Dave

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lunch Report: Longhorn at 1604 and I-10...

Last weekend when my wife and I dropped in to The Shops at La Cantera, we had planned to kill two birds with one Stone and try out the vittles at Longhorn Steakhouse (not to be confused with Longhorn Cafe just up the road). We got there and found the wait time to be upwards of an hour, and of course, that just doesn't work for me, not when there are so many other good places to eat. We ended up eating at Grady's which I know some of you don't care for, but I'm a huge fan of the catfish and the tea!
Anyway, the point of all this is that like we do when we hit TRH or Chili's, we must learn to phone ahead with Longhorn. We decided (in spite of us both feeling a little yucky due to the cold weather) to get out of the house and give Longhorn another shot, but we didn't call ahead like we should have. This time, the wait was supposed to be something like 35 to 40 minutes and we went ahead and stuck it out.
As we waited, we thought about sitting in the bar but figured since we didn't want to eat in there, we'd leave the space free for those that could use them. The bar looks very nice by the way. Anyway, within the bar area, there was a table large enough for a family of 6 or 8 but they had a couple with a young child seated there. My wife initially thought it was two tables pushed together and commented that they could have separated the tables and seated someone else but then we noticed that it was all one table.
How do you feel about people just randomly sitting themselves and their kids at your table while you are eating? I suspect that is very European or maybe even very Mayberry, USA, but I just can't see myself doing it. But sure enough, this large family came in, got their name on the waiting list then promptly sat down several of their group at the table (of course, leaving an open chair between the original diners and themselves) and then crowded around them, essentially taking over the space as the people tried to eat their meal. In the picture on the left, you can actually see the father of the original people assigned to the table with his child next to him. The rest of those folks, are all the people waiting for 45 minutes to get their own table.

Am I making a huge deal out of nothing? I mean, I've been to restaurants where you are seated on long tables with other guests and that is the norm. In fact, when we went to Hofbrau Beer Garden in PCB, we were seated at a table with another family. But when you go to a place and it is understood that you have waited to be seated at a specific table, is it okay for some other group (without the assistance of the Host or Hostess) to butt in? I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments section.
Okay, on to the food at Longhorn. When our waiter came out to get our drink order, he asked if we had been to Longhorn before. We joked about the fact that we had been just last weekend but didn't stay. He gave us the rundown on the menu and suggested a new menu item they are testing called the Bacon Crusted Sirloin. He brought our teas and a nice warm hunk of bread that was extremely wonderful.
My wife saw a picture of an appetizer called the Wild West Shrimp and thought it might be nice to try. From the picture, we expected it to be on the smallish side, so figured why not. It turned out to be a huge serving, easily enough for 5 or 6 people (as an appetizer). Be warned. Oh, and the shrimp was just awesome. The green things in there were some form of pickled pepper. Along with the dipping sauce, the peppers made for a wonderful combination and we immediately wondered about a to-go box for the rest of our lunch.
Our lunch came with the standard house salad. It was good, served with fresh croutons but in all honesty, it was no better than most, and not as good as TRH, but no complaints here. Seriously, you could get the salad and that Wild West Shrimp appetizer for two folks and call it a day.
We both went with the Bacon Crusted 6oz sirloin steak and loaded baked potato. The bacon is actually crumbled and spread across the top of the steak. A great idea in theory, but for me, the conflict in texture was weird, and I just scraped the bacon off. My wife liked it that way. Take note of the potato. I can't even tell you how it taste since it went strait into the to-go container. But appearance wise, I miss the little speckles of salt you get at TRH. Aside from that, it is a fine looking baked potato. Perhaps I'll eat it later this evening!
I cut mine in half to get a picture of the inside of the steak. I love it when people are willing to serve a steak the way you want it. I am disgusted by anything beyond "medium", and this was served just as I ordered. Kudos! The steak it self was very good. While I would not order this particular version again (because of the bacon texture issue) the 6oz was certainly filling and there was no fighting to cut or chew.

Our waiter Robert, it turned out was actually on loan from the Longhorn headquarters in Orlando. He is staying here for a while just to help out with this new restaurant and told us they were building several more here in SA including in Alamo Ranch. Yeah! We gave him several suggested places to try out while he is here.

In terms of appearance, there is nothing special or unique about the inside of the place. My wife did see several Texas related and cowboy-like features in artwork that she liked, but the layout and design could have been the Sizzler. Not to worry. The place was clean, we loved the glasses and the dinnerware and it was comfortable (since nobody came and sat at our table with us). The service we had was outstanding, our food was great and we loved - I mean really, really loved the Wild West Shrimp. Robert also informed us that the dinner menu includes more steak options, but I intend to have the ribs on our next visit.
Be sure to call ahead because you won't want to wait long for the Tasty Treat served up at Longhorn Steakhouse, 1604 and I-10 near Fiesta Texas.

7 comments:

Maureen said...

A couple of weekends ago, we found ourselves in Austin on a Sunday morning and ate at the Magnolia Cafe. It's a popular, busy place and we were seated at the very first booth by the hostess station. The waiting area got really crowded and a couple decided they were going to wedge themselves between the hostess counter and the edge of our booth. Luckily I didn't have to go all crazy white girl on them, because the hostess promptly said "Excuse me, they're eating, can you please go back to the waiting area?" I was very appreciative.

The only place I've ever been comfortable with people plopping down at my table is at a crowded airport....everyone is on a time crunch and there is usually never enough seating in those places. Other than that, please don't be all up in my business.

Michelle said...

That would tick me off if people sat at my table like that. I would never do that to other people. I would probably make my husband complain to the host/hostess.

Dave said...

I would probably make my husband complain to the host/hostess.

Yea, I'd have to complain to the host/hostess before my wife took matters into her own hands!

frankvw said...

Sitting at someone's table like that is very rude. Even in Europe they would ask. And you know that if that happened to them they would be the first to complain about it. I hate hypocrites and people that think they are better, or more deserving, than everyone else.

Deep Fores said...

Y'all are too nice...things would have been flyin' if that were my table. How rude !!!! They would have been told to go somewhere else in the restaurant.

Rich said...

We were at PCB Hofbrau in Dec and not a bit surprised at the setup, as you would likely expect. Your recent experience however is a different story. I would be none too pleased.

On a somewhat related side note, we were seated with another couple at Royer's Cafe in Round Top. We were a bit surprised, but quickly found out that's the way it works there. A lot of business and they fill every seat however it takes. If you've not been to Royer's, you MUST.....MUST I SAY. Just avoid the spring and fall antique weekends though or you'll never get in. In fact, if you're not pleased I'll reimburse your gas expense. Well, maybe not. But you'll be pleased. Plus it's a nice drive and plenty of photo opportunities along the way and of course inside the cafe. P.S.- they take cash only at Royer's.

http://www.royersroundtopcafe.com/

Dave said...

@DF Just to be clear, nobody came and sat at our table - we watched it happen to someone else.

@Rich I seem to recall that Royers place on the Texas Country Reporter. Sounds worth the drive once the weather gets better.

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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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