I just left the newly opened JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country, the latest entry into the JW portfolio of spectacular hotels. Located just miles from downtown San Antonio, this 1,000 room property is already a great place to visit, and a great place to dine.
Cibolo Moonis the three-meal answer to the question “What to eat while in the Hill Country?” Try simple Texas cooking with three meals of bold flavor and a surprising nod to the German heritage of the first hill country settlers. Nearby New Braunfels was the first predominantly German settlement in 1860’s Texas, which explains the spattering of locally made sausages, tart and German potato salad, and house pickled vegetables. Much of the menu is full-on Texas barbeque, for those wanting the roadhouse experience without the roadhouse. Great side dishes, lunchtime chopped brisket on house baked Pullman loaf, butter slathered cast iron baked biscuits, simply grilled fish and sweet wild Gulf shrimp take their rightful place next to smoky salt and pepper ribs, plate sized chicken fried steak, and “burnt ends”, the smoky bits off the bbq to wrap in soft flour tortillas.
Carefully selected redfish is prepared “on the half shell,” a unique Texas style that causes the fillet to curve up when grilled with the skin and scales still on. The scales protect the meat as it cooks, keeping the fish moist and tender before being mopped with a citrusy chile butter. Authentic cooking, just as it is done along the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Breakfast is simply outstanding – pecan sticky loaf for the whole table, organic egg “huevos rancheros,” bbq local sausages, a serious burrito with serious Texas red, and real biscuits with real gravy. Cibolo Moon’s copper clad exhibition kitchen provides a direct view to Executive Chef Ryan Littman’s talented culinary staff and the dynamic Melissa Hendrickson, who runs the Cibolo Moon kitchen.
The restaurant 18 Oaks, boasts Prime, small ranch, and naturally-raised steaks as the showpiece to this striking steakhouse, located just off the golf course. Steakhouses are timeless but sometimes tired. Not so here. There is a great balance of the expected with the unexpected. Order the local cut 100 mile radius beef (from Windy Bar Ranch), these well aged Steaks pair perfectly with truffled creamed corn, charred cippolini & foraged mushrooms, and crisp Rosti potatoes. Still a creamed spinach and au gratin steakhouse side fan? 18 Oaks’ examples are memorable. Steak toppings of made in-house grain mustards, classic béarnaise, peppercorn sauce or grated to order horseradish round out this well executed menu.
With a wall of screens and 24 beer taps, High Velocityis an amped up sports bar with great and interesting food to fit any game. Outside and just being finished, the Rivertop pool bar anchors a water park my kids have already claimed they simply must see, and in fact have already stated that no matter what, our next vacation is in San Antonio
If the Hill Country is considered the culinary breadbasket of Texas, the new JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country is the best place to experience it.
What’s on YOUR plate today? BBQ, Texas style.