December 13, 2016 Slideshows » Food & Drink

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The 16 Best San Antonio Dishes We Ate in 2016 

After a year’s worth of dining, here’s what stuck out as 2016’s best bites.
Photos by Jessica Elizarraras
Jessica Elizarraras
The Mac from Grayze
521 E. Grayson St., (210) 481-8776, grayzeongrayson.com
Chef Pedro Cuellar #blessed us with the mac daddy of all macs when Grayze opened in January. Gruyere, white cheddar, Manchego and fontina combine with grilled onions to creamy, extra cheesy and addictive results.

Photo courtesy of Grayze
Jessica Elizarraras
Chicken Katsu from Tenko Ramen
TBD
Though Quealy Watson and wife Jennifer Dobbertin have yet to announce a location for their upcoming Tenko Ramen shop, noodle-crazy San Antonians got a taste for what’s to come with a five-week pop-up at Brick. The chicken tea sandwich though, with perfect crust needs to make a comeback ASAP.
Jessica Elizarraras
Crawfish from Pinch Boil House
TBD
The mussels are great, the shrimp boils are a must, but the crawfish is what first hooked me onto Pinch’s Vietnamese-style seafood with its lemongrass, garlic and citrus notes. Their brick-and-mortar location can’t open soon enough.
Jessica Elizarraras
Thai Fried Chicken from Francis Bogside
803 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 988-3093, francisbogside.com
Another fire has temporarily claimed this kitchen, but while Franky Bogs was opened, we ate the Thai Fried chicken created by chef Halston Connella to our hearts’ content. Perfectly fried and seasoned with locally sourced coconut curry, we hope the chicken makes it back to us someday soon.
Jessica Elizarraras
Charcuterie from Rebelle
300 E. Travis St., (210) 227-4392, rebellesa.com
Charc Week had a few standout offerings, but none proved to awaken my tastebuds more than Rebelle’s plate with foie gras torchon, mortadella, and smoked trout dotted with dreamy figs. Though not a regular item, the board showed of the staff’s skillset once more.
Jessica Elizarraras
Combination Bun from Berni Vietnamese
8742 Wurzbach Road, (210) 485-5982, facebook.com/Berni-Vietnamese-Restaurant
Did I necessarily need all the meats? No. But the combination bun was too good to pass up and the extra-large bowl that contained the garlicky and fragrant meats was awe-inspiring on its own.
Jessica Elizarraras
Reuben Fries at Frank
1150 S. Alamo St., (210) 265-5292, hotdogscoldbeer.com
My self-inflicted boycott of Chick-fil-A kept me away from waffle fries long enough to be thoroughly elated when Frank finally opened with oodles of waffle-cut fry dishes. The Reuben, with sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, corned beef and Swiss should be on your list.
Jessica Elizarraras
Big Bad Antipasto from Il Forno
I122 Nogalitos St., (210) 616-2198, ilfornosa.com
Roasted butternut squash and whole bulbs of garlic, gooey cheese, briney olives, house-cured meats and pillowy flatbread. The pizza at Il Forno is great, but this starter has stolen the show several times over.
Jessica Elizarraras
Barbecue from 2M Smokehouse
2731 S. W W White Road, 210-885-9352, facebook.com/2M-Smokehouse
The year’s most anticipated opening in my book, 2M Smokehouse’s pop-ups over the summer were the biggest tease of what was to come: amazing brisket, Mexican-inspired sausage, to-die-for pickles. Get there now.
Jessica Elizarraras
Crispy Dog from Ray’s Drive Inn
822 SW 19th St., (210) 432-7171, facebook.com/RaysDriveInn
With the passing of the originator of the puffy taco, Mr. Arturo Lopez, in October 2015, visits to Ray’s often come with built-in dread. “Is it going to be the same?” And thankfully, not much has changed. The dogs are still crispy, not as oily as you’d expect from their flash-fry bath and cheesy as ever.
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Jessica Elizarraras
Som Tum from Baan Esaan
Closed
A sad note on our delicious list: Baan Esaan is no more. But for the six-ish odd months we had that wonderful little eatery, it gave us a taste for fresh som tum and all of what we’re missing when it comes to Thai fare
Jessica Elizarraras
Vegan Tacos from The Hoppy Monk
1010 N. Loop 1604 E., (210) 545-3330, thehoppymonk.com
During Culinaria’s festival week chef Emiliano Marentes wowed with a vegan taco that perfectly combined tomatillos, tofu chorizo, shimeji mushrooms, hen of the woods mushrooms, and a tortilla made red and delicious with smoky Korean Gochujang paste.
Jessica Elizarraras
Spanish Octopus from The Bin
511 E. Grayson St., (210) 994-8099, facebook.com/thebintapasbar
These days you can find me at The Bin. It’s chill, the staff is nearly perfect, and the red wine keeps flowing (I don’t use porrones because I’m terrified of chipping a tooth). When it’s time for a tapa or two to soak up the booze though, you can’t go wrong with the Spanish octopus. Simmered, chilled, sliced and seared on a cast iron and dressed with Spanish olive oil, sea salt and smoked paprika. Simplicity at its best.
Jessica Elizarraras
Pollo at Pollos Asados Los Nortenos
4642 Rigsby Ave., (210) ) 648-3303
I’m admittedly late to the game on this one. But after this year’s brouhaha over its smoke stacks, I finally visited Pollos Asados Los Nortenos and it’s become a monthly pilgrimage to the southeast side. Learn from my mistakes and get there now.
Jessica Elizarraras
Southern brunch from The Pigpen
106 Pershing Ave., (210) 267-9136, thepigpensa.com
Maybe I’m just a sucker for silver dollar pancakes and oodles of gravy? The world may never know.
Jessica Elizarraras
The Mac from Grayze
521 E. Grayson St., (210) 481-8776, grayzeongrayson.com
Chef Pedro Cuellar #blessed us with the mac daddy of all macs when Grayze opened in January. Gruyere, white cheddar, Manchego and fontina combine with grilled onions to creamy, extra cheesy and addictive results.

Photo courtesy of Grayze

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