Review: San Antonio’s Crossroads a devilishly good late-night snack spot
The soundtrack fits — sharp yelps from Mick Jagger and the opening chords of “Sympathy for the Devil” ring out overhead. Take a few paces down a red brick-lined driveway and step into the sweltering courtyard of Crossroads Kitchen, a late night nosh spot tucked in between Faust Tavern and a Tobin Hill home converted into a neon green guitar shop.
The menu is scrawled on a chalkboard next to a sticker-plastered window — “The Blues was my Punk” and “Less Honkin! More Tonkin!” among the declared anthems — where orders are placed.
Grab a seat at one of several picnic tables, preferably in the airflow of several circulating fans mounted around the perimeter. The breeze won’t stop this summer’s inferno, but it will keep the nagging flies at bay. Within minutes, just long enough to cycle through The Stones and a Bowie track, honest and thoughtful chow starts arriving in paper takeout boats.
Crossroads isn’t exactly a restaurant, although the fare certainly aspires to that level. The kitchen measures a petite 10 feet by 15 feet, so think more along the lines of your favorite food truck pulling into a cozy backyard, ditching the wheels and slapping up some vinyl siding. In other words, just what the doctor ordered after downing a few frosty ones on the St. Mary’s Strip.
Fast facts: Roberta Marques and Drew Morros opened Crossroads 2015, providing much needed ballast to imbibers at the adjacent Faust Tavern, which shares Crossroad’s patio. The two are also partners in Lowcountry, a South Carolina-inspired Southtown bar.
On the menu: Crossroads Kitchen serves a seasonally rotating menu that typically has up to 10 dishes. It’s always a little bit Southern fried, and always stacked with a vegan option or three. The summer menu, which rolled out June 20, is also quite curtailed, tallying just six items.
The upside of a limited lineup is that a party of two (or one really hungry food writer) can munch through the whole thing for $36 bucks.
And each entry brings something unique, starting with the okra fritters ($4), golden pillows are packed with tiny discs of okra sliced razor thin and lightly bound in a fluffy dough. Dunked in a thyme-spiked crème fraîche, each bite is equal parts deep-fried indulgence and refreshing refinement. A spinach and cucumber salad ($6, $4 for a half portion), which could have been content to live a respectful, ordinary life, stands out with a tangy twist of pickled corn.
Sandwiches start with the kind of foundation that would render even a well-worn pair of Chuck Taylors palatable: rustic, thick slices of chewy house-baked white bread, generously buttered and crisped on a flattop. Fortunately, the fillings are far more pleasurable than musty sneakers.
Carnivores are treated to a heaping pile — my order was well over 8 ounces — of crispy chicken tenders dressed with pickled jalapeños, spinach and ranch for $11. The vegan option ($8) also packed plenty of flavor, with charred grape tomatoes and thinly sliced stacks of zucchini bouncing off a smear of basil mayonnaise. Both are served with a cup of cucumber and watermelon salad, also available as a side order.
And, of course, let’s not forget the smoked mozzarella macaroni and cheese ($4). A continuous presence on the menu, this scoop of gooey comfort topped with a sprinkling of toasty paprika-dusted breadcrumbs has no doubt spurred more than a few well-lubricated patrons into a swap for their eternal souls.
Crossroads built a following for its brunch service last spring but phased that shift out once the summer heat arrived. They will, however, host a one-off Drunk Breakfast 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Sunday with a menu of fried chicken and city ham biscuits, house-made coconut cream doughnuts, a vegan omelet made with a chickpea flour batter and more.
Location: 517 E. Woodlawn Ave. 210-257-0628. Facebook: Crossroads.
Hours: 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday
Twitter: @pjbitesInstagram: @pjstephen