Monday, August 11, 2008

Willy Ray's Bar-B-Q - Beaumont, TX

Who orders chicken fried steak at a barbeque place? Answer: The Chicken Fried Texan.

Willy Ray’s Bar-B-Q in Beaumont was voted as one of Texas Monthly’s 50 best barbeque joints. The place is quaint and smaller inside than it looks outside. It’s a bit of a maze to get to (what isn’t in Beaumont?) but worth a trip.

To the main event: chicken fried steak. The steak itself was juicy and tender, making it easy to cut and nice to chew (some can take serious choppers). It had taken a nice pounding to make it nice and flat.

Breading: The breading was nice but not too thick. (Since this is my first post, I should note to my faithful readers that CFT prefers a thicker breading).

Gravy: on the side. This isn’t too common, but maybe it is an East Texas thing. I didn’t really like the gravy much. It was too bland and needed a kick of something to give it some shoulders.

Knife size: small. It was thin enough to use a standard knife. Despite her east Texas location, leave the Bowie knife at home.

Sides: the dish came with two – I had cole slaw and corn (off the cob). The cole slaw was really bland and needed a shot of vinegar and a little more creaminess to make it stick to CFT’s ribs. The corn was simply great – it was probably canned (too perfectly cut to be fresh) but had a great flavor. There were hints of bacon and red peppers. The tater tot loved it, and if you can get a tot to eat corn, you know you’re doing something right. Mrs. CFT had French fries, which were very well seasoned, hot and fresh.

Cost: About $10.00 (including two sides and a drink). A little on the high side, but fame has it’s price.

The service was a bit sub par. There was confusion at the front of the house (felt like the very nice woman taking our orders was new). The twice-baked potato ordered for the tot never arrived. CFT’s CFS took an extra five minutes to arrive (the cook missed it: good news in a way because it was clearly made to order). But, despite these slips, the staff couldn’t have been nicer and more welcoming – it really felt like a neighborhood joint where you could get comfortable, with no hint of arrogance, despite the coronation from Texas Monthly as barbeque royalty.

Music selection: oldies.

Overall, a nice place and an enjoyable visit. But, as far as the chicken fried side goes, stick to barbeque at Willy Ray’s.

1 comment:

Little Miss English Teacher said...

You know, if you want a good chicken fried steak ... Sanderson's in Nederland, TX (right outside Beaumont, TX)is pretty awesome! It's 9.99 for the LARGE and you might just need a box!! Many sides to choose from but it comes with French Fries ... and they are perfectly seasoned and delicious!

Also, Wunchee (SP) Bros in Old Town Spring, Spring, TX is also a winner!!

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