I invited a friend of mine, Nicole Mardell, to pick a great place to eat in San Antonio and to be this blog’s first guest blogger. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading her review as much as I did, so here it is!
I want to preference this blog with this statement: my boyfriend and I absolutely enjoy eating. San Antonio has some of the best food spots and hang outs around and I just could not decide (obviously, since it’s taken five months to finally find a place worthy of reviewing). I considered all of my favorite haunts before I settled for – scratch that – picked Auden’s Kitchen.
Auden’s is owned and operated by Bruce Auden. He wanted to open up a place with great atmosphere and “everyday food with wine and beer … the way Bruce cooks at home.” Auden’s is cozy, comfy and elegant… but with a casual dress code that any Friday nighter would enjoy. The staff is always congenial and knows the menu. My particular favorite waitress is Hillary. She provides excellent service and is always willing to converse with the customers – this, to me, adds charm to a place.
Now to the good stuff, the food. That’s why you’re here, right?
Saturday nights are strictly meant for my boyfriend and I, sometimes we stay in and watch a movie or hit the town. We both don’t like to get too fancy, too often, so Auden’s is always a great choice. This particular Saturday, Auden’s was so busy we had a 45-minute wait… Not that it’s a bad thing, cause you can just lounge in their bar area and grab a pre-dinner drink. However, Auden’s does offer reservations by phone or online!
We finally got a seat and ordered drinks and appetizers. I went with a Hob Nob Chardonnay that is crisp with a buttery finish. It’s definitely one of my favorite chardonnays around.
For appetizers, we selected the Bluebonnet salad and Tempura Fried Shrimp. The salad is a must. All the ingredients just work together to provide a delightful dish. Together the baby spring mix, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, green apples, almonds and goat cheese are just an explosion of deliciousness that every person should experience. However, the thing that is unique about this salad is the dressing, it’s sweet with a peppery hint that just leaves you wanting to take Auden’s fresh baked bread and lap the rest of it up!
For the tempura fried shrimp, it was OK. I could tell there was a Thai influence in this dish with the lime and cilantro dressing, but beyond that it just bland for what I’m use to getting at Auden’s. The dish is served cold, so the rice noodles flopped all over the place and they tasted undercooked when you finally chewed your way into them. There was an interesting after taste with the watermelon chunks, but all in all – the dish is not my favorite.
One of the best things about Auden’s is their ability to please you. A time before this, I had gone to the restaurant and ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and this time I wanted to repeat the experience I had prior by ordering it, but it wasn’t on the menu! Hillary had no problems and said the kitchen will do whatever I want! Now, let me tell you – if you don’t order this on it’s own – do yourself a favor and order the one piece on the side for $3. This chicken, hands down, is the best fried chicken I’ve ever had – yet. The thing is, the buttermilk fried goodness on the outside is just the beginning, inside the meat remains juicy and the buttermilk flavor actually lives deep inside the chicken. To top it off, the gravy served on the side is worthy of being made in mass amounts and bathed in. The green beans and mashed potatoes are standard sides that compliment the main dish well, but the chicken is really the star on this plate.
Last but not least, dessert. Previously, I’ve never had room for dessert, but since I was reviewing the place, I set aside half my dinner for leftovers and ordered dessert. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse was definitely not what I was expecting, but the experience was one worth having. Instead of the mousse having a creamy viscosity, it was more dense and rich in texture. The peanut butter flavor complimented the milk chocolate nice. This dessert is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but I can say that I let that melt and just stuck with the deliciousness next door.
So, the next time you are in the Stone Oak area and looking for a good place to hang your hat for a few hours, step into Auden’s and ask for Hillary! She’ll take great care of you and the atmosphere/food combination will make you feel like you’re already home.