No sooner had Lüke closed than local celebrity chef Jason Dady pounced, transforming the River Walk location into an approachable downtown chophouse. You won’t find either the most or the least expensive cuts of meat here; rather, the focus is on good quality, well priced. A satisfactory ribeye from Creekstone Farms, in Kansas, was aided and abetted by a side order of rich sea urchin butter. A bread crumb–jacketed snapper filet came lavished with lemony beurre blanc—“generous” and “beautifully cooked” hardly do it justice. Even so, some of our favorite bites were starters and sides. Wagyu shabu-shabu consisted of thin, tender slices that we swished in a pot of bubbling soy broth and rolled up in napa cabbage leaves along with Thai basil. Italian mozzarella di bufala came with grilled toast and a punchy mustard-spiked berry condiment. We wondered about the name Aspen fries until the potatoes arrived, in a snowstorm of Parmigiano-Reggiano. We wished for more pizzazz in the chopped salad (with cucumber, avocado, and beefsteak tomatoes in a lemon dressing) but wouldn’t have changed a thing about the luxurious wild mushroom bisque with black pepper crema. The desserts, like a deconstructed white chocolate cheesecake, trend sweet; our favorite was the chocolate cremeaux with fun peanut butter powder—think elevated Reese’s cups. The interior has been revamped with midnight-blue walls and stark photographs celebrating the open range; depending on your stage in life, the lighting is either distressingly dark or romantically dim.
City: San Antonio