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Top 10 Eateries We Love Right Now

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@S.A.VORTOOTH
  • @s.a.vortooth

Hawx Burger Bar & Electro Lounge
2603 Vance Jackson Road, (210) 320-4299, hawxburgerbar.com

San Antonio has another burger master on the rise, and this one is entirely self-taught.

Christian Hawx, the 24-year old owner of Hawx Burger Bar and Electro Lounge on Vance Jackson Road, previously worked four jobs simultaneously to support his self-started, struggling insurance company. The persistence paid off. So much so, that he was able to sell the company at a profit and open a restaurant this past February that is now growing a rapt audience for its burgers, cocktails and beer.

How exactly does an insurance broker become a restaurateur? Pretty much by accident. Hawx was entertaining friends one night, cooking dinner. He made burgers.  They raved.  He listened.

He grinds the meat himself, mixes the spices by hand and plays around with ingredients and flavors. His meticulousness shows, with an Angus chuck burger that’s savory and juicy. Want cheese? You’ll get two slices, not one — hand-sliced, at that. The veggies are fresh from local area farmers and all hand-sliced in-house, as well. And you’ll find those veggies on the bottom of the burger, not the top, so they keep the bottom bun from getting soggy. 

And then there are the buns. You’ll find two types on the menu – one is a shiny, fluffy brioche topped with both white and black sesame seeds, well buttered and delicious. The other is a whole-wheat brioche variety, complete with a smattering of toasted oats on top, also impeccably slathered with butter.

Hawx’s favorite item on the menu is The Norteño burger.

“It’s what burgers want to grow up to be,” he correctly surmises.

Inspired by the rich flavors of Mexico, the Norteño was the first burger he created. Cheddar and Oaxaca cheese, hickory-smoked ham, avocado, applewood smoked bacon, grilled onions, grilled jalapeños and homemade chipotle aioli all adorn this masterpiece. It’s a spicy, pungent and over-the-top celebration for the senses. –CS

MICHELLE CLAIRE LORENTZEN
  • Michelle Claire Lorentzen

Mariscos
El Marinero
1819 McCullough Ave., (210) 465-9178

After more than a year of will-they-won’t-they open tension, El Marinero finally opened its doors off McCullough in mid-September.

Much like at sister restaurant Taqueria Chapala Jalisco (which formerly sat in the remodeled Pizza Hut structure), the flavors are on point and at reasonable prices.

The interiors are, of course, decked out with seascapes both above and under the sea (mermaids, sharks, orcas, a sea-weathered boat captain that looks strikingly like the former Most Interesting Man in the World, what have you) and the space is still relatively cozy, which help harken back to days of El Bucanero’s first location off S. W.W. White Road. The menu comes bearing a slew of dishes reminiscent of other Mexican seafood joints that came before it such as El Buc, Camaron Pelado and Las Islas Marias, but with its own unique twists.
MICHELLE CLAIRE LORENTZEN
  • Michelle Claire Lorentzen

Find delicately battered and fresh shrimp tacos, oyster shots for bivalve fans, fried platters, over-the-top micheladas and camarones aguachile.

If those aren’t enough to entice, let the Saladitas Gamesa serve as vessels for one of the molcajetes the mariscos, or the especially eye-catching Torre Imperial. Layered ceviches, octopus, scallops, shrimp, and avocado combine for an impressive bite worth topping said tower over. –JE

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