmly welcomed by the staff and shown to our table.

We were seated at a table for two in the restaurant's front dining room. Although Restaurant Week menus are three courses, Grey Moss Inn offered an appetizer course for a small upcharge. I love scallops, so I simply had to try the Pan Seared Scallops with Bacon Crumble and Butter Cream Sauce! The scallops were perfectly seared outside, sweetly moist inside. The rich butter sauce and smoky bacon were decadent, but they didn't overshadow the plump scallops. Then came our salad course: Heirloom Caprese with Fried Basil and Balsamic Drizzle.
Caprese is one of my favorite salads, and this one was stellar. Flavorful Summer heirloom tomato slices and creamy fresh mozzarella were topped with crispy fried basil and the tart basil reduction. The different flavors and textures worked really perfectly together. I loved this caprese! As we finished our salads, our entrees arrived from the kitchen. We decided to order one seafood entree and one beef entree and share a customized "surf and turf" dinner.
Our beef entree was Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Garlic-Crab Sauce, Sweet Potato Hash, and Spinach. The juicy tenderloin was wood-grilled, giving it a slightly smoky taste. OMG...the garlic-crab topping was amazing, especially with a bite of the spinach. The sweet potato hash provided a nice sweetness to the entree. Our seafood entree was Blackened Branzini with Grilled Cauliflower, Fennel Puree, and Kale. The fish was spicy and perfectly cooked -- slightly crispy outside and tender inside. The cauliflower was slightly smoky from being grilled, and the silky fennel puree was almost like a sauce. Both entrees were top notch!

We rounded out our dinner with a classic, homey dessert: a Praline Ice Cream Parfait! It was a warm Texas evening, so a decadent stacked-high sundae was a perfect ending to our meal. The parfait featured pecan-praline sauce, topped with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and a bit more of the sweet praline sauce drizzled on top. It was a sweet and rich ending to a fantastic dinner.
With that, our four-course dinner was complete. As we left the restaurant, I stopped to snap a few pictures of Grey Moss Inn's charming exterior -- including the massive outdoor wood-fired grill. It was time to head back into the city before dark -- when deer can wander into the road and cause drivers some trepidation. If you think I'm kidding, check out the family of deer that were hanging out in the field adjacent to the restaurant's parking lot.
I thoroughly enjoyed the dinners that I sampled at Grey Moss Inn and Asado for this year's Culinaria San Antonio Restaurant Week. I'm already looking forward to next year's event and anticipating the amazing foodie adventures that await us!

Disclosure: Culinaria provided The Weekend Gourmet with two Restaurant Week dining vouchers, and Asado hosted our dinner, to facilitate coverage for this article. All opinions stated are solely my own.

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