Something's in the air (other than pollen). Over the past two months, there has a been a boom of new Alamo City restaurants ready to lure you out of winter hibernation. They range from playful food trucks to new projects by well-known chefs, but each share an easygoing sensibility that’s perfect for spring.
The Beignet Stand
Mardis Gras has come and gone, but the good times keep on rolling at San Antonio’s newest food truck, which opened at Islla Street Brewing Co. on March 10. As one might guess from the name, beignets are the specialty, but the owners aren’t just dishing out the familiar cinnamon sugar kind. On the sweet side, there’s pastries filled with coconut-infused peanut butter or strawberries and cream. Or pair a beer with the Southern Grit, a genius savory concoction with pulled pork, pickled onions, barbecue sauce, poblano crema, and Cotija cheese.
Coco Bongo Cocina & Bar
The name may sound ridiculous, and the sign may look like any other Tex-Mex joint, but this brand-new restaurant has some surprises inside. Led by San Antonio culinary fixture David Yokuty, the kitchen works with unexpected ingredients like the short ribs and bone marrow in a quesadilla or roasted green chilis and black garlic in the house guacamole. That’s not to say that tinker with the classics. The fajitas are served simply without all the usual fixings.
This charming concept from former Boiler House chef Jeff White and his wife/Brindles Awesome Ice Cream owner Jenn White ups the ante on comfort food. Chicken fried steak is made from Kobe beef, humble catfish is stuffed with blue crab, and hushpuppies are made with bacon and pimento. This isn’t the exact same Southern food some guests grew up with, but they’d have to be as loopy as a crosseyed cowboy to turn their noses up at it.
The Hoffman family closed its Beef & Bourbon concept late last year to make way for this new eatery, but there’s still plenty of booze and beef. The steaks are moderately priced and as well-seasoned as ever, and there’s still fried seafood should customers desire a little crunch. But now there’s fresher sides, a more elegant atmosphere, and a surprisingly robust cocktail program. Turns out old dogs can learn new tricks.
This Northeast Side newcomer sells salads like a tempting selection with grilled shrimp and avocado, but the juicy angus burgers are a strong argument against eating healthy. There’s plenty to choose from, including a bean burger and a mushroom Swiss. Guests can get wild with a beastly burger piled high with poblano peppers, Monterrey Jack, caramelized onion, and aioli.
One of San Antonio’s most popular Italian eateries branched out in February with a second location in the iconic Art Deco Olmos Pharmacy building. The menu is practically the same, with tasty takes on American Italian staples like chicken Marsala, beefy lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, and almost two dozen specialty pizzas. That’s just the way it should be — the classics are classics for a reason.