Bohanans 10.9.23 3 courtyard web

By Janis Turk | Photos courtesy of Bohanan’s Restaurant & Bar

Bohanan’s Restaurant & Bar offers the quintessential San Antonio fine-dining steakhouse experience and is a date-night delight!


At a table upstairs overlooking San Antonio’s illustrious Majestic Theatre, with its neon marquee giving a woozy, warm glow to a cold, clear night, my husband and I sat holding hands at Bohanan’s.


Dining at the city’s most swank and storied steakhouse, we weren’t celebrating a birthday or anniversary — just a sweet Wednesday date night.


Rarely have we enjoyed such a magical meal in Texas. Recently returning from a week in New York, we’d already begun missing the bright lights big city ambiance of Manhattan’s best bars, private clubs and fine-dining establishments. We longed for white-table-cloth dinners by candlelight and the romantic afterglow of a night on the town.


At Bohanan’s, we were thrilled to find all this and more in our own backyard.


Offering the quintessential San Antonio steakhouse experience just two blocks from the Alamo, Bohanan’s is a cut above the rest. A classic, Manhattan-style, fine-dining chop house, it’s sublimely old-school with a modern flair: the kind of place your parents would love that’s also primed to delight younger patrons.


Opening in 2002 as an intimate second-floor dining experience with owner/executive chef Mark Bohanan at the helm, Bohanan’s, like its steaks, has aged well.


In fact, Bohanan’s just unveiled its 2023 half-million-dollar modern renovation of the now multi-level, 18,500 square-feet restaurant, which employs 150 staff, serving as many as 300 guests.


Bohanan’s also offers a lively street-level bar, a sweet little Library Bar with leather banquettes in the corner, live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and 10,000 square feet of first-floor dining. The kitchen, service and reception areas have also been meticulously renovated. The showstopper? The Houston Court patio, a newly designed 2,500 square-foot courtyard with its purposefully restored, original, Parisian-style metal grillwork, tile and lighting features, and a fountain created by local artists.


We began with an aperitif in the first-floor dining room overlooking the courtyard. The décor’s luxe ambiance features tony touches, like velvet chairs in jewel-tone colors, brass pineapple-shaped table lamps, original oak floors, shaded sconces, candelabra on a black baby grand and a long gleaming bar. The downstairs draws a casually well-dressed, upwardly-mobile, classy business crowd. Low lighting and soft music hit all the right notes, lending the large sparkling space a smooth, intimate vibe.


There, we perused the well-curated cocktail and wine menu and enjoyed appetizers from head chef Heather Nanez, who quietly emerged from the kitchen to greet guests. We enjoyed bacon-wrapped quail, duck confit eggrolls and bites of savory smoked Akaushi beef and pork sausage. A waiter passed with a huge hamburger on a shiny brioche bun and a cone of slender fries.


“If the bar food is this fabulous,” we thought, “Imagine what awaits upstairs?” We took the elevator to the second floor to find out.


There stands a sparkling kitchen and four private rooms for special events, including the smaller Wheeler Room and the Bar Room for formal dinners or business meetings. Our favorite dining area, though, is the 40-seat Houston Street Room, with a wall of windows offering spectacular views of the eponymous street. Sometimes partitioned for smaller private parties, it feels romantic— less about business deals than leisurely dinner dates. There is something so special about a winter weeknight downtown overlooking The Majestic.


Our bespoke Bohanan’s culinary journey began with delicately seared Togarashi scallops served with julienned vegetables in a lemon beurre blanc sauce, followed by a “colossal” crabmeat cocktail and a side of thick-sliced sweet and spicy Kurobuta bacon in a maple and pepper glaze. We’d heard Bohanan’s serves a fab French onion soup made with rich, slow-simmered veal stock, three aged cheeses, and house croutons. However, we’d already ordered filling entrees, including a 7-ounce filet of Bohanan’s signature premium Japanese A5 Wagyu beef prepared on a mesquite grill. This beef is so tender we cut it with the edge of a spoon and bathed it in béarnaise sauce.


A delightful young man named James was our attentive and well-trained server. He suggested the mesquite-grilled Gulf red snapper royale, topped with crabmeat, scallops and chanterelle mushrooms in a rich cream reduction. He also recommended sides of lobster creamed corn, au gratin potatoes and sautéed Portabello mushrooms in wine-rich demi-glace.


A choice of roasted garlic, goat cheese or roasted herb mashed potatoes, white truffle oil steak fries, baked potatoes, and macaroni and cheese were possibilities. For greens, try plump jumbo asparagus spears with sauce Hollandaise, broccoli crowns sautéed in garlic olive oil, and sautéed spinach. Between courses, we enjoyed a palate cleanser of frosty lemon sorbet.


James suggested we try his signature spin on the classic Mexican Carajillo coffee cocktail so we could “drink our dessert.” However, the pièce de résistance was when James surprised us by also making tableside, flaming bananas foster.


Lavish dining experiences like this require a big splurge, no doubt, but the equally enticing and perhaps more affordable bar menu is also a treat.


Offering an excellent, high-end dining experience, under chef Mark Bohanan’s visionary leadership, Bohanan’s renovation and expansion are decidedly part of today’s dynamic downtown renaissance. In partnerships with key cultural institutions, such as The Majestic and Empire Theatres, the Las Casas Foundation, and The Alamo Museum, Bohanan’s is committed to fostering community connection and actively supporting local non-profits through innovative culinary initiatives.


As for my husband and me, we’ll always have Bohanan’s, where we enjoyed a romantic date-night dinner like no other. A night to remember, indeed.


Bohanan’s Restaurant & Steakhouse

Bohanans.com | 219 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205 | (210) 472-2600

bohanans single dish 37 web

Janis Turk is an award-winning travel write, food writer, and guidebook author with nearly 20 years of experience working with San Antonio Woman magazine

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