Eating Fish in the Desert of at least on San Antonio’s Riverwalk

I went to San Antonio, Texas for the weekend and went out for Friday night dinner with a group. Anytime you get to go to dinner the big question is where do you go?  I figured since we are in Texas, we would go for some authentic Tex-Mex but the group felt more in a Seafood mood so we good a strong recommendation from the hotel conceriege and went to Pesca on the Riverwalk. Even getting there was fun as we made the taxi driver stop at the Alamo for a quick photo so I can prove I was in San Antonio if need be. LOL

I am a big fan of getting the Signature Cocktail at the restaurants I visit so when the waiter described the house special Margarita here at Pesca, I went for it and it was great. This one was made with Añejo Tequila, Grand Marnier and Lime Juice. The Anejo tequila made the drink a little smokey and a little smoother than white or silver tequila that were in most of the margaritas I have had up north in PA. The Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice provided a tartness and freshness that went along with the sweetness and orange flavours of the Grand Marnier. The top shelf ingredients required that the drink was served on the rocks with a small squeeze of lemon.  Despite the cool wet temperatures that night (did I say Texas and desert later) the drink went down well. I show restrain and managed to keep to just one.

We decided to share the Shells, Tails and Claws Shellfish Plateau as a group Appetizer. The impressive display of Clams, Oysters, Shrimp and Lump Crab Meat was a great start to a great meal.  Along with the fresh seafood items came three sauces for guests to doctor (sorry couldn’t resist since we were at a medical convention) their seafood choice. The Clams were served freshly shucked and raw. I found them Sweet and Very Meaty. Their size was impressive two-three times bigger than steamers from back home. The Oysters were also fresh and large but not as big as the clams. The Oysters were both Sweet and Briney at the same time making them a study in contrast. The Jumbo Shrimp was large in size and dense to the feel but were disappointing with a lack of flavour.  They were fresh but left a great deal of flavour somewhere else. The highlight of the Plateau was the Jumbo Lump Crab – Dense, Tender and Sweet.  There was no need to add sauce as the crab could stand on its own. This was a great sign for me as I had ordered the Crab Cakes for my main.

The Concierge at our hotel also suggest that if we go to Pesca make sure we try the Sea Scallops. Sure enough another good recommendation as we all got to try one scallop.  Served with Arugula, Lotus Root, Ginger-Sweet Chili in a Coconut Broth, the perfectly cooked scallops were excellent. Slightly carmelized on the outside, sweet and light on the inside. The Crispy Arugula and Dense Lotus Root were good contrasts to the light density of the scallops.  the Ginger and Chili went well with the sweetness of density. This was the Signature Dish of the restaurant and worth getting if you visit.

We also got to share the Heirloom Tomato Salad.  The giant pieces of tomato were seasoned simply with Salt and Pepper with some Olive Oil.  The simple presentation highlighted the flavours of the heirloom tomatoes that taste so different than the bright red tomatoes I usually buy at Giant Foods. This is the way tomatoes should taste.  Thanks Paige.

For my main course, I ordered the Crab Cakes with Dynamite Sauce. The same dense, sweet and tender jumbo pieces of crab meat in the appetizer was mixed with some bread crumbs and carefully pan-fried.  The Dynamite Sauce remains a bit of a mystery but my best guess was that it was a Remoulade Sauce with some Chipotle Chilis added for some heat.  The heat was good match for the sweetness of the crab meat. The crust from the pan frying contrasted to the tender crab meat inside the cakes. Excellent crab cakes that would give Maryland a run for their money.

For sides, we ordered family style and got (against my initial instincts) Quinoa supposedly the healthiest grain available on the earth and Deep Fried Sweet Potatoes. Both were well-cooked and great matches for the different fish dishes the group ordered.

The large portions of appetizers, heirloom tomatoes and entrees made dessert in the desert impossible for the group. We manage to barely complete the mains before calling it a night.  But before we left Restaurant Manager Michael McClellan stopped by to ensure we had a great meal and to invite us to Pesca’s sister restaurant Las Canarias next time we are in San Antonio. Las Canarias looked great and a target for next time.

Thanks to gang for making the evening great. We all shared a great meal and working for a great company.  The conversation was as a good as the food and that was really good.  I look forward to eating with them again.  Make sure you get to the Riverwalk if you go to San Antonio and if you are looking for seafood try Pesca.

Read other reviews here, here and here.

Pesca on the River – 212 W Crockett St, San Antonio, TX 78205-2520          (210) 396-5817


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