The Grill at Leon Springs
24116 I-10 W
Should you find yourself in Leon Springs at a certain hour, head straight for The Grill, the last remaining outpost of the former L’Etoile boys, Thierry and Armand. Don’t ask them to make a drink for you, however; ask instead for Daniel, the bar manager. Unlike some ’tenders around town, he knows how to make a Negroni — equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. Apart from the slip of garnishing the drink with a Chernobyl cherry (an orange wedge is acceptable, a segment of orange peel even better), it was generous, well-balanced, the Bombay Sapphire and Martini & Rossi worked just fine … and it was $5. Signature Cocktails are usually a relatively cheap $7.25. Also, three dollars was shaved off the normally $8.50 martini: ours with Hendrick’s Gin — two olives. It was at least initially very cold and fragrant with cucumber and rose to the end. Even one drink requires something to accompany it, however: tempura-fried shrimp tacos with avocado, a roasted tomato salsa, and remarkably good corn tortillas ($5.25) to the rescue. (“Believe it or not, we have some Mexicans working here,” quipped Armand.) Achiote pork ribs ($4.50) and fingerling potatoes with aioli ($3.50) are other happy-hour options. After a disappointing experience at Yummi Sushi across I-10, this puts Leon Springs back on my map.