Biga on the Banks – Valentine’s Dinner

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Fortunately for us, the Fig Tree was all booked up for Valentine’s Day. So, we looked around and found a reservation available at a place called Biga on the Banks. Best. Decision. Ever.

Biga on the Banks advertises itself as New American cuisine. It’s near some upscale hotels and venues and offers a great view of the River Walk. Biga also has a James Beard Award Nominee as the Chef/Owner. Bruce Auden’s culinary creations are spot on and visually stunning. The lighting in the restaurant was quite dark (ambiance for romantic dining I suppose), so you’ll have to forgive how dark some of these pictures are. They just don’t quite do the dishes justice.

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The obligatory bread was brought to the table. Delicious of course, and the waiter also brought out a complimentary amuse bouche of smoked salmon drizzled with balsamic reduction served on a corn tortilla chip shaped like a heart. Perfect for Valentine’s.

For appetizers we took at look at the menu and decided to go a la carte rather than order off their fixed menu for Valentine’s Day. When in Rome…and we wanted to make sure to order the Chef’s signature dishes (which were not featured in the fixed menu).

So, back to the appetizers. I got the Chicken-fried Oysters (5) squid ink linguini, Swiss chard, pancetta, whole grain mustard hollandaise. This particular dish had a notation in the menu as having been inspired by the Aphrodite and the Gods of Love exhibit on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art (which we then had to go see the next day). The oysters were amazing and melt in your mouth. But, I think the hollandaise was probably my favorite part of the dish.

The Hubby got the Bibb and Radicchio Game Packets (3) Asian chili sauces. Also tasty, but I was a bit more focused on my oysters. I did let him try one…

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Entrees. The Hubby got 11-spiced Texas Axis venison and grilled Texas quail, parsnip puree, chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, cranberry raisin chutney, juniper sauce. He loved it. All the veggies on it made his night (he’s big on veggies, such a well rounded eater). I on the other hand am not a huge fan of 5 spice powder from Chinese dishes and the rub on the venison reminded me of that flavor.

Now, my dish was pretty fan-fricking-tastic. Mustard crusted Australian lamb rack, cheesy grits, broccolini, Rebecca Creek goat feta, shaved fennel, many mushroom jus. I love lamb. LOVE IT. It’s one of my favorite proteins. The mustard crust was heavenly.

While I normally don’t order dessert when we go out, we make it a point to when we’re on vacation and at a brand new restaurant. So, after MUCH deliberation, we settled on the pomegranate honey cheesecake with pistachio crust and strawberry sorbet. I was a bit wary of the pomegranate (not a huge fan of eating seeds or thinking I’m eating seeds) but these were soft enough to bit through without feeling uncomfortable. Tart and sweet, it was a great balance and a perfect way to end the dinner.

On another note, the wait staff at Biga on the Banks are awesome. They were attentive and nice and we really enjoyed ourselves.

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