Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wonderful French food in San Antonio!

Today is our 11th wedding anniversary; so Bill and I decided to go out to dinner.  We did the same thing last year on our anniversary.  Of course, last year, we were in Glasgow, Scotland!  This year, we are in San Antonio.

As is his custom, Bill had me find an appropriate restaurant.  First, I went to OpenTable.com, which is where I usually go when I want to find a good place to eat.  But none of the restaurants I was finding were really thrilling me.  Frustrated, I soon found myself on TripAdvisor.com, where I stumbled across a review for a relatively new French restaurant in downtown San Antonio called Saveurs 209.  The reviews I read were very compelling.  I looked up their Web site, which is currently offline.  Fortunately, Saveurs 209 is on Facebook.  I liked their page and Bill called for reservations, since they have no need for OpenTable.  It turns out this little French place, owned and run by French people, is an intimate venue.


We arrived at the restaurant at 7:00pm, just in time for our reservation.  



Bill was happy to be there.  He had just chosen a lovely Bordeaux to go with our meals.  The wine list at Saveurs 209 is exclusively French.  We did not notice liquor on offer, though there's plenty of good wine and beer.

Saveurs 209's menu is brief, with just a few starters and entrees to choose from.  I did not see much of anything on offer for vegetarians or vegans.  I saw no salads to speak of, either.  However, of the few selections on offer for each course, I had no trouble finding things I liked well enough to try.  I can be reluctant to eat things outside of my comfort zone, but I found two out of four starters I'd be comfortable trying and three out of five or six entrees that looked very appealing.


A tasty amuse of phyllo pastry with chicken, green onions, and red onions was offered just before the delightful bread.  


Bread seems to come out non-stop at Saveurs 209.  It was crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and served with insanely delicious butter (I am a freak for good butter).


Bill opted for a mushroom tart, which came on phyllo pastry.  He said the mushrooms were meaty and not earthy at all.  I do not eat mushrooms, so I don't know.  I had the butternut squash soup served with hazelnut mousse and a quail's egg.  The tiny, delicate, quail's egg was *perfectly* soft boiled.  The soup came in a small pitcher, which one of the owners, dressed in a stylish wrap dress, poured into the set up.  Very classy and very delicious!


I had seared scallops for my entree.  It came with fantastic mashed potatoes, which were very well pureed and no doubt loaded with bad things.  But wow, they were so scrumptious.  The sea scallops were perfectly prepared-- done just enough to be cooked but not at all dried out or rubbery-- and topped with gremolata, an herb condiment.  The scallops were atop a poultry jus and three were plenty.  


Bill had halibut with cannellini beans and a clam ragout and citrus emulsion.  The fish was covered in froth and tasted heavenly.  This was one of the dishes I had my eye on before I decided on the scallops.


We really enjoyed this red wine.  I told the waiter I wanted to snap a photo of this Bordeaux because we might want to buy some locally if we can find it.  He told us if we couldn't get it, we could buy it for $20 a bottle from the restaurant (quite a break from their wine list price).  Later, he told us how to find it in San Antonio.


For dessert, I had a sinful chocolate soufflé served with orange sorbet.  It took about 15 minutes to make and was worth the wait.  Bill had a dacquoise with hazelnut cream, coffee and chocolate layers, and a side of coffee ice cream.  Bill could finish his dessert, but I cried "Uncle" about halfway through mine.  I noticed the lady near us had ordered the soufflé and also had to quit.  You could easily split this dessert and since it costs $12, that might be the smart thing to do.  Other options included a cheese plate and fruit inspired creations.


Bill and I enjoyed a nice round of espresso while we reflected on the delightful meal.  Our bill was about $181 before tip.  Service was excellent and there were only a few couples in the place, though a couple of folks stopped in to inquire.  Saveurs 209 seems to be relying on word of mouth to get themselves on the map.  Bill and I really enjoyed the low key atmosphere and lack of a huge crowd.

Saveurs 209 is run by a French couple and their daughter, who is a wonderful chef.  I read several accounts of the creative way she creates food.  Indeed, she was there tonight, in all her French chef glory, wearing the tall French chef's hat and everything.  We could see her work from the small dining room.  Each item that came from the kitchen was exquisitely prepared, but what I loved about the experience was how European it was.  No one rushed us.  No one dropped the check as we were halfway through dessert.  Service was excellent and very professional, yet friendly and personable.  It was very civilized and, yes, reminded me very much of one of the bistros Bill and I enjoyed in Paris back when we visited in May 2009.

One thing to know is that parking near the restaurant is either on the street or in a public lot.  There is no valet parking.  But we thought it was well worth the $7 we spent on parking and the short walk, which helped us digest a splendid meal.  Also, portion sizes are not huge at Saveurs 209.  Personally, I found that refreshing.  We didn't leave hungry, but we also didn't leave feeling stuffed.  Prospective diners should be aware that they won't be given a trough of food to eat that will last several meals at home.  The only leftovers we had were my chocolate soufflé, which we didn't attempt to take with us.

We liked Saveurs 209 so much that we made reservations to return for Thanksgiving dinner.  They will be offering their regular menu and special Thanksgiving inspired options.  Lunch will be offered from 11:00 until 2:00, while dinner is from 6:00 until 9:30.  I can hardly wait to see what this charming French family does with the traditional dishes served on our very American holiday.  And when I inquired about Thanksgiving, they were delighted to know that we would be joining them!

Here's is a link to another review written by a San Antonio based blogger.

 

I got all dolled up...



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