Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published December 16th 2018
Bucking Awesome Beef and Biddy
To the average Australian the word 'Texas' means beef, oil, big hats and John Wayne* - not necessarily in that order. But it's far more of course, much as Australia is more than prawns, opals, flies and Crocodile Dundee. But from the outside, another continent, that's how it seems.
I-Tally-Ann Style Parmi Schnitzel (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
The popular Australian view of Texas has been seized upon for the chain of franchise restaurants the Lone Star Rib Houses, which has now opened in Midland in what has become restaurant strip - Dome, The Principal, Crust, Hog's Breath, Chatters, Katsu Japanese, Grill'd, Mad Mex, Lone Star and San Churro all cheek by jowl in Cale Street between Railway and Great Eastern.
Lone Star is newly opened and as I quite like a bit of meat, grilled, I was keen to try it and we dined, en famile, on a Wednesday evening. Rather naughtily, we didn't book and were quite lucky to get a table as the place is jumping.
Seeing the place is called a 'Rib House', as one might expect, they specialise in ribs - beef and pork all served with chips, sweet or baked potato and homemade coleslaw. (Mostly $35.95, although the "Gorgin' Grunters 'Massive Pork' Ribs" are $48.95 for what I expect, given the generosity of the portions, would be a truly huge serve.)
The menu is a work of art in its design and in the complexity and range of the dishes, all described in what I can only call fanciful language.
Chicken, for example, is called 'Biddy' and there is a variety on offer under the title 'Biddy Vittles' - including the 'I-Tally-Ann Style Parmi Schnitzel' ($22.95) which was Angela's selection of main course. This was (as in every case) a substantial portion of beautifully tender breast of chicken with the traditional Napoli sauce and cheeses with the addition of some crispy bacon. Delicious.
Lone Star Rib house, Midland (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
We began with an entrée of 'Loco Cheesy Land-Trout (Bacon) Garlic Bread ($9.50) for a delicious, crisp, garlicy loaf sprinkled with bacon, which I shall henceforth call 'Land-trout', plus a paper-towel roll holder full of the most delectable battered onion rings made from real rings of onion rather than extruded oinion paste, and you can really taste the difference.
At $16.95 it represents excellent value for money, as it fed four of us comfortably. it comes with a small tub of aioli as well.
For myself, I chose, after considerable debate with myself, '"Homer's" All AmericanPork Chops ($29.95)
Two of them, grilled and basted in a Bourbon glaze and served with either some nice thick chips or a baked potato and sour cream and the home-made coleslaw.
Pork can be iffy, and if cooked incorrectly, can be dry - these were perfection, succulent and tasty and the baked potato just amazingly good.
Jess, who's on something of a health kick at the moment, ordered a salad - a Beef Salad (21.95) with big chunks of medium-rare beef steak, seasonal greenery and crisp noodles dressed with a light, but tasty, coriander, lime and ginger sauce.
'Loco Cheesy Land-Trout (Bacon) Garlic bread (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
James' choice of steak (never in doubt) was the 'Rodeo Rider Rump' ($25.95) exactly cooked as required, medium-rare with umami grilled onto the outside and pink perfection inside.
Served with a baked potato and mushroom sauce ($2.50) it was as good a steak as he's eaten in a long while.
We should not, by rights, have had room for dessert, but tossing caution to the winds we ordered Cheesecake of the day (Chocolate) with whipped cream and ice cream ($12.95) and Brownie Blast ($14.95) of chunks of homemade Brownie with vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate fudge, whipped cream served in a half-pint mug as a sundae topped with a Maraschino cherry.
They were wise choices, even with the contrasting charms of the Choc-A-Holic's Triple Chocolate Mud Cake ($9) of incredibly rich moist traditional chocolate Mud cake, finished with creamy chocolate ganache topped with dark chocolate flakes.
In fact, there were a number of options that we could have considered at all aspects - I haven't even touched on the wide range of burgers, chicken and hot dogs - including the challenging Dallas Double Dog Dare (Could you? Would you? Should you?) A two foot long roll loaded with hotdogs chilli con carne, chips, onions, bacon, eggs and cheese!
The challenge is to eat it within twenty minutes or fewer and earn your place on the Wall of Fame plus a voucher for your next visit.
There's a range of seafood, too (called 'Underwater Beef") of pan-fried fish, Atlantic Salmon and the "'George DubYa' Bush Pepper Sqeeyid ($22.95) - or in English Calamari and garlic aioli (which is actually tautology since aioli is garlic mayonnaise) - and it sounds heavenly and I shall definitely try it next time.
Triple Choc dessert (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)