Monday, September 1, 2008

Goodson's Cafe - Tomball, TX

Billboards all over Waller and north Harris County proclaim Goodson's Cafe as the "Best Chicken Fried Steak in Texas." It is certainly not the only place that makes such a claim, but here it comes close to being true.

Goodson's Cafe was a neat and eclectic little place. It was true to the “café” name: a big menu with a range of standards (including appetizers, lunch, dinner and desserts). Tables were covered with that plastic tablecloths and there were baskets of toys around for recreation (for the tots, I suppose). The meal started with some warm biscuits with a nice gravy in a side dish.

The CFS: I was warned. She warned me. When I ordered the CFS, our waitress asked "Are you sure?" Teased and interested, I indicated I was sure (even though I wasn't sure). The CFS was amazing. Just amazing. True southern style, thick and juicy (surolin). It was a MAJOR piece of meat -- as big as I've seen. …or I thought it was a single: after eating a few bites, I discovered it was actually two pieces! Regardless, it was too much for me. Grilled onions were also offered to top the CFS (alas, but declined), something I hadn’t encountered before.

Breading: Thick and flaky. Very tasty. Clearly made with some buttermilk, it was double dipped, a nice amount of pepper and lumpy as all get out.

Gravy: Smooth, camel colored and creamy. A rich, caramel and flavorful bounty. It came on the side (our waitress didn't ask how we wanted the gravy served). Our waitress offered (without us asking) to bring an extra bowl of gravy and I'm glad she did. I actually didn't think I'd like spooning out gravy to my CFS per bite, but I really liked it. It allowed for portion control and let the CFS stay crispy.

Knife size: You need something major to attack this beast. The CFS came with a standard knife -- truly inadequate for the job. I thought about going next door to the pawn shop to buy something more substantial.

Sides: Dish came with two. I had the fried okra (no surprise) and the cole slaw. I'm easy with okra, so my standards are low. But these weren't so good: the okra was a little soggy and probably pre-packaged. The cole slaw was awful. Everything was chopped too small and the balance of creaminess, cabbage and carrots (the three c's) . There was an unpleasant hint of garlic in it too -- made it smell a little off and left an odd aftertaste. Mrs. Chicken Fried Texan had the mashed potato (which was nice but was a little dry, a nice potato flavor (with skins)) and corn (tasted canned).

Cost: Large (which I had) was $9.29 and the small is $7.99. An amazing bargain given the amount of food. If you’re interested, the grilled onions on top were an extra $0.79.

Service. This wasn't her first rodeo or her first CFS. She sized me up and knew she'd be taking that plate away nearly full (see picture). She was friendly, had an easy charm, got the food out fast and flirted with the tot (who returned in kind).

Music selection: adult contempo.

The "Best Chicken Fried Steak in Texas" can't be a self-given label. Indeed, Goodson's Cafe's "Best CFS" was proclaimed as such by the "Eyes of Texas," which were last recorded in the late 1990s. So, it's been a while since the label was affixed to their CFS. Best in Texas? I can't say. The biggest?: perhaps. Best bargain?: certainly the top 10. It’s worth a drive out to Tomball to see for yourself.


Anonymous said...

Now you are really getting into the good stuff. I lived within 1/2 mile of the old Goodson's. Email me - I lost your address when I lost my HD. Bill Moran San Diego, TX

Chicken Fried Texan said...


Oh, man. It's a dangerous thing to live that close to that tasty CFS!

I'm at Keep those recipies coming!

Imma said...

Just came back from there! TRuly awesome CFS!!! I've tried the mac and cheese (not the best); I agree on the dreid mash potatoes, but their collard greens (that I've got the previuos time I went there) are to die for!!! The rolls are awesome and warm!
I don't know if you have still tried the CFS at hickory hollow in magnolia. Not too shabby!!!
Here the link just in case (I'm curious to read your opinion!!!).

rasslinfan said...

Hello My Name Is Bryan Jarman and I have a Weird request I was wondering how U can Have Your C F S Delivered To a City in Illinois Called Granite City. This Is not a Joke.I seen You on The Travel Channel and Would Really love to try your CFS,Gravy,And Biscuit. Here i my E-Mal, If yo could let me know something eiher way.
Bryan Jarman

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Leona's Reviews said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leona's Reviews said...

Just watched the show Destination America on Steaks. We do not get good CFS in Minnesota.They had Goodsons on it.
Sorry, I do not know how to edit so I deleted.

Ben Weihrich said...

I knew Mrs. Goodson since she started her café @ the of Humble station in Huffsmith. She knew our family cause we had 110 arces at Huffsmith Rd & Klein Rd intersection. It was good then I hope it is still good!!!! Hope Mama's is still open in Huffsmith, learn to be a pool shark there many many yrs ago!!

Ben Weihrich

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