Monday, January 24, 2011

Watermark Grill - San Antonio, Tx

To think we almost passed up this gem for a chain steakhouse. I'm so glad we didn't! Rob and I had one more evening in San Antonio and chose the Watermark Grill (18740 Stone Oak Pkwy, San Antonio, Tx, We had looked up the menu online, thought it was a bit limited, and discussed whether we might want to just go to Saltgrass for a basic steak and potatoes dinner, but we decided to give Watermark Grill a try.

It was a Sunday night, and therefore slow, so no reservations were necessary. As the hostess seated us, Rob pulled out my chair for me, like he always does, and the hostess commented on that. I explained that for 19 years he's done that. Rob then mentioned that our 19th anniversary was Tuesday and she congratulated us. We thought the restaurant's interior was quite elegant. Though there was no real crowd, we noticed that we were not able to listen in on the neighboring table, as they talked in normal voices. I liked that because it means they are not able to listen to our conversations either.

We were provided with the wine list and menus by a lovely young lady. We placed the order for our wines and decided on our meals while she fetched them. We both decided to go with the "prix fixe" at a cost of $35 each, as neither of us have a large appetite, and we both love dessert. I went with the Seared Nantucket Sea Scallops for my appetizer, Olive Tapenade Alaskan Halibut for the main course. Dessert was a Lavender Créme Brulee. Now, I must have been feeling a little adventurous, because I usually don't like scallops, but I now know why. I've never had them cooked properly before. The appetizer included two large scallops seared beautifully (which is my way of saying they were not rubbery at all), topped with Vegetable Mariniere (a sprinkling of  very finely chopped carrot and celery that were used in the preparation) and served on Basil Risotto and Parsley Anis Sauce. More evidence of my daring nature, as risotto is rarely served properly al dente. This was! The scallops were a bit briney eaten alone, but when eaten along with the risotto they achieved a nice balance, and the flavors in the sauce were a beautiful compliment. The halibut was so delicate and could have been easily overwhelmed, but again, the accompanying flavors made for a perfect marriage. It was served with rock shrimp and asparagus. Living on the coast, here, we tend to become shrimp snobs. So, imagine my surprise when I'm served perfectly cooked shrimp in a San Antonio restaurant! They were scattered in a light tomato sauce and the halibut lay across a raft of asparagus. The only critical statement I can make about the dish is that the thicker end of the fish was oh so slightly underdone, but past that point it was amazing.

Rob had the Velvet Lobster Bisque with Lobster Fennel Dumpling for his appetizer and the Braised Chianti Beef Short Ribs served on Gorgonzola French Toast with Asparagus Parmesan. The bisque was a little oily, which surprised us, but the flavor was wonderful (yes, I tasted his food). I'm not real crazy about Gorgonzola cheese, but tasted the french toast anyway and was surprised, once again, that the cheese did not overwhelm the dish. The short rib sat on the french toast, so I had another bite with the meat and chianti sauce. Well, it was just about the best thing that has every crossed these lips! The meat was so tender and the sauce so rich, combined with the french toast . . . heavenly. Needless to say we were both quite pleased with our dinners, but the meal was not over yet.

I asked our server to hold our dessert while we finished our wine. As we did, I watched the dessert chef fill a piping bag with chocolate ganache. I wondered what dessert he was preparing, since we had not been told about any dessert containing chocolate. I did not have to wonder long. As we took the last sips of our wine, our server approached with two glasses of champagne and a tray, drizzled with chocolate, bearing four Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. On the tray sat a white chocolate card with "Happy Anniversary" written across it in gold script. Such a lovely surprise!

After finishing our strawberries and champagne our creme brulee arrived . . . flaming! The aroma of the caramelizing sugar was fantastic. I expected the lavender to be more pronounced, but it was just a nuance of the luscious cream dessert. Our coffee announced its arrival with its own wonderful aroma just as we were breaking into the sugar shell.

All in all it, was a wonderful experience. During our dinner we were visited by the manager, checking to see that everything was to our liking, and the dessert chef visited, to wish us happy anniversary, as we devoured our strawberries. The waitstaff were all personable and professional. It was such an enjoyable evening and we highly recommend the Watermark Grill (especially on your anniversary!).

Update: Watermark Grill has closed.