Sunday, January 11, 2009


1024 South Alamo
(210) 223-3600
On the Menu

Initially we were planning on an Indian takeout carpet picnic for New Year's Eve. Yup, just Mr. Panza, me, and 7 of our favorite dishes from Madras Pavilion. Very romantic.

But when we found out the inlaws were going to be joining us, we knew they probably wouldn't want to ring in the new year by sitting cross legged by the coffee table with flutes of Brut while watching Will & Grace on DVR.

Our task? To find an upscale, magical, intimate, delectable dinner for four. Oloroso did not disappoint. First, can I say what a breath of fresh air it was to have a high end dining experience somewhere other then North 1604? With all the beautiful old architecture in downtown San Anto, I refuse to believe that a stone facade strip mall is the best we can do! Oloroso understands a good first impression, as it's nestled in a rennovated historic home in Southtown, completely elegant and full of personality like most of the homes downtown.

We started with the charcutiere plate accompanied by the A to Z pinot from Oregon, my suegro's (father in law's) pick. The meats (prosciutto, duck prosciutto, pancetta, lomo, and Spanish chorizo) are all made and cured in house! When they arrived at our table, like red and pink jewels all sliced and layered on a plate, we all perked up and started chatting more festively. This starter was perfect for four, with toasted baguettes and the smoky, velvety mushroom soup.

I was very happy with my duck, roasted in its own rendered fat and perched on wilted swiss chard, but the surprise of the night for me was my suegro's hangar steak. According to Ronnie, our enthusiastic waiter, the hangar is the small diamond cut of meet just below the animal's throat and above the chest (get it? It "hangs"). There is only one per harvest, and it's particularly juicy and succulent.

I was caught offguard but the lack of presentation here, not much garnish on unremarkable white plates. But by the end of the meal, I realized that the chef's focus was on the balance of the food - the way the flavors and unlikely ingredients were crafted together, from the cranberry tartness and savory marsala sauce layered with the pork loin, to the delicate Alaskan cod cuddled with earthy brussel sprouts. Forget art, Oloroso is downright chemistry.

Until next time, Buen Provecho!

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