My first assignment as an intern at SA Flavor came a few weekends ago when I had the opportunity to eat brunch at Sustenio, a restaurant by chef Stephan Pyles at Eilan Hotel Resort & Spa, as well as attend Ripe, a farmer’s market at Eilan. I was excited to check out what they had to offer, so I brought along my friend Amanda who is in culinary school (my friends love food too!).
Amanda and I made our way to Sustenio on Sunday morning and realized right away how beautiful the grounds of Eilan are. From I-10, you can see the large buildings with pretty yellow and orange stripes, but to get the full effect you have to actually walk around the area. We literally felt like we were in a different country for a few seconds. There are multi-colored buildings and a huge fountain and staircase that lead into the hotel. It’s Europe in San Antonio, people!
The farmer’s market was going on so there were a lot of people walking around and little stands set up with all types of goodies. We walked through quickly because we knew we would want to stop and try everything, but needed to save room for brunch.
Sustenio is right inside of the hotel and looked like what you would expect from a nice hotel restaurant. Each table had a linen tablecloth with a flower in a vase and the restaurant had modern and sleek décor. Although it was nice inside, most people where dressed somewhat casually and it did not feel overly fancy (I’m not a very fancy person, so this was appreciated). They had a few TVs on the walls near the bar, so Sunday football was silently playing (also appreciated).
All of the staff were very friendly and our server was really entertaining. They most likely knew we were there for SA Flavor, but in my opinion they seemed to be very outgoing and friendly to everyone in the restaurant. The manager was nice enough to bring out a passion fruit margarita, with a touch of jalapeño, for both of us. I usually drink mimosas during brunch outings, so this was definitely stronger, but a nice change. The jalapeño added a little kick to the otherwise sweet margarita. Tasty!
I decided to order Chicken-Fried Tenderloin Tips and Eggs (aka: fancy biscuits and gravy with beef). Amanda ordered the Sustenio Benedicto Nuevo (aka: fancy eggs benedict). Although my meal wasn’t served as hot as I would prefer, it was delicious. Considering that most of the time I have gotten chicken fried steak the meat has been very well done, I was shocked that the tenderloin tips were perfectly cooked. I could still see a good amount of pink when I cut into them and they were not tough. The gravy was creamy and flavorful, but not salty. The biscuits were unusual in a good way. They were very thick (not flaky like I am used to) and the taste reminded me of sourdough. Something different! They paired very well with the gravy and tenderloin. I basically tried to get a piece of everything on my fork at one time so I got the full effect. The eggs were fluffy and had a good flavor, but didn’t stand a chance of standing out against fried steak and gravy! To be honest, I don’t know what would!
Amanda loved her meal. She thought the bacon was extra smoky and delicious (she was bragging, so I had to also try a piece and I agree) and she really enjoyed the Everything Danish that the eggs were on top of. We were both impressed with the seasoning of both plates. Neither was overly salty, which in my opinion happens often with breakfast food. You could see reddish salt on top of both plates so we asked about it and our server said it is red clay sea salt from Hawaii. I will be purchasing some of this salt soon for sure. The menu had a decent amount of other choices, so almost anyone could find something to try.
After leaving brunch, Amanda and I did get a chance to roam the farmer’s market, Ripe. People were selling everything from fresh veggies, homemade bread (which I felt was very necessary to purchase…I LOVE bread), salsas, jewelry, dog treats, wind chimes and many other items. Although it was pretty hot outside, we enjoyed walking around and chatting with everyone selling different things. I ended up buying olive oil, garlic bread and an outdoor candle fixture. Amanda bought a candle and some treats for her dog. Overall, I had a fresh, great meal and a nice Sunday outing that was different from my normal weekend. I will definitely be going back to try other meals at Sustenio and also looking forward to roaming through Ripe again soon.
Sustenio Modern Southwestern Cuisine at Eilan Hotel Resort & Spa, 17103 La Cantera Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78256
Sustenio comped the brunch that was reviewed in this article.