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Satisfy Your Sashimi Cravings with Some Seasonal Shiso at Godai

Satisfy Your Sashimi Cravings with Some Seasonal Shiso at Godai

Shiso with sashimi at Godai Sushi Bar.

Shiso with sashimi at Godai Sushi Bar.

Have you ever had a shiso leaf in a sashimi salad and wondered exactly what it was? Well, Shiso leaves, also known as perilla, grow in a number of Asian cultures, and their uses are myriad within the regional cuisines there because of its pungent aroma and bold flavors. It’s not surprising that there are various types of leaves within the family, each slightly different and unique.

Shiso leaves growing in front of Godai Sushi Bar.

Shiso leaves growing in front of Godai Sushi Bar.

The Korean version is called either deulkkae or tŭlkkae, which means “wild sesame” or “sesame leaf,” even though it has no relation to sesame whatsoever, according to Wikipedia.

This leaf grows in spring and summer, and you can find it planted in a herb bed in front of Godai Sushi Bar, 11203 West Ave.

Owner and sushi master William “Goro” Pitchford takes one of the just-picked large leaves and sits its bottom half in tempura batter before deep-frying it. Then he arranges a little bite of sashimi and some roe on top of each, creating a special treat that is as fresh as it gets. The shiso has a slight mint quality and freshness that is perfect for the seafood. The array of leaves on the platter is also a real eye-catcher.

So, go to Godai while the shiso leaves last and enjoy this one-of-a-kind treat.

For more information on Godai, click here.

Posted in In Season, The DishComments Off

The Dish: Pasha Mediterranean Grill’s Chicken Sheesh Tawook

The Dish: Pasha Mediterranean Grill’s Chicken Sheesh Tawook

We’ve been helplessly addicted to both Pasha Mediterranean Grill and some of the dishes on their menu since it opened. Here’s a Mid-East restaurant with a feel that falls somewhere between Tex-Mex patio cafe and a popular, crowded, big-city bistro. Management, servers, table clearers — they all seem dedicated to customer service, and unless it’s just crazy busy, they’ll be right to your table when you signal.

Chicken Sheesh Tawook is No. 2 on the entree menu, a dish possibly not quite as well-known as the popular Chicken Shawarma. But it’s our go-to order because the chicken, the sides and even the condiment served with it are just about perfect.

This flavorful, even healthful dish from Pasha Mediterranean Grill is one of our favorites.

Sheesh Tawook is simply, delicately seasoned and broiled chicken breast, served hot (even juicy) from the grill.

Next to it is always served a little cup of garlic yogurt sauce (not the usual tsatsiki) that fights for center stage with the chicken. If one doesn’t order chicken breast because it can be bland or boring, this sauce is the kicker. The garlic is super intense — and its light texture makes it perfect for Pasha’s grilled chicken.

On the side come salad and hummus, pickles and a slab of hot, puffy naan bread to dunk in the seasoned olive oil that is at every table. This is not an expensive lunch. If you don’t order a drink, you can get change back from a $10 bill.

Pasha Mediterranean Grill has two locations, though we most often visit the one at 9339 Wurzbach Road, because of its proximity to one of our favorite international markets, Ali Baba International Food Market. Check out the menu here. The second location is 1207 N. Loop 1604 W.

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The Dish: Oro Mac N Three Cheese

The Dish: Oro Mac N Three Cheese

Oro Mac N Three Cheese

On a recent trip to Oro in the Emily Morgan Hotel, 705 E. Houston St., chef Chris Cook knew the right words to get me to throw away my low-carb lifestyle for the evening. He had me at the name Mac N Three Cheese.

As  if I needed further enticement, the menu went on to mention that the cheeses in question were an intriguing combination of goat cheese, queso blanco and smoked cheddar.

When the plate arrived, the tender elbows were swimming in a dense, cheesy sauce that showcased the creaminess and tang of both the goat cheese and the queso blanco, while a distinct but not overwhelming smoky touch came from the cheddar. Then he tossed in a touch of truffle oil for an earthy sensuousness.

Buttery breadcrumbs provided a pleasant contrast in texture, but the real crowning glory of the dish was the addition of pulled brisket. From the name, I was expecting the beef to be shredded, but the fork-tender meat was sliced. It was also supple and simply seasoned so that it complemented the other rich flavors.

Oro Mac N Three Cheese is served as a starter (for $11; brisket is $2 extra), but it could easily be a main course.

Oro at the Emily Morgan Hotel
705 E. Houston St.
(210) 225-5100
www.emilymorganhotel.com/oro-restaurant

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The Dish: Applegate Barbecue at Tycoon Flats on Monday Nights

The Dish: Applegate Barbecue at Tycoon Flats on Monday Nights

Applegate baby back ribs at Tycoon Flats.

Most everybody loves baby back ribs. But, let’s be honest, not every place knows how to make them right. Think of all the mealy, poorly reheated or dried out ribs you’ve had over the years, and the pile of bones gets pretty high.

Tyler Applegate wants to remind you about what really good ribs should taste like.

He’s making barbecue on Monday nights at Tycoon Flats, 2926 N. St. Mary’s St., and he includes some mighty fine ribs among his offerings.

