CURED (curedatpearl.com) was just a 1/2 block away from my hotel in the beautiful Pearl District and is the genius child of Chef Steven McHugh and Manager Robert Rodriguez who run a tight ship and truly deliver.
While I knew some folks here, and indeed, have known people at many places we dine, it was a thrill to be greeted at the door with a glass of JP Chenet Brut Blanc de Blanc as Robert showed me the amazing place which is an historic destination in itself as this building was the admin space for the Pearl Brewery for decades and even still houses the vault which held the beer recipes! There are so many wonderful things to enjoy not to mention the charcuterie cooler that welcomes you as you walk in the door.
After meeting Chef Steven, I was taken to a cozy table and while the place is large and has such high ceilings, it's not that noisy, even at full capacity which it always seems to be (even on a Tuesday at 630pm). There was a guy next tmme whose voie boomed so loudly it was almost nerve wracking. I could write a book about his comments, but will only make several quotes such as "Calfornia is a liberal shithole," and the Oscars are all liberal propaganda. I eventually discovered he emigrated to the US in his twenties and asked how he had no accent to which he responded, "Any immigrant coming here should learn proper English and no have an accent, " which was one of his logistics for not allowing folks in today. Enough said!
The amuse was a Arancini with truffle and a slightly pricy Pomodoro Sauce which was yummy and got me in the mood.
My drink of choice was the Starter Kit if Dulce Vida Tequila with Grapefruit, Jalapeno, Lime and Salt. It was meant to be a margarita for the man who rebuilt this entire district and has made it what it is as he loves tequila, grapefruit and jalapeno; it was delish and refreshing. The Charcuterie plate (fotos on FB) arrived and it was huge, but I could not resist. My excellent server Mark explained every little aspect:
Apple Jalapeno Pork Rillettes which were easily the best I have ever had on earth as they were blended just right (not too much) and topped with a yummy apple jalapeno marmalade.
Flatbread or Brewer's Crackers that resembled matza, but tasted better was loaded up as well
Chicken Liver Mousse was rich smooth and creamy.
Smoked Beef Shank Terrine was earthy and full falvored
Lamb Landjager or Hunter's Sausage was spiced perfectly and an ideal miniature salami
Of the cut meats my favorites were easily the Smoked Duck Ham and 90 Day Coppa
Accompanying were Pearl Quince Jam, Orange Mustard, Blueberry Mustard (which I fell in love with), Curried Onion, Apple/Honey Mustard and both Dill & Bread & Butter Pickles.
You can choose THREE ($18), SIX ($26) or NINE ($34) items from the daily list of cured meats (30days-12 months) from the group which today totaled 18.
My Zum Martin Sepp Gruner Veltliner was crisp and refreshing with a hint of white pepper for a needed palate cleanser with the meats as well as with my next course of Chicken Fried Livers, a Cured take on the Chicken Fried Oysters seen everywhere, here with Lemon,Pepper Jelly and Shallots that all delivered a crunchy fried kick. A Pieropan Soavce Classico had acidity and lemon that matched those found in the superb fried offal!
My "main" course was perfect and light as well: Bison Tartare, which would have sent Samuel to heaven, came from local vendor Buffalo Trace and was as lean as tartare can get with Huitlacoche Puree, Bourbon Cured Egg Yolk and Brioche.
The wine was The Crusher Petite Sirah from Clarksburg, California (you know that liberal sh*thole :-).
I have to add that while there 18 reds, 17 whites, 2 roses and 5 sparkling wines on the menu over 80% are served by the glass in Reidel stemware!
I wanted to stay light for dessert and chose the STRAWBERRY which was Lemon Poppyseed Cake, Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream and Green Pea in the description. Indeed it was warm poppyseed cake that was not the least bit dry and divine strawberry ice cream with lemon curd as well as pea meringue and tendrils which was accompanied with a glass of Osborne Pedro Jimenez sweet sherry.
I walked the 2 minutes back to my hotel and hit the sack to be ready for my 6am wake up call to return to culinary boot camp!
If I make it back to San Antonio, I'm headed right back to CURED.
By the way, Cured donates a dollar from every charcuterie plate to charity which rotate every 3 months. So admirable!