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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lunch Report: Beef & Bourbon...

Beef & Bourbon over on San Antonio's east side on Rigsby off of Loop 410 south has been a long time favorite of my wife's family. I'm not sure how they found the place, but we have gone there a few times a year for as long as I've been in the family. That was why it was sort of shocking that we actually considered walking out of the place today.

I should tell you first that we got off to a late start with lunch. In fact, we sat looking at the Google with our Entertainment coupon book in hand searching for a place to eat for probably twenty minutes, then because we were both super hungry, decided to go in the general direction of a particular barbecue place and see if anything caught our eye. That was probably the first mistake. I'll spare you the details but we zig-zagged ourselves through the city looking at potential eating spots, and it seemed as though anyplace that caught our eye was not open on Sunday. Finally, the idea of Beef & Bourbon popped into my head and we just headed straight there. Only problem was, it was at least 2PM and we still had not even had breakfast!

It almost looks like the place has been remodeled or painted or something since my last visit. I know the sign is different. When we saw the "Help Wanted" on the marquee, we had no idea it would have a real impact on our lunch.

When we walked in, the lady at the register told us to just find a seat anywhere. We found a booth and sat down and started to look around at the other diners. After we had waited for about five minutes, it occurred to us that there were several other tables where nobody had glasses of tea or food of any type. We did see a few waiters hitting tables on the other side of the room, and from what we could overhear, there were apologies issued, but no real details of what was going on.

Now understand, we were both really, really hungry. A few more minutes had gone by and still, no waiter, no nothing. My wife was the first one to mention getting up to leave (we have only done that at one other place that I can recall), but when I saw the cash register lady walk up to a table of folks who had come in after us, I was already getting up to walk out. But the lady took their drink order, then came and asked us what we'd like.

Then, a busboy walked by our booth and muttered that he was about to walk out. That of course got our attention, and now, we were going to stay even if it took all night to find out what was going on (and get something to eat).

Beef & Bourbon is like an older style restaurant. I would say that most of the patrons are of grand parenting age, and today, the crowd was clearly the "just got out of church" bunch.I often feel under-dressed if I go into the place in shorts or even jeans since many of the folks wear a jacket and tie to dine, but really, casual is okay. In fact, anyplace that has the menu built into the place mat on the table, I think casual is pretty much authorized.

As we sipped our tea and ate about 4 or 5 packs of crackers each, we overheard a waiter tell some folks at a table near us that the server for our section was M.I.A.; one bus boy had been hauled away by the police just moments earlier and two other waiters simply did not show up for work. Once again, we started thinking about getting up and leaving a few dollars for the iced tea and heading out. But as if on cue, the cash register lady came and took our order.

The waiter that had been serving the other people came and brought us our salads and apologized for the service and thanked us for being patient. There seemed to be three waiters working the room we were in (there are several different rooms in the restaurant), but the guy who helped us was clearly busting his ass to make things work. My wife also mentioned that if she had seen wait staff milling about doing nothing, she'd be upset, but all of the waiters were running in and out of the back trying to keep things going. No telling what was going on in the kitchen. By the way, the salad is always good but the highlight is the home made (I'm assuming) Ranch Dressing. If they sold this stuff by the bottle, I'd buy it.My wife told me that if I was trying to make up for not taking her to Texas Roadhouse the other day, this wasn't going to work since instead of steak, she was ordering the fish platter. The fish is a a large plank of Cod or something, fried to a golden brown and served with thick steak fries. The tarter sauce also seems to be freshly made in the kitchen and has a good taste to it.

I ordered the rib eye steak with jumbo shrimp and a baked potato loaded. I forgot that "loaded" means they give you a packet of sour cream and a little cup of government cheese. I suppose it is all good, but my preference is to have it all fixed up in the kitchen so it is nice and melted when it comes to me. They can't touch the baked potato at Texas Roadhouse, but really, as baked potatoes go, it is fine. The steak was fine and I was glad to see that the cook understands what "medium" means. The two shrimp that came with the steak were huge and very good. Not over fried at all and they had a good taste.

Aside from the rough beginnings and almost getting up to leave, once our order was taken, things were fine and our waiter really went above and beyond to accommodate all the diners in the place, and we tipped accordingly. When we left, our waiter stopped us and apologized again for the service, but really, we think he made the best of a crappy situation.

Beef & Bourbon is a quiet dining experience. There is no loud music blasting or TV's showing football; you can actually talk at a normal conversation level and not leave the place with your ears ringing. On the other hand, you won't break the bank trying to fill up. Portions are generous and the price is more than reasonable.

Have you been to Beef & Bourbon? Has your busboy been taken down with a taser? Tell me about it or leave a comment below.


Rich said...

Glad this turned out ok. Was sweating it for awhile. Better add Texas Roadhouse to the agenda soon though. Sounds like that may be a sticking point with the war department. :)

Diskussion Das said...

My folks wanted to go there to eat when I was visiting them over on the South Side a few weeks ago, I just wasnt sure if I should venture into the joint.

Seems like I shoulda taken that plunge. I guess next time I'm over there and it becomes time to eat, I should let them get their way and go into the place.

Anonymous said...

Eva says:)

I use to take my parents out for the t-bone steaks. They r pretty big but not thick and the soup is great but only if the a/c is working :).

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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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