On the Road Again: Cured in San Antonio

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
The Pearl District in San Antonio is my new favorite thing in the world.

They (whoever "they" may be) came in, saw all these old, run-down Pearl breweries and factories, had a vision, and turned this abandoned area into a gorgeous, trendy, fun section of San Antonio. A culinary institute (which I may or may not have thought was the Alamo...okay, I did), beautiful lofts, and chic restaurants with industrial interiors make up this hip area. So when Jon and I visited our friends Mark and Kelly out in Cibolo a few weekends ago, they took us to the Pearl District for dinner.

We walked around for a bit, me in my ultimate exposed brick glory, and settled on Cured for dinner.

Located in what used to be Pearl's administrative offices, this stunning restaurant is teeming with history. From a huge wine-filled vault in the back, to original free-standing basins dating back to the early 1900s, the host or hostess (or in our case, our super friendly server) will gladly give you an informative tour of everything.

It was an exceptionally beautiful night, so we opted to sit outside on the back patio.

To start, we split a wonderfully presented charcuterie plate. I did not eat any of the meat, but I thoroughly enjoyed their crackers, pickled vegetables, and spicy, sinus-clearing mustard. Jon, Kelly, and Mark all seemed to have a different favorite of the three cured meats they chose.

Beyond the charcuterie, the rest of the menu is split up into different categories (vegetable, seafood, fowl, etc.), with 3-4 options underneath each one. The "twist" on this is that the food options get larger in size in ascending order of being listed under each category.

For my entree, I ordered the last/largest of the vegetable options, the Pearl Farmers' Market vegetarian selection. On that particular night, the offering was an herbed gnocchi with roasted carrots. And y'all?

it. was. so. good.

I seriously LOVED this dish. The masterfully herbed gnocchi was fragrant, silky, and mouthwatering. I generally prefer carrots in their raw form, but these roasted ones were buttery and sweet, and they paired wonderfully with the gnocchi. The *only* gripe I have is that for it being the largest of the vegetarian offerings, it still wasn't that big. For the amount of carrots included, I would have liked to see more gnocchi. I can't imagine what the first vegetable option (the beet, avocado, & citrus salad) would have looked like, portion-wise.

Kelly ordered the spicy lamb meatballs (pictured above, top left), and while she enjoyed them, being second on the list under "goat and lamb" it was a pretty small portion size. Conversely, Jon ordered the seared redfish with squid ink risotto, brussels sprouts, and shrimp (top right), which was the second item out of four under "seafood," and his was a much more generous sized, filling portion (he also really enjoyed it). Mark ordered the pork cheeks poutine, the last item under "pork," and it was a ginormous serving. He couldn't finish it.

Even after he and Jon went splitsies on it.

(I mean, how adorable are they).

The food was incredible, but the portion sizes were a bit confusing. That said, I still had room for dessert, which was exciting!

For dessert I ordered the golden beet cake, served with homemade pistachio marshmallows and hibiscus red beet ice cream. The cake was hearty and earthy, and it paired exceptionally well with the marshmallows. The marshmallows were out of this world. Subtly sweet and fluffy with a slightly crispy exterior, they may have been the best 'mallows I've ever had. The ice cream though was not my favorite. I love beets, so I wanted to love it, but it really left a "green" aftertaste in my mouth. I appreciate the creativity, but I think the dish as a whole was better off without the ice cream.

Overall, we had a great time at Cured. I do like the unique idea of increasing portion sizes for each menu section, but the plates did not seem consistent in size across the board. More consistency and clearer descriptors would have probably prepared us a little better. Regardless, the food was absolutely incredible and inventive, and the restaurant itself was gorgeous and rich with fascinating history, located smack dab in the beautiful, non-touristy (yet!) historic Pearl District. I definitely recommend it!

Riverwalk, who?

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