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Value Vino

RoMo's Café: Comfort food down cold ... and in the bowl

Photo: Richard Teitz, License: N/A

Richard Teitz

BBQ pulled pork with Carolina sauce on pretzel bun with house-made potato chips from RoMo's Café.


With most new eateries opening up in the 1604 and Stone Oak area, one young chef and his wife have opted for a modest strip mall (flanked by Cricket phone outlet and a massage parlor) on Culebra Road, a couple of blocks north of the 410 exit. Rob and Monica Yoas (both Air Force vets) pooled their talents, resources, and names to create RoMo's Café, and though initial reports indicate some of the usual new-venture hiccups, they have a lot going in their favor.

Rob is a grad of the Culinary Institute of America at the Pearl Brewery and has mastered a basic American comfort-foods fare that includes fried chicken and rib eye, but extends to incorporate some fine Italianate dishes, like risotto with jumbo scallops and penne with creamy vodka sauce. Although I didn't get to try it, several customers I spoke with raved about the grits with bacon and shrimp.

The motto at RoMo's seems to be "keep it simple," i.e. limit the menu and wine list to a realistic number of items. Makes sense to this reviewer. At lunch, there are a few pasta dishes and a half dozen sandwiches served with house-made potato chips all under $10. My favorite is the pulled pork on a pretzel dough bun in what's billed as a Carolina BBQ sauce. The mustard in the sauce dominated the vinegar, and it seemed a bit milder than my buds are accustomed to, but the pork was not too fatty and really tasty. The unusual bun held its own and didn't get soggy. A side of slaw would have married it nicely.

There was only one soup available, but what a gem! The rich, flavorful mushroom bisque had me spooning up every last bit. I thought I detected thyme in the basic buttery broth. Desserts are kept to a few standard choices baked in house. Despite its good looks, I passed on the strawberry and cream cake. Definitely, a reason for a return visit.

There are usually a trio of blackboard specials. One couple (of the five lunching there) ordered a humongous muffaletta sandwich, of which half exited in a box with them. No complaints about the food, just too much to eat in situ. Other options were roast chicken with veggies and a pair of gourmet (!) hot dogs. One great touch is RoMo's invitation printed on the menu to let Rob know if you have a favorite dish you would like to see added to the menu. Who else does that?

For now RoMo's has only a few wines, but they're all Texas varietals, including Landon from McKinney and Flat Creek from Marble Falls, plus the usual regular and light beers, bottles not tap.

The décor is based on a deep red and cream palette. The ceiling is red, the walls cream with red abstract paintings and some local photographs. I particularly liked the overhead lights draped in black and red crepe. There are about 15 tables in one large room, with the concealed kitchen off to the side. To liven things up, the owners plan on presenting live music for first Saturday nights and starting Sunday brunches later this month.

It's tough opening a new restaurant in San Antonio, but Monica and Rob are off to a good start in a part of the city where there aren't many such attempts. So maybe location isn't everything. •

RoMo's Café

7627 Culebra, Ste 107
(210) 521-7666
romoscafe.com

 

The Skinny
Good American-style comfort food at fair prices with attention to detail and great staff attitude, plus some fancier Italian dishes at dinner

 

Best bets
Grits and shrimp, pulled pork sandwich on pretzel bun, risotto with scallops

 

Hours
10am-9pm Tue-Sat, Brunch on Sunday, closed Monday

 

Prices
$5.95-$9.95 lunch,
up to $14.95 at dinner

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