The morning we left for the drive to San Antonio, Ms Baker told me, “I worry about your mom… she can’t eat Mexican food so what’s she gonna eat there?”. I told her I actually spent the night before browsing through loads of places, and indeed many of them are Mexican, just to find a quaint little restaurant on South Alamo. La Frite is like an oasis for the elders and the lovebirds seeking a quiet breeze in this old, vibrant Spanish settlement and this continental summer heat. We’re neither elders nor lovebirds, but we’re used to standing out.
La Frite‘s specialty (and Belgium’s popular version of fish and chips) is Moules Frites (mussels and fries), but we’re not into bivalves so we got the frites. Good crispy sticks, can be dipped in ketchup or some green sauce that tasted like avocado with lemon juice, the frites here remind me of Fuddruckers‘ fries.
If you’re in a hurry, this place is not for you. It’s great for the lovebirds, who enjoy marveling at the wine between exchanging strategic smiles, for the elders, who loftily slip their jokes and wisdom into hourglass-shaped beer pitchers without caring what time of the day it is, and for the people observers, who quietly comment on them all. As if to keep us longer in the ambiance, there’s a prix fixe three-course dinner menu for $38 with plenty of time between each course.
That night, a popular choice for appetizer in the prix fixe was the Asian baby back ribs. The accompanying frisee with mandarin orange lightened the meat that was fall-off-the-bone tender of course, but its main score is the sweet sauce backed by the burnt nuttiness of black sesame. Perfect little ribs.
Bi had the best luck, though. The crispy skin of his pan sauteed magret de canard (duck breast) sang so beautifully with the sweet raspberry gastrique sauce, I kept stealing pieces from his plate. A side cultural difference: in Vietnam there’s no such thing as a non-well-done duck, but the West apparently does their ducks medium rare, like beef, to keep ‘em moist and tender?
Parking on the side neighborhood street was a tad funny because it says “NO Parking this side in this block during events”. It’d be quite something if after 2 hours dining nonchalantly we discovered that our car was towed.
Dinner for three: $86.23
Address: La Frite Belgian Bistro
728 S Alamo St
San Antonio, TX 78205