The Cookhouse just opened their doors in early September of 2014, but it's already the talk of the town. This should come as no surprise, since it's the only restaurant in San Antonio that showcases traditional New Orleans cuisine, the kind you might find at some fine dining establishment in the French Quarter.
The Cookhouse is the American dream come to life; it started with just a mobile food truck in San Antonio's arts district, Southtown. WhereY'at New Orleans Kitchen opened in April of 2012 and quickly developed a following for their scrumptious po'boys and gumbo.
It didn't take long before husband and wife team, Chef Pieter Sypesteyn and his wife Susan, decided they wanted to take their vision further.
The Cookhouse's charbroiled oysters — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
"We wanted to make more fun food and bring in the other side of New Orleans – trout, blackened drum, barbecue shrimp – dishes unique to New Orleans," Pieter says.
For those expecting simply crawfish and rice and beans, you're in for a surprise. This upscale yet casual neighborhood eatery is so much more. While you are encouraged to suck the juices out of your shrimp heads, as is custom, the entrees are indeed varied and eclectic.
The roasted Duck and Dumplings – made with an exceptional marjoram potato gnocchi and served with tomato confit and a red wine demi-glace – is utterly divine.
Other favorites include the Tomato Artichoke Canoli, made with house-made pasta, goat cheese, tomato confit, artichoke hearts and marjoram, not to mention the Grilled Trout Amandine with muniere butter, toasted almonds and fresh green beans.
Outside The Cookhouse — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
If you adore fresh seafood, you can bet The Cookhouse serves up some of the freshest gulf oysters and shrimp from here to the coast.
The New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp is served in a pool of savory, spicy garlic butter and beer sauce (a secret recipe!) and charred French bread that is ideal for dunking. The sauce is so addictively delicious that you may find yourself wanting to drink it. It's okay: nobody's looking!
"I'm laid back, from 'The Big Easy' to the biggest little city in the world," says Pieter, who grew up in New Orleans but spent summer vacations with his grandparents in the San Antonio area.
Why did he chose to set up camp in San Antonio as opposed to Texas' more popular cousin, Austin?
"We felt led to San Antonio and the growth here. We wanted to impact the city through food," Pieter explains.
The chef at The Cookhouse, he has an eye for clean, sustainable, farm-to-table cuisine, so guests can expect to see the menu change with the seasons. He makes the most of whatever he can procure locally and makes what he can in-house, including his own Tasso ham, a specialty of south Louisiana cuisine.
If you've got a sweet tooth, just make sure to order yourself a slice of the oh-so-decadent Steen's Cane Syrup Pecan Pie for dessert. You won't regret it!