At times a restaurant can transcend the food, atmosphere and service. The restaurant turns more into being a place to get a good meal and becomes a location associated with good memories of times past. Lüke San Antonio is one those places to me. Opened in 2010, Lüke has been the backdrop of several memorable events: going to an opening party with my wife-to-be, the place where she met my grandfather for the first time, a spot where I took some friends after buying their old pickup and countless happy hours with a friend as we work on our entrepreneurial dreams at Geekdom.
But one moment that is particularly memorable is when my wife and I went to Lüke the night after we got engaged on the River Walk for drinks. We decided to check out the restaurant and the new chef a year later to celebrate that night. The first thing we noticed was that the menu has undergone some changes. No longer is there the prix fixe dinner special of soup, entrée and dessert. Additionally the shrimp in the cup has changed to now be become Crispy Fried Shrimp Bam Bam (not served in a cup). However, even through these menu changes, the stellar service and top-notch food has remained consistent.
Hearing of our celebration, the GM brought out a couple of French 75 cocktails to our table. This cocktail is one of my wife’s favorite at Lüke – a mix of cognac and champagne, it is refreshing with a little bit of sweetness. The best part is the brandy soaked cherry at the bottom of the glass. As we sipped on the cocktail we got to listen to some Dixieland tunes being performed by a live band out on the patio.
The meal started with the Shrimp Bam Bam and were happy that it retained the same crisp as well as the spicy mayo. The only discernible difference is that the shrimp is laid out on a board instead of being in a cup. While one might think that this would allow the shrimp to cool off faster, you’d be forgetting how tasty these shrimp are and that they don’t last long enough to get cold. The shrimp is still one of the best appetizers in town.
To our surprise, the waiter also brought out a couple of Rockefeller oysters of a size that would have impressed John D. Rockefeller himself. Although I am not the biggest fan of oysters, I had to try this one. The sauce was incredibly rich and it was one the meatiest oysters that I have had (side note: if you are an oyster fan, get yourself to the Lüke happy hour from 4:00 – 6:00PM for fifty cent oysters on the half shell). Immediately following was a seafood bisque that had plenty of crab and shrimp in it, along with a slow burning spice.
For the main course I decided to get the fillet (medium rare) that came with a potato terrine and braised greens. I liked the potatoes, however, I was blown away by the fillet. The meat was incredibly tender and prepared to perfection. The fillet melted in my mouth and was full of flavor – I like to think of the Lüke fillet as meat candy.
For dessert, we tried the apple empanadas with toasted almonds and ice cream as well as the Gâteau Basque, a vanilla cake on the bed of fresh strawberries and blue berries topped with crème fraiche. The best part of the empanada dessert was rolling the toasted almonds that were coated with sugar around in the vanilla bean ice cream – in fact, I think I might ask for a couple of scoops of ice cream with those almonds the next time I visit.
The Gâteau Basque was dense and moist, and the strawberries further brought out the sweetness of the cake. The evening was capped off with complementary hot buttered rum, and my only complaint was that it wasn’t cold enough outside to let the cocktail warm you up.
Lüke once again proved why it is a go to place for special occasions in my life. The atmosphere is amazing, the service is solid and the food is one of the tops in town.
Thanks to the staff at Lüke for providing complementary drinks, oysters and desserts for this occasion.