He sets up his smoker on the back patio. He starts with oak, which burns hot and helps seal his peppery rub on the exterior., turning it black and spicy Then he uses pecan before finishing off with apple. The end result is beautifully colored meat with delicate wood flavors that don’t overpower the rich pork flavor. The meat is also juicy and served hot out of the smoker so that it’s practically perfect in every bite.

The meat is served on a first-come-first-served basis, starting at about 6 p.m. Brisket sliders and sausage sliders were also offered this past Monday.

Tycoon Flats
2926 N. St. Mary’s St.
(210) 320-0819

 

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Dishing The Dish: Three Perspectives on Porky Heaven

Dishing The Dish: Three Perspectives on Porky Heaven

Today, we introduce a new feature on SavorSA that will focus on some of great work that’s being done in restaurants around town. It’s called The Dish and it will shine a light on a culinary creation that’s worth singling out for praise. It could be something seasonal, a new sensation or an old favorite. The sole point is to make you aware of the savory treats in SA.

If you have any favorites you’d like to share, either post them below or email walker@savorsa.com or griffin@savorsa.com.

This initial effort features three pork-related dishes to wet your appetite. Each illustrates porcine perfection in a unique way.

Pig Face Wood-Fired Pie at Bin 555

Pig Face Wood-Fired Pie
Bin 555 at the Alley
555 W. Bitters Road
(210) 496-0555

Who can resist a pizza baked in a wood-fired oven that’s hot enough to scorch the bottom of the dough, giving it a slightly burnt taste that’s practically irresistible?

That’s just the beginning, though, of the joys of this pizza from chef Robbie Nowlin, who creates his own house-made torchon using, you guessed it, the whole pig’s face.  The meat is cured in salt, pink salt, white pepper and sugar for one day. Then parts are braised before being added back to the torchon before it’s ready to use.

Then come toppings of slivers of radish, strips of pecorino and, in an inspired touch, pickled mustard seeds. The chef finishes it off with leaves arugula just before serving that add a fresh green vibrancy as well as a peppery bite.

I had a couple of leftover slices for breakfast the following morning. The radish flavor intensified, giving the pizza a welcome wake-up bite.

Using the pig’s head is, like using a cow’s head in barbacoa, a wonderful way to use as much meat on an animals as possible without letting it go to waste. Place another of these beautiful pizzas in front of me, and you’ll see another example of food not going to waste.

The 50/50 Burger at Big Bob’s.

The 50/50 Burger
Big Bob’s Burgers
447 W. Hildebrand Ave.
(210) 734-2627

Bacon cheeseburgers have long been justifiably popular, but why not take that experience to a whole new level by adding the bacon to the burger and not just on top of it?

That’s the appeal of this burger, which is made up of equal parts ground chuck and ground bacon. So, all that pork goodness fills every bite, while the chuck gives it a sturdy structure with plenty of meat and fat for the required beefiness and juiciness. Add a slab of sharp cheddar and chef Robert Riddle’s grilling, which lends it a smoky flavor, and you have a big fat phenomenon.

Of course, you could crown that combination with crisp bacon strips, but I can’t decide if that’s a bit too much or just a deliciously new means of satisfying my inner oinker.

A word of caution to those Texans who want their beef dead done: The whole patty is pinker than you may be used to. The grilling on the outside adds a little blackness, but the center is pinker than you may want. That’s from the addition of bacon, not the cooking technique.

For those of us keeping low-carb, Big Bob’s also offers the burger on a salad with artichoke hearts, garbanzos, olives, pepperoncini and more laid over a mound of spring greens. Good and healthful, just the way I like it.

The Peacemaker Po’Boy
Where Y’at
Alamo Street Eat-Bar
609 S. Alamo St.
(210) 420-0069

The SA food truck scene is burgeoning with exciting new flavors to please most any palate. Place this po’boy from Pieter Sypesteyn at the top of your must-try list.

The chef starts with an unbeatable combination of corn meal-breaded oysters and crunchy pork belly, braised in root beer before being deep-fried, both of which add a mouthwatering saltiness that enlivens the layers of mustardy coleslaw, pickles and fresh jalapeño slivers, all slathered with the right amount of creamy rémoulade.

Yet, as special as the combination of pork and seafood is, not to mention the pristine freshness of the other ingredients, were, the real stars of the sandwich were thick slices of perfectly ripe, old-fashioned tomato, which brought everything together in one incomparable whole. Not surprisingly, the tomatoes were from Cora Lamar’s Oak Hills Farm, by way of the Pearl Farmers Market. There’s a reason people rave about local food, and a tomato that tastes like a tomato is it. .

NOLA snobs may turn up their noses at a po’boy not made back at home because of how special the bread there is, but this is that bread. It’s Gambino’s French Bread, imported from the Quarter. For those don’t know the type of bread a po’boy should be served on, think of a baguette, yet one with a crackly exterior that is not too dense and a center that is not too fluffy. In short, it’s sturdy enough to hold its choice filling without falling apart into a soggy mess. Plus, Sypesteyn toasts the bread first and the rémoulade just melts into it.

I made the mistake of getting the half version of this beauty the first time I tried it. I’ve make peace with myself about that and will never let it happen again.

 

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