As San Antonio continues to expand, affluent neighborhoods are quickly developing north of the city, in the picturesque Texas Hill Country.
Although property in quaint towns outside San Antonio, like Boerne, are in high demand, the culinary scene has not quite caught up . . . until now.
Fortunately, if you're staying on the north side of the city, you don't have to drive all the way downtown to enjoy a superb meal. And frankly, even if you're downtown, Valeria is worth the drive.
Valeria's carabineros shrimp plate — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
This exceptional farm-to-table restaurant is everything you'd expect from an upscale restaurant. Don't let the casual atmosphere deter you. This is how they do it in the country!
Owner Keith Kuhn, his family and Chef David Yokuty – formerly of Boardwalk Bistro – are dedicated to serving their customers superior food made with the freshest ingredients. And when they say it, they mean it.
"I want to serve the best to my customers, the best I can get," says Kuhn.
They source ingredients for their creative and downright mouthwatering menu of modern European fare from local farms and ranches whenever possible, including the Kuhn Family Farm.
Currently, they're using tomatoes in their dishes that are as fresh and flavorful as if you picked them from your own garden. They only use GMO-free ingredients and try to buy organic whenever possible, a rarity – even in a metropolitan city such as San Antonio.
However, Kuhn's concept of farm to table is just a little bit different than what you might expect. If he can't find what he wants locally, but he can find the best artisanal chorizo, for example, from a family-owned ranch in Spain, then that's what he'll do.
More delicious food at Valeria — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
Valeria, which aims to be seasonal – with a constantly changing menu, depending upon what ingredients they can source – has an impressive wild seafood program. Ironically, they get their Gulf shrimp from a company in New York, because Kuhn says they're the best.
He's currently serving giant carabineros shrimp, considered one of the most coveted deep-sea prawns. They're procured from the Strait of Gibraltar because, as you can see, you just can't find shrimp any more stunning than this.
Although the menu is always evolving, there are some dishes that have become staples, including their signature Shrimp Valeria of lightly breaded Gulf shrimp served with a lemon beurre blanc and asparagus.
The pizza – made with the crown jewel of flours, Pivetti, and then baked in a brick oven – is another favorite that's highly popular for lunch.
They also just started serving breakfast and have turned every Thursday night into a celebration of Spain, with a menu of Spanish delicacies, including Kuhn's house-made paella that he makes himself. Thursdays also feature Flamenco guitarist Randy Cordero.
Although you should feel free to pop in anytime for breakfast, lunch or dinner, reservations are highly encouraged on Friday and Saturday nights.