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Luke, San Antonio/Chef John Besh


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My daughters and a family friend finally made it to Luke San Antonio Friday night.

Luke San Antonio is Chef John Besh's first restaurant outside of Louisiana.

Cliff Notes: I loved it. I can't wait to go back.


I made a reservation on Open Table fairly late Friday afternoon. San Antonio was packed over Spring Break and I was concerned we wouldn't get a table but it was no problem. In hindsight given the food scene in San Antonio this shouldn't have been surprising. We arrived just after 6pm. The greeting by the hostess was so-so and she proceeded to seat us right in next to the elevator (Luke is attached to the Embassy Suites hotel and the restaurant has an elevator that takes guests down to the riverwalk lower level). My youngest daughter, who is 9, spied an empty table for 4 overlooking the river, so we inquired if that table was available. After a quick check the hostess accommodated us there.

The tables are small, reminiscent of a Parisian bistro, though I explained to my daughter that in Paris they would have had double, if not triple the tables crammed in the same space.

The waiter was friendly and attentive, checking in on us frequently. He picked up on my queues that we weren't there to get in and out as quickly as possible and he adjusted accordingly. He volunteered some children's entrees not on the menu for my youngest daughter, as well as yummy St.Arnold's root beer for the youngsters.

The food:

The first thing that arrived was french bread wrapped in a white towel (these same towels also serve as napkins). It had a thin crackly crust and is probably best for sopping up sauce.

My daughter and friend started with the shrimp and sausage gumbo.. it was excellent. I had the "shrimp in a cup" with is tempura battered shrimp with a spicy mayonnaise served in a paper lined silver cup. The level of flavor and spiciness was great - the shrimp wasn't as crisp as I would have liked, probably partially because they were stacked in the cup on top of each other.

My daughter and I shared the 12oz ribeye with fries and Bearnaise sauce. Given she's a simple eater I got double the Bearnaise sauce all to myself. I was in heaven.. it was excellent. The steak was good and the fries were divine.. they rivaled Thomas Keller's fries at Bouchon as the best I've had.

My oldest daughter had the Luke Burger, which was two kinds of beef ground in house daily (Brisket and, I think, Top Sirloin) served with bacon and caramelized onions. It was also excellent.

My friend had the shrimp creole. It was good but not as spicy as either of us expected.

The not so good:

My wine glass wasn't clean. It had leftover lipstick on it. The wine glasses are very cheap restaurant grade. Not up to par with the rest of the decor or quality.

Dessert: Creme Brulee was not up to my standards. It was somewhat grainy and I suspect it may have had some flour in it. Didn't have that smooth, silky texture. The top was not "bruleed" prior to serving, but at some point earlier in the day. No "tink tink" sound when tapped with a spoon. I would definitely pass on this in the future.

The bread pudding was OK... the top was dense and crusty.. the middle and bottom had a softer texture which appealed more to me. The sauce, which I can't remember the details of, maybe Bourbon caramel, was very good.

All in all, a few little misses, but overall, very good and I will return.

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  • 8 months later...

Mellisa, Glad you had a good time and plan on returning. Although I can't speak officially for Chef John Besh and Chef Steven McHugh at Restaurant Luke of San Antonio, I can say as a line cook at Luke I'd love to cook for you and your family again. See you soon.

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