SAT: Thanksgiving week in San Antonio North: near USAA/ Medical Center
I'll be spending Thanksgiving with my girlfriend's family in San Antonio-- coming in from DC-- and was wondering if there were any places close by the USAA area that come highly recommended.
We usually go to Chachos (I've noticed some people on this board don't like them, but I've always really enjoyed their beef and al pastor fajitas) and I can't wait to go again... and again. But I was wondering if there's anything else in the surrounding area- Mexican, Tex-Mex, homecookin', Vietnamese, Thai, South American, Greek, Indian, BBQ, moderately priced, or anything else that's a 'can't miss.'
We have a week, but we'll probably be cooking in most nights. So I want the meals we do go out for to be really good and memorable food.
Thanks for the help.
There are relatively few San-Antonio-area chowhounds, jrsmoltz, so a search of what's already on this board might be necessary. When I posted an inquiry about chow near the Medical Center, I got a few good suggestions:
I recently had a pretty good meal at Mimi's and Dimi's, a Greek restaurant at 7159 West Highway 90. A search reveals that I never wrote it up. As I recall, three of us went on an expedition with gyros on the mind. When we finally found the strip-shopping center where this restaurant is located, we were starving. We left the restaurant more than satisfied. The gyro deluxe comes with a very good, though oily, Greek salad and your choice of french fries and oven-roasted potatoes. The fries were good, but this is one of those rare times when the roasted potatoes (skinned, halved, and buttered) were better. I believe we had a perfectly acceptable hummus to start, though I remember being intrigued by the flaming-cheese appetizer. The desserts looked more interesting than they tasted [skip the baklava and the apple tart]. Overall, this was a good experience.
The northwest part of town near USAA and the Medical Center isn't really the epicenter of San Antonio's finest chow, though I do like Big'z Burger Joint on 1604 West between Bitters Road and Huebner (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/33390... ). Silo is now located in that same part of town, for what that's worth. For cheap eats, however, you can take Fredericksburg practically all the way into downtown, Bandera until it turns into Calebra, or Callaghan all the way to the intersection with Highway 90, to get to the "west" [geographically, not really west] and south sides of town, which, in my opinion, have some of the best Tex-Mex and Mexican food. There are tons of spots that are popular with tourists (Rosario's, etc) that you'll hear about in the mainstream media. Some of these well-known spots are pretty good. If you're interested instead in getting off-the-beaten track, this thread contains some links that might be of interest to you:
On the expensive end of the scale, I've been wanting to try Cafe Paladar for Sunday brunch. Lastly, I've recently had an excellent meal at Francesca's at Sunset:
O'Brien's in Bergheim
This is outside of your 7 mile radius but certainly meets your requirement for "really good and memorable food". This is my favorite restaurant on the planet. The best chicken fried steak I have ever eaten was at O'Brien's. I am not a turkey fan but I found the turkey pot pie (daily special on my last visit) at O'Brien's quite enjoyable. I don't think you would be disappointed here. Less than 1/2 hour from USAA.
I'm a newcomer to San Antonio and have spent my time focused on seafood, Tex-Mex and interior places. I'm kicking myself for not having been to Bin 555 before only recently. It's about a 15 minute ride from your base of operations and worth the trip. Lived in Chicago, DC and NYC and haven't been to a better small-dish restaurant. Tapas with a Southwest sensibility. Really affordable. Kind of grating service, but the food, the food. You can browse the site for other local recommendations. It's a good eating town.
I live close to USAA and recommend Thai Topaz for a consistently good low-priced Thai meal. Golden Wok is good for Chinese. There are a few small italian places that I've tried nearby, but I prefer Carraba's on 1-10 (its a chain). Bistro Time is great for European and nearby, but its a little pricier. Shiraz is an amazing (and fairly expensive) persian restaurant that I would drive hours to dine at. Beijing (just south of Castle Hills on NW Military, can be really good - I usually order from the Vietnamese menu but the Cathay beef and the General Chicken are unusually good there too). Picante Grill is my favorite mexican restaurant, but its a bit of a drive from USAA (15-20 min) . Savor Fare is also pretty good for Asian (Huebner, west of Babcock). Cheesy Janes is a good choice for burgers, as is Fatburger on Huebner - but Chris Madrid's is the best. Hmm.... Greek - Its Greek to Me, on Babcock is an authentic little mom and pop place that we enjoy. Hopefully some of those are helpful to you :)