On a recent visit to La Cantera Resort & Spa we had an excellent dining experience at La Cantera Resort & Spa's new (2017) Signature restaurant. Signature is just down the hill from the Resort and when you arrive it feels like a very small quaint restaurant in Napa Valley. We were shocked when we walked inside and saw the very well appointed and unique lobby and bar. The decor is a mix of antique French and Texas furniture dating back to the 18th century plus locally crafted handmade light fixtures and handrails as well as custom mission tile work. Upstairs above the lobby, the open sided balcony waiting area is covered on all four walls with a variety of interesting artwork, fowl taxidermy, and even a stuffed boar. The dining area is relatively small, yet cozy and comfortable, and every seat has a view of the bar, open kitchen, and out one side of the building is the Resort perched on the hillside and the new driving range that goes from the Resort down to outdoor patio of Signature. Very well done - a warm, comfortable, upscale setting without feeling pretentious.
Signature Chef Andrew Weissman, a four-time James Beard Award finalist who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park has gained a regional and national following with his classic French restaurant Le Rêve in San Antonio which was touted as one of the 10 best in the country and garnered rave reviews including Texas Monthly regularly naming Weissman the top chef in Texas. In addition to Signature, Andrew's properties include Osteria Il Sogno, Sandbar Fish House & Market at the Pearl, Moshe’s Golden Falafel and The Luxury. With a resume like that, we were excited about dinner at Signature!
When Signature first opened Weissman said "Signature’s cuisine will be rooted in French traditions with South Texas accents that caters to a broader spectrum of diners. The menu, coupled with the rolling hill landscape, will create an environment where everything melts away and you don’t feel like you’re in San Antonio anymore. I love serving local, regional products, but if that’s not the best quality product, I have no problem having it imported from the South of Italy or the East Coast, whether it’s seafood or truffles.” The Signature menu can best be described as "straightforward and beguiling, featuring Andrew’s contemporary interpretations of classic dishes — fresher, brighter versions of traditional cuisine enlivened with unconventional Texas spirit."
Before ordering dinner I was studying the wide variety of specialty drinks like the Cast Away (Mount Gay Rum, disarrono, Smith and Cross, coconut crème, and pineapple) and trying to make a decision when I saw a beautiful concoction of something being served next to us, I said "just give me one of those!" Wow, I don't know exactly what it was but I'm pretty sure I had at least two more!
Our meal stared with a complimentary tasty morsel that looked like a Somosa with a savory filing and a tasty green sauce. I ask the waiter to explain each of our dishes and I wrote it all down and then lost it! So don't hold me to these descriptions of what we ate. Next up was Foie Gras Torchon which I think was some delicious goose liver with pineapple and grapefruit - I've never tasted anything quite like this, outstanding. With a very good Classic Caesar Salad with parmesan tuile and Spanish anchovy came the fresh baked bread and unbelievable butter - I could have made a meal on the bread and butter alone and I would have loved to have gotten a big to-go box full of it!
Next we were served some sorbet to clear the pallet and then the entrees arrived. I loved the Roasted Lamb with zaatar, roasted tomato, and sumac roasted onions - cooked to perfection and an excellent presentation. Mrs. Texas Outside had a delicious serving of Broken Arrow Ranch Venison with crispy pommes anna and a huckleberry and shallot red wine sauce. We were both stuffed to the brim but our waiter talked us into a dessert - I had no idea what it was but we loved it and it was gone in no time. And then he convinced us to get a dessert drink - a Grasshopper with Belvedere vodka, white creme de cacao, creme de menthe, and hand shaken whipped cream - and a smoke infused nightcap.
I loosened my belt a couple notches and then asked the maitre d to call the resort shuttle. Five minutes later I was snoring and dreaming of sugar plums. An excellent dinner and a fun time. The staff was superb - outgoing and friendly, genuine and gracious and focused on ensuring that we had an enjoyable time and dinner. Can't wait to do it again, but I'll need to lose a few pounds first.
Return to our Review of La Cantera Resort & Spa article.