I wish I had gotten the jump on San Antonio’s Express News review of Boudro’s, but sometimes life gets too busy and things go by the wayside. However, I have pictures! Here’s my two cents on a recent visit.
Whereas the writer of that article did not mind being shoehorned into her table, that is the first thing I noticed when my wife and I met my parents and my aunt and uncle at Boudro’s this past weekend. I expected this upscale restaurant to be crowded (this is on San Antonio’s Riverwalk, after all), but I’ve never seen a more worthy attempt at cramming tables and chairs into such tight spots. The small table couldn’t hold all of our dishes at once, the guacamole cart just would not fit between my uncle’s chair and our neighbor, and I think I actually rubbed hair with the person sitting behind me several times. Yes, it was also loud, but you sit so close to your tablemates that it doesn’t really matter.
My first impression was not good, and neither was my second. The bar is tiny. I have self-declared myself to be a liquor snob, but what kind of place only offers three brands of tequila (two if you exclude the Cuervo). I settled for Tanq 10 and tasted my wife’s Mojito to see if they got it right. Personally, not enough lime or mint, and too much of the fake sweet stuff. Hmm, what’s next?
We decided to order the tableside Guacamole, which was actually pretty good. Our waiter prepared the guac next to our table in a molcajete (a mexican mortar). The flavor of the purple onions and orange were evident and added a unique flavor to the guac that you normally don’t get elsewhere. You can check out my recipe here.
My aunt and uncle ordered Shrimp Cocktails which were beautifully presented in a cored out cucumber served on top of a slaw made with carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and jicama in a vinaigrette. The slaw came warm and tasted great.
The specialty here is the Blackened Prime Rib, which I ordered on the recommendation of a good friend of mine who used to be the General Manager here several years ago. Had I not been able to meet and speak with his friend, the head line cook, I probably would not have been able to sub my sides. It normally comes with potatoes and veggies, which I was not in the mood for. However, another side dish caught my attention: the fire fries with fried jalapenos and plantains served with chimichurri sauce. My 10-12 oz. steak arrived heavily blackened and medium-rare on top of my subbed sides and a hearty dose of chimichurri sauce on top. There are many different recipes for chimichurri, but I believe mine was a mix of parsley, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil (lots of garlic, by the way). I am not a fat eater and was fairly pleased to only have to cut off about 3oz. of pure fat. The fries were thin and crispy and everyone at the table liked them.
Three others at the table had the Filet which was fantastic. However, you may want to stay away from butterflying it since it will tend to dry it out somewhat.
My dad ordered the Big Tails Little Tails, which comes with pan-seared baby lobster tail and giant gulf shrimp served with a spicy crawfish etouffe on top of an avocado and roasted tomato risotto. The lobster and shrimp were cooked well and the sauce was spectacular. Unfortunately, the risotto fell way short. The flavor was okay, but the grain was still firm and crispy (as Chef Ramsay would scream: “The risotto is %&$#ing raw!!!”).
My wife ordered the Coconut Shrimp glazed with orange chili (though not hot at all) and served with a creamy horseradish sauce and a jicama slaw. This slaw was different than the one that came with the shrimp cocktail and my wife did not like it at all. She said it was way too lemony and inedible. It also came with a corn cob that was too hard to eat. Overall, the veggies really appeared to be more of plate decoration than side dishes. The shrimp, however, were big and crispy and tangy and tasted great.
We all skipped dessert, but had coffee and espresso. I am also a coffee snob, did I tell you that? For a place with an average plate price of $30, you better have fantastic coffee. Boudro’s did not.
All in all, I found Boudro’s to be overpriced. However, it is understandable considering the lack of space in this restaurant and the outrageous cost of doing business on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Nevertheless, for the price, I expect all the food to be up to par. The entrees were very good, but the sides were merely an afterthought and did not seem to complement the dish. The restaurant attracts a fairly equal mix of locals and tourists, so if you live here in San Antonio, you won’t feel uncomfortable at all. If you are a tourist staying downtown this is a nice place to visit. If you are a local and are ready to shell out some bucks on a nice date, check out Boudro’s at least once and make your own decision. The menu is extensive and I wouldn’t mind trying some of the other things on the menu the next time someone pays for me.