3. The Cookhouse
720 E Mistletoe, (210) 320-8211, cookhouserestaurant.com
We knew Pieter Sypesteyn could cook after he opened his food truck, Where Y'at, three years ago at the gates of Southtown known as Alamo Street Eat Bar. The truck gave us a taste of what was to come in the form of serious po'boys, loaded gumbos and saucy jambalayas. But with the opening of The Cookhouse, Sypesteyn has really let the good times roll....or laissez les bons temps rouler, as the restaurant's concept would have it.
Lunch is familiar enough, and you'll find food truck favorites such as the fried oyster and crispy bacon combo once known as the Peacemaker, the classic muffaletta or a plenty tasty fried shrimp po'boy. Served up much like at the truck—wrapped in white butcher paper, that is—lunch is an informal affair. And don't forget the napkins.
Once dinner starts, Sypesteyn delivers on all sides (and, yes, those are quite delicious, as well). During our dinner visit (a first of many since the restaurant opened in early September), we loaded up on the charbroiled oysters, a buttery and spice-laden affair that begged for more soft bread to sop up any extra sauce. The paneed shrimp was a meal unto itself, but don't fill up on just that—there are entrees to be had.
The roasted duck is a favorite, with its pillowy marjoram potato gnocchi and savory tomato confit, but don't pass on the classic New Orleans barbecue shrimp (again, ask for more bread). Sypesteyn also has a way with fish—the blackened drum, topped with shrimp and served on a bed of potato and corn hash, is comforting and begs for a return visit. Get there early or call in reservations beforehand, this is quickly turning into everyone's favorite restaurant.