Dining Out


A Middle Eastern Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas

Dishes served at Ladino
Written by Veronica Meewes
Berty Richter, chef of Ladino, one of the new restaurants in Texas

San Antonio gained a true culinary gem when the acclaimed Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group opened its first concept in the Alamo City. Ladino, unveiled this past fall in the historic Pearl district, pays homage to chef Berty Richter’s Sephardic roots with a menu centered on the charcoal grill essential to Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines.

Raised in Israel by a Hungarian American father and a Turkish mother, Richter first learned the love language of food from his family, before completing classic French culinary training and cooking for high-profile restaurants in Israel, New York, and Barcelona. He grew up speaking Ladino, the language of Sephardic Jews who migrated from Spain through the northern Mediterranean before settling in the Balkan states and Israel. His namesake restaurant takes influence from all the countries in that migratory route, both in its food and in its decor.

Richter’s menu highlights both traditional and lesser-known dishes mainly from Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, and Israel and their neighbors, but with his own playful—and often seasonal—variations. Chargrilled beets are served atop fluffy whipped date molasses, and a sumptuous almond-olive oil cake is brightened with a Campari-grapefruit sorbet.

“We make our muhammara with Texas pecans instead of walnuts. When peppers are in season, we use the many kinds available here to give a twist to our different chili condiments,” Richter says. “And, of course, the very high quality of pork, beef, and chicken raised here helps elevate the flavor and quality of our kebabs and other grilled dishes.”

The menu also includes Richter’s modernized versions of his family’s traditional Sephardic recipes, like the agristada de pishkado, a special dish his grandmother made for the family twice a year on Rosh Hashanah and Passover. He recalls the days of labor as she broke down whole gray mullets and juiced fresh lemons to slow-cook the fish in a lemony egg emulsion in small batches. His version is made from cold poached amberjack topped with dill, urfa, and onion relish.

“For me, the agristada represents the essence of my Ladino culture and background,” Richter says. “When I set out to make the menu, I knew I had to re-create a version of that dish, and my challenge was making it in a restaurant setting in a way that is attractive and compelling. Based on our guests’ reactions, I think my grandmother would be proud. My mom is for sure.”

Get Ladino’s Souvlaki Recipe

Souvlaki dish served at Ladino

about this restaurant

  • Chef

    Berty Richter

  • Address

    200 East Grayson Street #100
    San Antonio, Texas

    • Middle Eastern

    • Mediterranean

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