This post is so overdue it’s not funny. Waaaaay back in March, thepixelarchitect and I discovered a true gem on the San Antonio foodie scene when we went to The Monterey (Facebook | Twitter | Yelp) for Sunday brunch. We went back three more times in the first week! Since then we’ve become regulars, showing up there about once or twice a week. Luckily, it’s only a few blocks from our house.
To some extent, reviewing the actual individual dishes is pointless, because the menu is ever changing and evolving. A new menu is published every Wednesday. What you need to know is that all of the dishes are very creative, with surprising combinations offering sensational taste experiences!
I should note that the entire menu does not change every week. Some dishes hang around for as long as customers seem to want them, or until the ingredients are out of season or otherwise unavailable.
Which brings up another point. Ingredients are locally sourced, fresh and of absolutely stellar quality. Sausages are painstakingly made in house, as are other specialty items, like the pig’s head torchon. Meats and fishes are smoked out back. We’re talking high-quality craftsmanship from chef Quealy Watson and his team.
Regular menu items include the fries sprinkled with crack — no wait, that’s salt! — served with a side of flavored mayo. The flavor changes, and has included charred leek, green garlic, yellow curry and pineapple(!) among others.
Another regular item is the grilled cheese sandwich, available plain, with Benton’s bacon, or with another filling, such as roasted tomatoes, broccoli, or other vegetable — selections rotate. Richly decadent, it takes “grilled cheese” to a whole new, gourmet, level!
Rotating menu items have included:
- pork belly served nigiri-style with a miso caramel glaze (!)
- house-made short-rib hot dog on a bun
- hangar steak served with chicken-fried gravy (yes, fried gravy!)
- watermelon rind & heirloom tomato salad
- goat meatballs
- hamachi salad
- pig’s head torchon
- corn salad (roasted corn, lime yougurt, cotija, popcorn)
- grilled duck hearts over cheese grits
- sous vide eggs with smoked pork shoulder
- beef heart tartare
And many more fabulous dishes too numerous to remember, let alone list here.
This is not a place to skip dessert. Inventive, seasonal and fun, selections have included a chocolate pudding with various toppings, a blackberry granita with black pepper cream, and a watermelon granita with ghost pepper cream. Back to the pudding for a minute. It is so dense as to be more like a chocolate truffle you eat with a spoon! Toppings included lime curd & caramel corn, and raspberry jam & cubeb pepper.
The Monterey — affectionally known as “The Monty” — puts on a great Sunday brunch, too. The eggs are cooked sous-vide and served in a number of ways. Don’t miss the house-made sausage patties or Benton’s bacon. Egg sandwiches, breakfast casseroles, biscuits & gravy and cheeseburgers have all made appearances on the brunch menu. Cava mimosas top off brunch nicely.
A recently-introduced late-night menu starts at 10:30 p.m. and includes a fantastic over-the-top 8oz Kobe-beef hamburger and two other rotating selections. We have had curried pork egg rolls and brisket steam buns.
The wine and beer lists are great, with a wide range of selections, reasonable prices. The lists always offer something new to try.
The outdoor dining patio is a great place to hang out with friends, working your way through the menu, and the beer & wine list. The renovated Sunglo gas station offers limited indoor seating with a cool, chic ambience (think Mad Men) and a small bar (it also houses the relatively tiny kitchen). The outdoor patio is lit at night with strings of orange and red Christmas tree lights, giving a rosy, cozy glow to the al fresco dining experience.
Last, but certainly not least, the staff at the Monty are fabulous! Proprietor Chad Carey can often be found in the kitchen, or holding court on the patio. The staff operate as a well-oiled team and have fun doing it. Customers are quickly made to feel part of the family.
The Monterey is on our all-time favorites list that includes some of the finest dining establishments in California’s Bay Area, as well as here in our new hometown of San Antonio.
Adapted and expanded from my review on Yelp.