I've been following Chef Steve McHugh since his early days in New Orleans, when he served as chef in the kitchens of all the best Big Easy restaurants. When Chef McHugh opened a spin-off of New Orleans's Lüke in San Antonio, I was thrilled. After spending a few years getting to know the culinary scene of San Antonio and befriending other fine local chefs, McHugh left Lüke to open his own restaurant, Cured, in December 2013. The name not only honors the hand-crafted cured foods Chef McHugh and his staff create here (from charcuterie to pickles), it also serves as a quiet thankful acknowledgement that McHugh is now considered cured of lymphoma, which he was diagnosed with in 2010. Cured stays open late, and its full bar stays open even later. Visitors can arrive from the River Walk downtown via Rio Taxi, along the Museum Reach, or by taxi from downtown hotels and attractions. Chef McHugh makes use of the purest regional ingredients, harvested with organic methods. The gastropub menu leans more toward nose-to-tale fare and small plate options than most other San Antonio places, and there are hints of the chef's early New Orleans influences, like in his smoked pork gumbo with fresh andouille sausage. Fresh savory dishes are highlights, like masa flash-fried oysters with tarragon and pickled tapioca, pork cheeks poutine, cabrito sliders, and pan-seared quail breast with carrot custard and mole grits. The other major claim to fame here is the array of house-cured charcuterie options. Cured donates a dollar from every charcuterie plate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The restaurant is housed in a renovated building at the Pearl Brewery that dates back to 1904. The space is the perfect marriage of contemporary and historical influences: white limestone walls, floor-to-ceiling arched windows, high pressed-tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, and a gleaming center bar. The result is a bright spot for casual dining. My husband and I like to eat at the chef's table, a long bar overlooking the goings-on of the busy kitchen. We rarely look at the menu; instead we simply let Chef McHugh choose something wonderful for us. He always does.
San Antonio› Restaurant
Cured at Pearl Brewery
Pearl Brewery, 303 Pearl Pkwy #300
Our Rating Neighborhood Pearl Brewery/Mid-Town/Tobin Hill Hours Mon–Fri 11am–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm Phone 210/314-3929 Prices Small plates $5–$8, larger portions $12–$23 Cuisine Type Gastropub, Nose-to-Tail Web site Cured at Pearl Brewery