San Antonio's growing mecca of culinary excellence just gained another celebrity chef.
Werner's Prime Steaks & Seafood, located in the Stone Oak area around 281 and 1604, is a new and intimate fine dining restaurant fortunate to have Corporate Executive Chef Nedra Harris at the helm. You may remember her as the sassy, no-holds-barred woman from Season 11 of Hell's Kitchen.
"I learned a lot about myself from [Gordon Ramsey] – the challenges I could go through," says Harris. "The food came natural, but he taught us about the presentation of the steaks and curing the meat."
Ramsey passed along his knowledge of how to cook a perfect steak to the chef, something she's now doing on a daily basis at Werner's.
Werner's Prime Steaks & Seafood's Porterhouse steak — Photo courtesy of Joshua Simmons
Harris is an amazing example of what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. She was raised in Detroit by parents who worked five jobs between them to put their kids through school.
"My dad was a chef as well, and I used to see him cook and I'd say, 'I’m gonna be a chef one day.' I also wanted to be a basketball player, a tennis player and a comedian, but the only thing that stuck with me was cooking," says Harris.
When she was 10 years old and tired of eating her mom's tuna casserole, she decided to clean out the refrigerator and make a feast for friends and family that became a tradition, at least, until her mother found out why all the food was disappearing.
Even though Harris is young, she's earned her stripes in cooking school and also at esteemed restaurants, including the Chart House in San Antonio, the revolving restaurant that sits at the top of the Tower of the Americas.
After Hell's Kitchen, Harris was approached by savvy entrepreneur Robert Werner, who asked her to develop a menu for another restaurant/catering business of his.
Their collaborations spawned Werner's, which recently opened its doors to the community.
Peppercorn sauce at Werner's Prime Steaks & Seafood — Photo courtesy of Joshua Simmons
Everything Harris is doing at Werner's is seriously delicious, and it proves that San Antonio has turned a corner. Visitors can expect so much more than Tex-Mex; they can expect to have a wide array of restaurants to choose from when seeking a fine dining experience and superb steaks and seafood.
Harris wanted to break out of the mold of traditional steakhouses and create a more contemporary menu that truly showcases the ingredients, which are of superior quality and often seasonal.
Steaks are served already cut, so you can see the temperature of the steak is perfect. If you order your steak medium rare, that's exactly how you'll get it. The menu includes ribeye, filet mignon, NY bone-in, ossobuco short rib and a succulent 20-ounce porterhouse.
Seafood-lovers are not left in the dust. Harris offers an unbelievable off-menu tempura fried lobster tail, fresh arctic char salmon, Chilean sea bass, tuna and a whole striped bass with lemon caper sauce. Oh, and you can always add fried shrimp, shrimp scampi, scallops, jumbo lump crab or lobster to your order.
The most incredible sauces accompany the steaks, if you so choose, and while they certainly don't need it, you should at least sample these sinfully rich, complex sauces, which include Cajun herb butter, mushroom demi and peppercorn.
The chef will tell you herself: "We have three things other steakhouses don't have: Chef Nedra from Hell's Kitchen, an open kitchen with a chef's table and Chef Nedra!"
And there's certainly no argument there!
Chef Nedra Harris — Photo courtesy of Joshua Simmons