Dave

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dinner Report: The Stockyards...

For several weeks now, my wife and I have been looking for opportunities to visit The Stockyards, primarily a dance hall and saloon arrangement with an, oh by the way, steakhouse tucked neatly into the back. For whatever reason, we just didn't have the time to get over there. This afternoon, our kids were off doing their own thing and we decided to slip in for a late lunch.But when you show up at 3:30 in the afternoon, you'll get no lunch! Even though the Lunch menu on The Stockyards web page has a menu for daily lunch specials until 4pm, apparently, they don't open until 4pm. How convenient! No problem; we are flexible when it comes to eating. So, we did some errands and returned, hungry and ready for some serious steak.

By way of background, the building that houses this restaurant/dance hall/saloon, was originally opened as a restaurant called the Red Barn. The problem was, the place was huge with an enormously wide-open seating area not unlike an elementary school cafeteria. You could hear everyone but the people at your own table due to the crazy acoustics of the place. It was horrible. It was also the place where on our one and only visit, the waitress literally spilled the plate of food on my wife. Oops!
Anyway, the new owners must have realized the space was not used correctly and they instead turned it into a much smaller scale restaurant, and a large scale dance hall. Good plan.You can enter the steakhouse from the side entrance which has a really nice covered patio area. I'm guessing you can sit here and have drinks and wait for your table if the place is busy. Inside, lots of wood and a few TVs in case you need to see a score. I especially liked the large wooden booths that can easily hold a regular family of six or a San Antonio family of four. That's just a little joke there.

When we arrived (the second time) we were still the first people there and in fact, no other patrons joined us until we were already leaving. It could certainly be that we are in the midst of Christmas weekend, but I was surprised at the emptiness of the place, given the fact that Rudy's right next door was totally packed. My wife and I wondered about this quite a bit. What if everyone already knows something bad and we just hadn't gotten the word?
Our waiter was very friendly and suggested starters, perhaps the mushrooms or an onion, but to be honest, we had steak on our minds and didn't want to spoil the experience by being stuffed with fried food ahead of time. He took our drink orders and gave us a minute to look at the menu. By the way, in case you are wondering, iced tea is the same price as draft beer, so my wife had a sweetened iced tea that was very good, and I had a Miller Lite that was slight warmer than room temperature, but it was after all, the same price as the iced tea.We both ordered the house salad with Ranch and it was very good, though certainly on the smallish side. They also give you several pieces of hot wheat bread with some sort of honey drizzled on top of it. That too was very enjoyable.In no time our steaks had arrived. My wife ordered the 7oz sirloin cooked Medium Well and the loaded mashed potatoes as a side. Her steak arrived Well Done, but not so Well Done that she needed to risk sending it back. I'm sure she meant it as a compliment to me, but within her first or second bite, she told me that my steak is as good or better than this. I didn't try her steak but I took a bite of the loaded mashed potatoes and they were okay.I went with a 10 oz Rib Eye cooked medium (anything more is a crime) and I got a baked potato and asked for cheese and sour cream. I know this sounds bad, but I just assumed that butter would have been, well, assumed. Apparently not. Since they charge you 25 cents for each extra thing you put on the baked potato and the choices were cheese, bacon, sour cream or chives, I guess I didn't think I needed to say, "Oh, I'll take some of that free butter with my 50 cents worth of extras."

There was nothing wrong with these steaks; I didn't have to fight it to cut it and it chewed easily. But, technically, it did not taste good to me at all, but perhaps that was just the way they prepared it. I didn't ask for any steak sauce as that may have been offensive especially since there was none present on the tables or anywhere in sight. And by the way, you simply should not have to douse a steak in sauce. The cook can do all the fancy marinating and seasoning ahead of time but the eater of the steak should not be doing any messing around with it once served. I couldn't help thinking how good it might have been on a toasted bun with lots of Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce or even slathered with about a pint of the sauce we purchased from Harmon's. But I ate it. And I drank the warm beer. And I ate as much of the dry baked potato as I could get down before running out of warm beer to swallow it with.

I'm not even a huge fan of Rudy's, but it was clear to me why, given the choice, Rudy's was packed and we were sitting alone in The Stockyards. We had great service - and I trust it wasn't simply because we were the only people there, but really, when it comes down to quality and taste, jeez; go to Texas Roadhouse or even Chili's, much less a no kidding steak house, and you'll be a lot happier.

Have you tried The Stockyards and found it to be a great experience? Tell me about it or leave a comment here.

2 comments:

Fallen Angel said...

No one I have talked to has had a decent meal there. I read the restuarant reveiw but I never really trust them because they eat weird stuff and like it.

The stockyard folks just don't seem to get it. If you want a terrific steak and Texas ambience-take a field trip to Cowcatcher's Steaks in Bulverde. Best steak I have had in YEARS.

Dave said...

We still haven't made it to Cowcatcher's yet, but it is near the top of the list following the Stockyards debacle.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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