Beginning his life on a working farm in a small Wisconsin town, Chef Steve McHugh was able to observe and appreciate the natural gifts that came from his family’s soil. As Steve experienced the farm-to-table cooking style within his household, he developed a love and respect for the purity of what comes directly from the Earth. Fueled by his passion, McHugh is a 5-time James Beard Award finalist, “Best Chef: Texas” and known as San Antonio’s most celebrated chef for his gastropub Cured. McHugh decided not to stop with just one restaurant, but to honor his personal culinary philosophies, which propelled him to open his second restaurant, the newly established Landrace at the Thompson Hotel, San Antonio.
Putting on a pedestal the pastoral beauty of foods, McHugh and the team at Landrace are working with heritage growers close to home – sourcing from twenty local producers and farmers who cultivate the earliest indigenous ingredients of the region. To start, the Spiced Bandera Sausage with sweet Strawberry Mostarda and savory Butter Pecan Granola features Quail sourced from the nearby Broken Arrow Ranch. This family-owned business works with wildlife ecologists to identify over-populated herds on private land across Texas, utilizing selective harvesting to improve the health of the herd and land – an approach consistent with McHugh’s own high standards and commitment to respecting the environment.
Equipped with a wood burning, massive stainless steel grill by Grill Works, executing time-honored Argentinian techniques, Landrace constantly showcases the grill with a bounty of perfectly cooked meats from around the region. McHugh is mindful to utilize underrated cuts of meat in unexpected ways, and the 16-ounce New York Strip stands out as both bold and beefy. It’s served with Chili Pequin Au Poivre – growing in Northern Mexico and Central Texas, the Pequin Pepper is to be 13 times hotter than a Jalapeño, with a flavor that is citrusy, smokey and nutty – all at once. And, cooked to the precise specifications over the open flames. The juicy Berkshire Pork Chop is accompanied by Peychaud-Pear Butter that enchants the tastebuds as it delicately enhances the sweetness of the meat.
Conclude with the scrumptious Strawberry Cremeaux – combining White Chocolate and locally grown Strawberries – with a nutty Toasted Malt Almond Torte. It’s all topped with fresh Basil Gelato from OroBianco Italian Creamery, the first and only water buffalo dairy and creamery in the state of Texas. The Carrot Cake stands out as a slice above the rest – with icing flavored and brightened by locally grown, Prickly Pears and Butterscotch that is prepared in-house with single-malt Scotch.
The fresh, locally sourced ingredients expand beyond the plate with a craft cocktail menu that was built “from the ground up!” The Sin and Smoke, featuring Maker’s Mark, has been house-infused by Mesquite – the origins of which can be traced back to Texas before the arrival of Spanish settlers – perfectly paired with Angostura Bitters and Simple Syrup. Or the Bittersweet Symphony is a deep, layered beverage with a masterful mix of Beefeater Gin, Texas Arbequena Olive Oil, Black Olive & Tomato Infused Campari, and Carpano Antica.
Landrace, describes plants and animals that have evolved, adapting to their current environment in order to thrive – and, for Chef Steve McHugh there is no word more perfect to describe the direction of this from-scratch focused restaurant. Enjoy the finest seasonal ingredients prepared with an unadulterated methodology, honoring the rediscovered tastes and flavors of Texas. And leave feeling fueled by a heightened experience and a sense of authenticity unlike any other.