Before you head to the San Antonio hotspot, here are some things that make it a unique destination.
“Scorpion is about resilience,” says Jake Scott, the Creative Director of Scorpion, the San Antonio neighborhood wine bar, coffee shop, and restaurant showcasing Peruvian inspired cuisine. “We wanted to make something that’s complex, yet accessible.”
The team has certainly achieved their goal. With Chef Kenny Loo and Chef Juan Mesa helming the kitchen, and Scott designing the place from floor to ceiling, walking into the space couldn’t be more inviting.
Whether you’re headed to Scorpion soon, or want to learn more about it, here are five things that make the restaurant special.
In an effort to make things more sustainable and local, and accentuating the unique atmosphere, Scott used limestone from local quarries in the area to create stucco-inspired walls. The end result is a space that is therapeutic and calming, yet minimalist.
It is liminal in the best way, with the sense that you could be in Greece, or maybe a Mission, or anywhere really. “The most important thing,” Scott says, “was that I really wanted Chef Loo’s dishes to stand out, to be the bouquets on the tables, in a sense.”
Chifas, which Chef Loo describes as Chinese-Peruvian restaurants throughout Peru, helped shape the menu. “Growing up in Peru, I was always around restaurants,” he said. “I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”
Whether it’s the Lengua Saltado, a modernized Lomo Saltado, or the quinotto, many of the dishes are a peek into Chef Loo’s childhood, as well as a taste ofSan Antonio. “One of my favorite dishes to tell people about,” says Scott, “is the Causa, which is a traditional Peruvian dish, but is completely different here.” Scott describes the dish as “a snake on a plate.” “There’s nothing quite like it I’ve ever had,” he adds.
Chef Kenny Loo’s partner in the kitchen is Chef Juan Mesa, who previously worked at Olamaie in Austin. “Kenny has given me such trust over plating and presenting our visions,” says Chef Juan. “It’s such a privilege to help tell Kenny’s story, our story, through the dishes we create together.”
“Surprisingly, there weren’t and aren’t that many natural wine spots in San Antonio,” Scott says, and so we really wanted to be one of the first.
Sourcing biodynamic wines from across the world, they aim to make natural wine drinking accessible, fun, and always interesting, as well as sustainable. “I think that’s the goal of the whole thing really,” Scott adds. “We want to be different, something maybe you’ve never had before, but always approachable and inviting.”
Scott says that Scorpion is the offshoot of an original coffee business he ran where he met Chef Loo because he was a regular. They ended up bringing him on to run the coffee shop’s food program, which was limited, but he was coming up with some crazy biscuit sandwiches and empanadas, and they quickly realized his talent.
“We want to build you a kitchen,” Scott said, “it’s going to take some time, but we want to have you run it.” Scorpion is the culmination of that promise.
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