San Antonio Trip Report – Feb 2010
I was in San Antonio for a few days in February with a few friends for a conference – a number of our meals were provided at the conference, but we tried to make the best of our time there, and managed to have some excellent meals.
BBQ Station: We chose this one for its proximity to the airport – the brisket was actually really good, super fatty and juicy, but everything else (chopped beef, ribs, sausage, sides, sauce) was mediocre.
High Velocity Sports Bar (JW Marriot Hill Country) – what can I say, by the time our conference was done for the day and we had finished exercising, it was too late to leave the Marriott. We ended up at the flashy sports bar – they had a fun selection of local beers, which could be sampled in flights. The food was not good. I ordered fish tacos, figuring they would be tough to screw up, and they probably would have been ok, had it not been for the incongruous coating of ranch dressing on the fish.
Los Barrios: Our luck started to turn on day two. The sauces at Los Barrios are really remarkable – super bright, fresh and balanced. We ordered the Filete a la Tampiquena and the Costillas Rancheras, both of which starred beautiful, complex and distinct sauces. We loved the green sauce on the chicken enchiladas as well. Of the puffy tacos, the beef was the best – nicely seasoned beef, blonder than expected but light and crisp taco. The bean and guac crispy tacos were bland. The guacamole in general was very bland – I couldn’t detect anything other than avocado. The special nachos were unimpressive.
Two Brothers: My first taste of the brisket, unsauced, almost knocked me over. The crust was caramelized and tasted almost like candied bacon – the meat was ultra juicy and fatty. The ribs were very good as well – the quality of meat for both brisket and ribs was extremely high. The chicken was stellar, super moist and flavorful. The sausage was merely ok, and the pork butt bland. I appreciated the vinegary tang of the coleslaw, but don't remember much about the rest of the sides.
The sauces were terrific, really bright and acidic and well-balanced. Prior to this trip, the entirety of my bbq experience has been of meat drenched in tomato/molasses based sauces, so this was an epiphany. Turns out I do like bbq sauce after all.
(Huh. Having trouble finding the Places Link for Two Bros. Address is 12656 West Avenue, Suite B, San Antonio, TX 78216)
I went home with a few gallon Baggies full of brisket and ribs in my carry-on, with sauce carefully massaged between pieces so as not to run afoul of the TSA. I didn’t get a chance to go to Luling or Lockhart this time, but as luck would have it, I’m going to Austin in June – looks like I’ll get another chance!
Especially loved this bit:
"Los Barrios: Our luck started to turn on day two. The sauces at Los Barrios are really remarkable – super bright, fresh and balanced. We ordered the Filete a la Tampiquena and the Costillas Rancheras, both of which starred beautiful, complex and distinct sauces. We loved the green sauce on the chicken enchiladas as well."
I read it very carefully. Recently on this board, somebody said that they only ever order fajitas because everything else is drenched in cheese.
I found that puzzling at the time, because I am certainly not a fan of overly-cheesed dishes and have no trouble whatsoever ordering from a wide selection of completely cheese-free offerings, and this paragraph reinforces my experience. I doubt anything you sampled was drenched in cheese.
Ever since I read that person's "I only order fajitas" post, I've been ticking off in my mind a long list of typical Mexican entrees that have no cheese, and you've just mentioned two of the best.
Thanks for the kind words, Jaymes. The menu *is* pretty gigantic - I think that if you didn't go in making informed choices, it's possible that you could end up with a tableful of cheese-drenched dishes. I was lucky that I had scribbled someone's rec for the rib dish, and then found myself mysteriously drawn to the filete. It reminds me a bit of the menus at a lot of Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area, where a couple of authentic regional dishes are buried in an avalanche of deep-fried, sweet and sour sauced offerings. Actually, I haven't a clue if the dishes I ordered are authentic Mexican, or just the best Tex-Mex I've ever had, but they were delicious.
Yes, your dishes are pretty typically and authentically Mexican. That green sauce that you loved on the green enchiladas is made from tomatillos, and is easy to make at home.
In fact, those Enchiladas Verdes are a great dinner party dish and if you liked them, you might give that a try. Like I said, not difficult at all.
Too bad you didn't have time to get down to Lockhart or Luling. Perhaps, as you say, in June you can do a little more exploring.
Thanks for the report. Will be very helpful for my trip next week as I'm also staying nearby the airport.
Two Brothers was spectacular! The brisket could hold up against some of the best in Central Texas. Delicious crust, and the meat was tender and moist with deep smoke flavor. My favorite there was the cherry glazed baby back ribs. Upon seeing the black crust, I expected something dry and oversweetened, but it was moist and balanced the sweet and meat flavor nicely.
And glad to know that the BBQ Snob gives his nod. Will try the smoked shrimp next time.
No one has said that Two Brothers Bar-b-Que is owned by the Dady Brothers (of The Lodge at Castle Hills, Bin 555, Tre Trattoria and Insigna in the Fairmont). With these chops, it should be good...all the others are outstanding. Glad to hear they have brought
good 'que to San Antonio. Enjoy!
4003 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209
555 W Bitters Rd Ste 110, San Antonio, TX 78216
Ha ha - I was about to link to the original thread with the Two Bros rec, which did mention the Dady connection, and then realized it was your recommendation.
Not being local, I didn't know whether the affiliation with an upscale restaurant group would be a pro or a con - I'm usually a little wary of down-home food done by fancy folk. All I can say is that the brisket is so many leagues better than anything I've ever had that I can't even imagine there being something more delicious - good to know that air thought it was on par with some of the best.
Visited Two Brothers BBQ a couple of weeks ago--
We showed up at late afternoon-- probably the worst time to go-- only a couple other patrons..... all the food had been sitting around, keeping warm for a while it seemed--
However-- we could tell it had GREAT Potential!!--- everything was superb, if not straight off the grill ---
I tried a bit of most everything-- all was wonderful-- the outside patio seating looked like a ton of fun, but as i say- we were there before the music (which large signs proclaimed-- but we left before it would have started) and after the lunch crowd --
I would heartily recommend trying this spot for lunch or dinner-- and we will be back soon!