Southerleigh restaurant in San Antonio — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery is the new restaurant and brewery located inside The Pearl’s historic brewhouse, and it's definitely the place to eat in San Antonio right now – that is, if you can get in! Even local chefs and foodies are having trouble getting a table. However, it’s worth any wait or hassle so keep trying.
Southerleigh is the brainchild of Executive Chef Jeff Balfour, who hails from the Texas coastal town of Galveston. His hometown's the basis of his inspiration for this exceptional restaurant.
“You take it for granted growing up there. It’s always been a part of you, but you don’t realize it until it’s not there,” says Balfour, reminiscing.
Fried Gulf Crab Claws — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
Balfour describes the “East Texas home-style cuisine" at Southerleigh as "very coastal" and very much "influenced by other Southern states.”
While he doesn’t compare it directly to New Orleans cuisine, he’s not shy about its influences. You’ll also find touches of Tex-Mex and cowboy cuisine as well.
Point is, Southerleigh is serving up some hearty, flavorful dishes. But don’t get attached, because this farm-to-table menu is constantly changing.
Balfour learned early on in his culinary career how valuable using the whole animal is in a restaurant, what’s commonly referred to as nose to tail. He buys whole animals and uses as much of them as he possibly can. This goes for produce as well.
"You need to utilize what you have as opposed to growing what you want. It’s challenging, but it makes it fun, different and exciting," says Balfour. "The farm-to-table concept is also important because it’s respectful to the environment and the animals themselves."
The Ribeye — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
Large plates might include a succulent ribeye, Whole Crispy Gulf Flounder with parsley and drawn butter or Brick Griddled Diamond H Quail with pickle mustard chow chow. They also offer an assortment of boils, like a Shrimp Boil with pork jowl, okra, corn and potato, as well as a long list of savory sides such as dirty rice and wood-fired, creamy grits.
Do yourself a favor and save room for one of their decadent sweets! The Peanut-Chocolate Bar with salted caramel and Chantilly cream is a must-have!
Beer connoisseurs will likely appreciate Southerleigh’s commitment to honoring the tradition of this historic brewery by brewing their own craft beers.
"We have a fantastic brewer, Les Locke, who has the same mentality towards beer as I have for food. It’s constantly changing and evolving," explains Balfour.
Currently, they have 12 different beers in various stages of the brewing process. You might find something like a Big Shell Coconut Porter or Seawall Belgian Wheat or perhaps a Conjunction Curry Porter. Your best bet is to order a flight of beers so you can sample a little of each!
No matter which way the winds are blowing, Southerleigh is bringing in some phenomenal cuisine to San Antonio and raising the culinary bar here just a little bit higher!