Through the operate up to the slide opening of Finest Good quality Daughter, chef and co-proprietor Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin explained it perfectly: “Imagine the glory dishes of The Monterey, but all the dishes are Asian.”
The Monty, for newcomers or all those who skipped out, was one particular of the most influential places to eat in the city’s modern culinary history. All through its 5-yr run that finished in 2015, the Southtown hotspot combined components in a way that felt both of those encouraged and insane—while also utterly irresistible. Dobbertin started her culinary job there as a fry prepare dinner, beneath the path of chef Quealy Watson.
Most effective High quality Daughter is the next cafe from Dobbertin and Watson and just much more than four months in, they have previously shipped menus that have a stunning perception of creativity with management and finesse. This balance comes out in dishes like the smashed cucumbers, which spots chunks of mashed cucumber on a bed of garlicky, earthy tahini for a Sichuan-satisfies-Mediterranean really feel. There are many “rolled options,” but the responsible enjoyment of egg rolls filled with a mixture of crabmeat, Cajun boudin and gooey queso Oaxaca is a will have to. Once you have chosen a veggie and roll, head to the menu’s “Noodles and Rice” solutions, where by the Fats Noodle Shorter Rib delivers with a black bean sauce, roasted tomato, gai lan, 5 spice and cilantro with crispy shallots. An anything-but-normal ice product sandwich (one fried mantou sandwich arrived with chocolate and salty fried peanuts) rounds out the meal. During this often transforming menu, the dishes have their roots in Dobbertin’s Chinese heritage, infused with flavors and worldwide influences of today’s San Antonio.
A San Antonio indigenous, Dobbertin grew up in a culinary family members. Her father was a chef, her mom a cook, 1 of her grandfathers a Chinese pastry chef and an uncle owned a Taiwanese noodle stand. She in the beginning followed a different route, nevertheless. Right after attending Texas A&M University, she made a decision to shift to Thailand in 2005 to do the job in the nonprofit environment even though pursuing her master’s in intercontinental relations. Her a single-yr keep turned into six. Again in San Antonio by 2011, she felt burned out on the nonprofit entire world. She moved into a spot just south of downtown, future to The Monterey, and quickly sufficient, she started doing the job there in the tiny kitchen area creating the restaurant’s well known fries.
From there, she labored with Watson on Asian-influenced pop-ups that later turned into The Monty’s sister cafe, Hot Joy, and she did some of her own Thai-Chinese pop-ups. The duo moved quickly: Hot Pleasure opened in 2013 and acquired raves from Bon Appétit magazine the next year. Then in 2016, the pair left Hot Joy to open Tenko Ramen in the Bottling Dept. at Pearl in 2017.
For this newest cafe, the identify came 1st. It is encouraged by a line in The Joy Luck Club when a character suggests to her daughter, “You select worst excellent crab simply because you have best high quality coronary heart.” Very best High quality Daughter is a nod to the elaborate associations amongst Chinese American ladies and their Chinese-born moms.
With the concept in location, Dobbertin commenced functioning with Anne Ng of Bakery Lorraine and artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk on some pop-ups that immediately developed into the restaurant. They introduced Watson into the venture and Dobbertin states, “It moved quick from our very last two pop-ups to a brick and mortar.” Ng stepped away to concentration on her bakeries when Datchuk brought her affect in the eatery’s artwork, which includes via a number of of her possess pieces.
For now, the greatest challenge is earning absolutely sure the newest location in the former Granary at Pearl runs easily when keeping tabs on their nearby ramen spot. Any more substantial ambitions can wait around. “Pre-pandemic, I was like, ‘We want to be a cafe group,’” Dobbertin suggests. “Now I’m, ‘Let’s just run a cafe.’”