Best Brunch

Best Brunch

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Screens: “If you’re going to start, you might as well start big,” an ambitious person once said. Ned Benson must have been paying attention, because for his first... By Cameron Meier 9/17/2014

Best Tattoo Shop

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013

Best Fajitas

Best of SA 2012: We wracked our brains over this one. Fajitas are pretty much all the same, no? Kinda like huevos rancheros. Our mind then drifted to a certain middle sister's wedding rehearsal... 4/25/2012
The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

College Guide 2013: If you’re going to be in a college dorm, a spacious apartment, a cramped shared bedroom or anywhere on a college campus for that matter, be prepared for your... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Food & Drink

Beat Street Coffee Co.’s Steady Beat

Photo: Dan Payton, License: N/A

Dan Payton

The crispy pig belly salad with apple, fennel, crisp parsnips, rucola and apple soda gastrique

Big things have small beginnings. Henry Leman’s small beginning came in the form of a coffee truck known as Beat Street Coffee Co., where for just over a year he poured some of the city’s best java. Leman and wife Terri took a chance this March when they decided to move into the former Justin’s Ice Cream on Main.

The concept for Beat Street varies. Stop in before 11 a.m. and you’ll find fresh quick breads, muffins and great coffee (Leman worked with roasters in Texas and Oklahoma to achieve the unique blend); the lunchtime crowd is made up of ladies who lunch, power suits having power meals and anyone looking for a solid bite to eat that doesn’t put a dent in their wallet; come dinnertime, Beat Street takes on a more intimate boutique-y setting that goes well with the playful dishes being prepared in the kitchen.

The varying set-up is purposeful—Beat Street is a triple threat. The Lemans run the coffee shop; 24-year-old Nate Clark mans a simple, but elevated lunch; and 46-year-old San Antonio native Jeff Wiley caps off the night with beautifully executed dishes with the help of sous chef John Carpenter.

A lunchtime highlight was the exalted Sloppy Joe. Served on a buttery brioche roll, the Moroccan-inspired stewed pork and lamb Merguez sausage seasoned with cumin, fennel, coriander, garlic, onion and smoked paprika erased most other Sloppy Joes from memory. As my lunch partner put it, this isn’t your mom’s Sloppy Joe. The chicken salad is solid; it combines roasted chicken, fennel, red onion, golden raisins, green apple and toasted walnuts for a pleasant, but not mind-blowing, familiar bite.

Even so, a $10 lunch that isn’t fast food is hard to find, and being affordable for the surrounding neighborhood (and the slew of Trinity, Incarnate Word and San Antonio College students that also live nearby) is something Leman and Wiley have made a point while creating menus. Leman, a musician-turned-restaurant owner, and Wiley, a 15-year industry vet who remembers his days as a college student, are desperately trying to keep reasonable price points for lunch and dinner.

It’s in the evening when Wiley really gets a chance to play. The Texas Culinary Academy-trained chef has made his rounds in SA’s food scene (Polo’s at the Fairmount Hotel, The Lodge, Saffron, La Barranca, Hotel Contessa’s Las Ramblas, Westin Riverwalk and most recently, NAO New World Flavors at the Pearl); but this is the first venture where he’s been asked to create an opening menu and run the nighttime kitchen for a grassroots neighborhood bistro.

Diners have to trust Wiley’s vision. The menu is short, a scant four items per section (small plates, salads and large plates), with the most vague of descriptions. But, in Wiley we trust. The airy crab beignets, which border on fritter territory, are chock-full of fresh lump crab and marscarpone cheese. A caper-tarragon mayonnaise finishes the dish and makes it difficult to share.

Wiley’s love for everything Spanish-Mediterranean comes through in the papas bravas, perfectly fried potato cubes coated with a sherry chorizo aioli and finished with French feta that hit all the right notes.

Recently in Food & Drink
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus