Oloroso is a restaurant that has been on S. Alamo in the historic King William area since 2008. Josh Cross is the chef/owner, and you and I are fortunate that he has a sister and mother with celiac disease. One of them is also diabetic, and the other is lactose intolerant. You can see where I am going with this by now. Oloroso is a restaurant where the chef fully understands celiac disease and is accustomed to cooking for gluten-free people who also have additional dietary restrictions.
We had dinner there recently, and almost everything on the menu was gluten-free or could easily be modified to be gluten-free. Josh does not add wheat to any dish as a thickener, and all ingredients coming into the kitchen are natural,fresh and as local as possible. A few menu items involve breads, but there is no hidden gluten here. They make their own pasta, and we all know that is off limits. The pork loin comes with a cornbread cup, but that is easily left off if you want to order the pork loin. No prepared broths or products are ever used in their kitchen.
Josh sat with us while I enjoyed my roasted swordfish with roasted zucchini finished with fresh basil and soffrito sauce. Joe had roasted chicken with roasted scallions, fingerling potatoes, and sugar snap peas with a roasted red pepper sauce. The only thing missing for Joe was some gluten-free bread to sop up the last remnants of the sauce. We could have ordered the Ginger and Cardamom Crème Brulee with Blueberries or Chocolate Pots du Crème with Cherries and Pistachios if we wanted dessert.
I asked Josh what drew him to cooking. He said he grew up cooking in the kitchen with his mother and he loved watching the cooking shows on PBS. He started cooking right out of college, and after a few years with San Antonio chefs Bruce Auden, Cappy Lawton and Damien Watel, Josh made his way to New York City. There he worked in several prestigious restaurants and learned from well known chefs like Alain Ducasse and Mario Batali. While cooking at Gramercy Tavern as a sous-chef he was given the freedom to develop his own style.
Being a San Antonio native, he wanted to return to his hometown and have his own restaurant. He opened Oloroso in 2008 and his menu continues to change with the seasons. Oloroso seats 60, and he says that about ten people a week come in and request gluten-free meals. Recently they have noticed more and more requests. The sous-chef has been at Oloroso since the beginning, so he is also very experienced with gluten-free cooking.
In the kitchen they have sections where only meat items are cooked, another where the fish is cooked, and bread is kept totally separate from the cooking areas because Josh is fully aware of what a few crumbs of gluten can do. Josh's sister was diagnosed celiac about 12 years ago, so he has learned a lot about preparing gluten-free food over the last 12 years.
Oloroso is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday. There is always at least one soup of the day, and it is almost always gluten-free. There are plenty of full meal salads on the lunch menu, in addition to several gluten-free entrees. I think you will enjoy dining at Oloroso.
This review was written by Anne Barfield in September, 2010.