Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dinner Report: Two Step Restaurant and Cantina...

 We have heard about Two Step, this great new restaurant out near Braun and 1604 from several folks and just hadn't made the time to try it out for ourselves when friends from our old neighborhood suggested we meet for dinner.  We had anticipated the meal all day long, skipping lunch and ready to dig in by the time we made it from out here to the northwest side of San Antonio.
 Our friends introduced us to Steve Warner, executive chef and one of the owners, who was kind enough to show us to our table in the old barn section of the place, and tell us about the history.  I'll let you read about it here, but the gist of it is, when we used to live in our old neighborhood, we often would drive by these two old stone buildings never knowing that they were a farm house and barn built by the Ruempel family, who were related to the Braun (as in Braun Road) family. 
As housing developments and shopping centers took over the area, those buildings stayed abandoned waiting for someone with a good idea.  That idea was finally realized when Two Step was created, incorporating the two buildings into the restaurant and resulting in an incredible atmosphere for dining.  If your are like me, easily fascinated by old stuff, your are going to appreciate Two Step.
One of the specialties at Two Step is the Margarita.  While Eva and I enjoyed the incredible iced tea, one of our friends tried the El Jefe,  and awesome looking Margarita on the rocks.
 From the large selection of appetizers, we enjoyed two.  First, the smoked chicken stuffed avocado could be a meal by itself.  But with four of us, we made it into a nice, healthy snack.  Eva was immediately trying to decipher the ingredient list and I suspect this may be something she adds to our home menu. 
My favorite though, was the Gulf Shrimp "Firecrackers" with red pepper jelly.  They were like shrimp wrapped in a light egg roll sort of wrap.  The bottom of the cup was filled with this not too spicy pepper jelly that added great flavor.  Eva is not a fan of anything spicy, but she was able to enjoy this.  I could see a guy (not saying it has to be me) sitting at the bar with a tray of these things and a couple of those El Jefe's and just calling it dinner. 
I am tormented by large menu selections and I agonize over the decision of what to eat.  It's true.  As we scanned the menu asking our friends (who are regulars) if they had tried the various items, I was torn between the idea of catfish, or trying the beef ribs or even the brisket.  How do you ever know?  You can only eat so much so you can't order one of each.  Right after we ordered, the table next to us was being served.  I suddenly was having choice regret when I saw the huge plate of catfish and the incredible roasted corn being served to some other lucky guy.  This would only guarantee a return visit in the not too distant future.
 Our friends shared this incredible loaded rib.  Not loaded like a baked potato, but loaded with meat!  Of course, I had a few samples, and all I can say is, I must have my own!  The meat was cooked to perfection and honestly, it was wonderful.
 You order sides a la carte and you can get either a family order that feeds many or go for the smaller size which can easily feed two.  We had a lot of  broccoli cheese and rice casserole.  Outstanding. 
 Eva went with half a Smoked Freebird Chicken.  This is not like going into some chicken place and plopping down a piece of barbecued chicken on your plate, the chefs provide a tender chicken with some fancy sauce dripping over the plate.  And there is enough for everyone to get a sample.
So just as the word catfish was about to slip off my tongue, I made a last second switch to the fork tender chicken fried steak.  Yes, I must still have the catfish, but there was something inviting about the idea of CFS that doesn't require you to fight it.  The crispy crust was light but what was amazing was the steak itself.  Clearly, it had to have been marinated with something because I found myself just skipping the creamy gravy and enjoying the mouthwatering taste of the meat.  That is unheard of as chicken fried steak goes.  I also had a small cup of the borracho beans. They were a great compliment to the CFS. 

We had a great time and in spite of the more than generous portions, there was no need for a doggie bag;  we were all members of the clean plate club.   Before leaving, we took a walk around the place to see the rest of it.  A newly married couple was just finishing up a small reception in the farm house dining area. It really is an incredible space. 
 If only to see how Two Step was transformed from old abandoned stone buildings, you owe it to yourself to visit.  The good news is, if you stay long enough to eat, you'll be in for a Tasty Treat!       



oh man..that's some great looking I'm hungry.

Anonymous said...

I need to go back, I keep hearing that people like it. I had the BBQ brisket meal and it was not so good. Loaded with too much sauce and the meat was nothing like the famous BBQ joints in Texas. now, I can't hold them for that since it's not a BBQ place like you'd find in Lockhart. Your other meal choices looked great.

Maureen said...

We need to try them again. We visited on New Year's Eve, rather late, and the food was not that great. Dry burger, "dirty" catfish (I'm not a catfish eater, that was my husband's description) blah mashed potatoes and fries. My son ordered a raspberry chipotle pork chop that was wonderful, though. I yelp'd about it, and the owner contacted me to apologize and invited us back, which was nice! Next time we're down there, we just might.