Culinaria’s Restaurant Week ended with a bang in San Antonio last Saturday, and one of the restaurants that participated was Johnny Hernandez’s The Frutería- Botanero.
The restaurant, located at 1401 S. Flores St., was inspired by Mexico’s fruit and snack stands when it opened in 2012 to give locals the opportunity to try Mexico in America. By day, the menu offerings range from fresh fruit cups, licuados (smoothies) to tortas and tostadas for breakfast and lunch.
The Frutería transforms into a botanero offering Mexican tapas or small plates of botanas or antojitos, ranging from nuts, guacamoles, stuffed peppers to bite-size tostadas or chilapitas at night. I recently paid a visit to the restaurant during Culinaria’s Restaurant Week and experienced the essence of Mexico the restaurant offers.
On the Restaurant Week menu:
The Tlacoyos, the appetizer, included griddled stone ground corn filled with black beans and topped with shaved onions, radishes, cilantro and avocado cream. Biting into it, there were more flavors from the top ingredients. Hints of citrus and creamy made this dish creative, however, not one that stood out from the rest due to not enough savor from the beans or the breading.
The entrée, Puerco en mole blanco, had an interesting presentation. With ingredients including pork belly with aromatic spices in a roasted chile and white chocolate sauce, pine nuts and toasted almonds, I happily got a savory and sweet taste. The black beans had a hint of cinnamon and paired well with the pork belly.
For dessert, the Mexican-style Bread Pudding tasted more like a heart-healthy apple cobbler. It was soft yet crunchy with fall stone fruits and apples. Surprisingly, it was tasteful and a creative way to make bread pudding.
On the everyday menu:
The Tequila Fundido con Frutas, panela cheese in a cast iron grilled with tequila fruit compote and hints of chile ancho, was the best item on the menu. It was gooey and excellent with the fruit on a tortilla. I highly recommend this item when you go visit the restaurant.
The Chiles Anchos con Pollo was a chile rellenó with dried ancho peppers with shredded chicken tinga, tomato sauce and crema. It left something to be desired because when you think of chile relleno, you think fried and gooey when you push the fork all the way down to your plate. Instead, it was putting the fork down only to find chicken.
The experience at The Frutería was one that expanded my palette – all for a good cause. This citywide event highlighted many of the best local chefs and restaurants, including both new additions to San Antonio’s culinary scene and beloved mainstays.
All participating restaurants will donate a portion of their proceeds to the mission and building of the Culinaria Farm, which will come to life in spring 2017 at a new location that will be announced soon.
The Farm (TF) is a strategic extension of Culinaria in the form of education and is the homegrown effort of many chefs, food professionals, farmers, volunteers, sponsors and a very passionate staff. TF will become the perfect place to learn where your food comes from, while chefs play a starring role in showing you how to create the best flavors from the food you can grow at home.
For more information, please call 210-822-9555, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.culinariasa.org on how you can become a sponsor, volunteer or help build and work on the farm.