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.