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Another outstanding meal at Saveurs 209…

Yesterday, I was really bored and wanted to go out to dinner.  I thought about all the new dresses in my closet and how badly I needed a new Facebook profile picture.  I usually replace my profile photos when I put on makeup and look presentable.  Bill came to my office and asked if I’d be okay with burgers for dinner.  I blurted out, “I want to go out!”

Bill looked a little chagrined.  I think he was thinking about the cost of a nice meal and the fact that he’d pulled the ground beef out and didn’t want it to turn.  Bill asked where I wanted to go out and I said I wanted to go downtown… perhaps to Saveurs 209.  I saw Bill cringe as he considered the traffic involved with going downtown.  Then I said, “I want to put on a dress.”

Bill and me, dressed to the nines…

Bill relented and made reservations.  I got all pretty.  We went downtown and much to my delight, when we stepped into the restaurant, were immediately recognized!  The last time we went to Saveurs 209 was for Thanksgiving!  I told our host, Sylvain, that we’d been meaning to get back to their restaurant.

We were seated and proceeded to enjoy a wonderful authentic French meal for the third time in San Antonio.  Here are some photos from our delightful dinner!

Bill peruses the menu…

I had a glass of champagne– Piper Heidsieck, to be exact.  Bill ordered a very nice chenin blanc to go with our seafood heavy meal. The wine had a strong mineral taste, kind of like a chablis.  It was a good choice.  We enjoyed very fresh baguette bread with equally fresh butter…  

A velvety smooth chilled gazpacho amuse– avocado, green pepper, green onion, cucumber and, I would swear lime, though I didn’t hear that mentioned in the list of ingredients.   It was very refreshing!

My asparagus salad.  It was served with Parmesan cheese and San Daniele Proscuitto.  I love how this salad looks, but it also tasted very good.  The asparagus was firm and flavorful and the Parmesan and prosciutto added a delicately salty flavor.

Bill was eyeing a fish soup, but I talked him into the Comte cheese soufflé, which came with a small salad with walnuts and vinaigrette.  I would have ordered this myself, but cheese is kind of a hit or miss thing with me.  Very strong cheeses are a turn off.  I’m happy to report that this starter was delicious… not too strong and very comforting.  I would order it if it’s available during our next visit (but I bet it won’t be– they change the menus frequently!)

For dinner, I had lobster with green peas, tomatoes and mint pesto.  The lobster was very generously portioned and delicious…  It was garnished delicately with roe.  The mint and peas complemented the lobster very well.  I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes, but the two included with this dish were flavorful and succulent.  They also added a dramatic dash of color to the dish, making it look like a work of art.

Bill had halibut with asparagus and roe…  I tasted the halibut, which seemed delicately poached.  It was tender and moist, cooked to perfection.

Dessert!  Bill ordered for me while I was in the restroom and I ended up with a dreaded lava cake…  Actually, it was a nice dessert, served warm with vanilla ice cream.  I have nothing against lava cake, except that everyone is doing that now!  I was hoping for a chocolate biscuit with raspberry ganache and chocolate chips.  Oh well… I didn’t refuse the dessert!  Bill had a very interesting streusel with strawberries and pistachios.  

 

Bill and I finished with a round of espresso.  We basked in the afterglow of a delightful meal.  Afterwards, we chatted a bit with Sylvain, telling him how much we love Europe and that we hope to be there next week.  Where exactly we’ll end up is still “up in the air”, but there’s a good chance we could go to France.  If we do, this meal will make an excellent kick off to our vacation.  In all, our meal cost just under $200.  It was definitely worth every penny.  Bill tipped 20%, which brought our total to about $240.

I also told Sylvain that if Bill doesn’t get a job soon, I might have to approach him for a job waiting tables!  I was half kidding.  His eyebrows raised when I told him about my experiences working at The Trellis, restaurant that for over 30 years, was owned by Marcel Desaulniers, a French American chef who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.  I told him how stressful it was to work in that place, because we learned how to serve food properly.  It took me a long while to get it right, but I finally did… and now, thanks to Marcel, I appreciate good food and good service.  And thanks to Europe, I appreciate the fantastic unhurried experience one can have at Saveurs 209.  If we can’t live in Europe anymore, we can at least enjoy European people.

I think Saveurs 209 is probably the only authentic French restaurant in the San Antonio area.  It is also the only “nice” restaurant Bill and I have visited three times.  And if we don’t move out of the area, we’ll definitely be back.  If you are inclined to dine on French cuisine and you happen to be in San Antonio, I highly recommend Saveurs 209.

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French food on Thanksgiving in San Antonio…

So, for our anniversary this year, we visited Saveurs 209, a fairly new French restaurant in San Antonio.  We enjoyed the food so much that we decided to visit again for Thanksgiving dinner.  My mother-in-law went with us for our 7:00 reservation last night.  We were the only ones there until the tail end of our meal, when a lone couple showed up.

I got all dolled up again…  I was high on cava and the fumes of my freshly colored hair…

 

My mother-in-law, Parker…  She and I started with a glass of Piper Hiesedeck champagne…

Bill peruses the menu… He chose a lovely Gigondas to pair with our Thanksgiving dinner.

A little amuse… chicken, shrimp, and cheese… I think.  It was hot and delicious.

Bill opted for the “Thanksgiving menu”, which was a corn and parmesan soup with a poached egg, turkey stuffed with mushrooms and fois gras, and a pecan and pear tart.  I also had the corn soup, though I had a filet mignon for dinner instead of turkey…

Parker had the same mushroom tart Bill had last time.  I don’t eat mushrooms, but they both said this was a delicious starter.  

Just before we began eating our main courses, a man walked into the restaurant and boldly noted that French people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.  He started talked about “just getting out of the hole”, implying that he’d been at war or something.  One look at him told us he was no military guy.  Indeed, he appeared to be looking for a handout.  My guess is the hole he got out of was jail.  I will admit his performance was kind of impressive.  That kind of thing happens to Bill and me a lot when we go out.  The French owner very charmingly but firmly invited the interloper to leave.  I’d say that experience ranks right up there with the one we had in downtown San Antonio in July, when a bum dropped the n bomb on poor Bill…

My filet was perfectly cooked to medium and served with root vegetables and a celery puree.  This was a very interesting surprise for me.  At first, I thought one of the vegetables was potato, but it turned out to be rutabaga.  It was quite tasty.  I also enjoyed the celery puree, which reminded me of mashed potatoes but had a lot less fat and salt in it.

Bill’s turkey.  He said it was delicious.  Again, I don’t eat mushrooms or fois gras… Bill liked the way they did the turkey so much that he asked how it was prepared.  It was very moist.

Parker enjoyed the same sea scallop dish I had last time… 

For dessert, I had a strawberry tart with what tasted like strawberry sorbet.  This was really nice– not too heavy and I could finish it somewhat easily.  

Bill’s pecan and pear tart.

Parker had the hazelnut, coffee, and chocolate dacquois…

 

We finished with a round of espresso.  Service, once again, was casual yet impeccable as we were tended to by Sylvie and Sylvain, the married couple who, along with their daughter, the chef, own the restaurant.  It was a perfectly delightful meal!  We have no leftovers or clean up to do.  I hope to visit again soon!

 

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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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