by Steven Doyle
Yesterday I shared the story of a lovely San Antonio hot spot that is endeared by the locals, Liberty Bar. What I didn’t know at the time was that a tavern I had been to the night before was the previous digs of Liberty and had a rich history you can read about here. The location is now called Minnie’s Tavern and Rye House, and they make some pretty terrific food and cocktails there.
Now owned by Chef Andrew Weissman who began his gastronomic career at the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating at the top of his class, Weissman took his talents to France, where he worked under Chefs Bernard Andrieux and Jacques Thiebeult Andrew. He also worked Restaurant Bernard Andrieux, Hotel de la Poste, and Troisgros in Roanne while making his French tour.
Weissman’s time abroad re-energized his passion for food, which he applied stateside at Manhattan’s Le Cirque 2000. But Weissman’s ultimate food mission brought him back home to San Antonio, where he introduced world-class cuisine to his hometown with the opening of Le Rêve in 2001. With critical acclaim from The New York Times, Forbes Traveler, and Gourmet, along with two James Beard nominations under his belt, Weissman made an indelible mark on the San Antonio culinary scene.
Weissman’s went on to open The Sandbar Fish House & Market, an upscale oyster bar, and Osteria Il Sogno, his five-star ode to the trattorias and osterias of Rome and Florence. Later in 2012, Weissman added another eatery to the San Antonio food scene with The Luxury, an outdoor restaurant featuring retro-fitted cargo containers and a menu of high-end cargo cuisine. The seemingly inexhaustible Weissman also owns Sip Coffee & Espresso bar and is part owner of his family’s restaurant, Big’z Burger Joint.
Last Friday I was fortunate enough to pop into Minnie’s with the intent of having a single cocktail but was blown away by the list of enticing starters on the menu and proceeded to order most of them for the group. I stayed perched by the pass through watching some amazing dishes fly by and decided on the foie torchon for its lustfulness and sheer size. The dish did not disappoint.
sweetbreads and escargot
Another fine dish was a plate of sweetbreads and escargot nestled in a frisee. The sweetbreads were tender and moist as were the snails. Then there was the rabbit rillettes and chicken pate. Both a must for any traveler.
The king of our courses was a simple Croque Madame which arrived all gooey, dripping in egg yolk. Perfect way to soak up the evening cocktails. This begged for another visit where the group might sit and enjoy a full on repast. You will also most likely want to sample the duck confit. It looked amazing.
For the lunch crowd you may dine in, or order via the side kitchen window. It is exactly that: a window in the kitchen were you can order sandwiches, all priced at $7 even. Try the falafel with garlic hummus, house-pickled vegetables, tahini, harissa, bib lettuce and dill labneh. The sandwiches go very well with a Topo Chico, also available at the side window.
As for those cocktails? Barman Andy Hack makes some of the best the city has to offer. Find out at this tiny bistro located at 328 East Josephine St in San Antonio. Their number is 210.220.1890. No website or Facebook available.