Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, 1/5/10 - Citrus

Date: 1/5/10
Restaurant: Citrus
Location: 150 E. Houston St, on the 2nd floor of the Hotel Valencia. Silly Garmin tried to tell us it was 105 E. Houston St and we were frantic critters wandering the one-way streets of downtown. This is one of the many Riverwalk-category restaurants, which is a pro and a con depending on how busy it is at the time.
Hours: Open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, and 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for dinner.
Executive Chef: Jeff Balfour

The first draw of 2010!

Downtown is so beautiful. We were surprised by the lack of traffic; apparently people are still in post-NYE stupor and haven't stirred from their caves.

Bienvenidos a San Antonio!

Clearly not a peak night for dining out. We had the place to ourselves for 3/4 of our meal. Very chic decor, complete with rather unusual table settings--a candle jar glass? Chainmail placemats? Visually and texturally interesting, I'll give it that. Not pictured: house music piped in from Vbar, the posh lounge across the way. (They were also the source of our drinks, a house margarita for Tavis and a French Kiss martini for me, which were mighty potent. I'm talking "heyyyy, how'd this lampshade end up on my head?" potent.)

The menu offers a 3 or 4 course option, or you could order anything a la carte. Prices ranged from $7 for some of the smaller dishes to $48 for a large entree. Based on previous experience with "tasting menus," we went with a 3 and 4 option. Silly us. Any of the dishes (well, except for the dessert) could have made a decent entree. We were stuffed to a degree normally reserved for Thanksgiving. But oh. Oh, it was good.

This is the "whoops, I'm supposed to take a picture of the food before gleefully annihilating it" picture. In a former life, it was a jumbo lump crabcake with a citrus hollandaise underneath and slices of ripe avocado and a burst of microgreens on top. This is one of Citrus's signature dishes, and although we didn't plan on getting it until our adorable waitress recommended it, we're so glad we did.

I have to confess, I am a San Antonian Seafood Snob. Look, we're smack dab in the center of the state. Even the nice restaurants here serve fish that has been frozen at some point in its afterlife. Plus, after experiencing true seafood in Japan, the bar is set just a bit high. Like Fuji-esque. However, I will freely admit that this crab was jumbo in lump and flavor. Absolutely delectable.

Tavis's dish, an artichoke and heirloom tomato risotto. It was cooked perfectly, al dente and creamy at the same time, and the heirloom tomato flavor was rich and full despite not really being in peak season.

However, I won this round with my antelope. It was rolled in peppercorns and pan-seared, served with a blackberry demi-glace. Absolutely juicy and so tender, not gamy at all. Adjacent is a little puff of dough filled with a combination of goat cheese and blackberries. This was my least favorite bite of the plate, because although the filling was a great blend of sweet and tangy, the dough was just overpoweringly dense. It's like when you get a crab rangoon that's all wonton, no creamy goodness. And finally, a bed of mashed buttercorn squash with more blackberries and demi-glace. That was rich, warm heaven.

Entree #1: Rack of Kurobuta pork. Oh. Words fail me on how magnificent this is. The crispy outside, the fatty inside. *cries*

(The cheesy grits cake to the side didn't wow me, so we shall politely pretend it isn't there and move on.)

Tavis's equally exceptional, locally-sourced filet of beef. Look at that heaping hunk of butter on top. It's not just butter, it's white wine and shallot butter. But it's also butter. Thing is, the steak was so tender, it didn't even need it. It was like butter on butter. Nothing better.

I'm sorry, I had to go back to my pork again. I mean, LOOK AT THIS. This was a very happy pig.

Our desserts. Here, I have to cover my head in shame and sorrow. I have a cold. It was held at bay through the majority of our meal, certainly long enough for me to cry porky tears about my exquisite rack of Kurobuta. However, medicine failed me when it came time to devour our final course, which was a cinnamon roll bread pudding for me and apple crisp for Tavis. It was a tragic moment for us all. However, while I was prevented from experiencing the flavor, I greatly enjoyed the dense, chewiness of my bread pudding. Tavis tasted and loved them both, and I trust his tongue when mine failed me in my time of need.

Anyway. On to happier thoughts.

Yep, that totally turned my frown upside down.

Returnability: high. Very high. However, in the future we know we will choose ONE 4 course meal and split it between the two of us (for a $6 split plate fee). Excellent service, excellent food, excellent night. Great way to kick off 2010!


Anonymous said...

I could practically taste it. Thanks for the food porn!!

Beth G said...

Hooray I can leave a comment now! Too bad I can't remember what my original, no doubt extremely witty comment was going to I'll write this instead:

Those portions are INSANE for a multiple-course menu. Wow. I guess Texas does it big, huh??

Megan and Tavis said...

Anon, you're very welcome! Food porn is the best kind. It doesn't leave any viruses on your computer.

Beth, you're not wrong! I was seduced by the descriptions of the food and couldn't settle on one or two. Had to try them all. Oh well, I've been eating amazing leftovers for two days now. There's worse fates!

Terra Michelle said...

I'm jealous of your lump crab cake. We were at Fisherman's Wharf in some bay side town between Los Angeles and San Fran and I was dying for lump crab cakes. Not a single restaurant had them. They were all filler and shredded crab meat. Such a disappointment.

Megan and Tavis said...

Terra, that's...bizarre and sad! We need to send you some lumpy crabs asap!