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Late Nite Adobo

Typing out thoughts on a website… when the cravings hit you in the late nite…

by Tondagossa


I-40 – Amarillo, TX

I heard tell of an old legend.  Come from Texas they say.  Past the tumbleweeds and dusty roads, beckoning whispers of “free 72 ounce steak dinners”.  I was headed that way, going Eastward on a long journey.  “Old Route 66″ they call it – I-40.  So I decided to stop in and check out the one they call… The Big Texan Steak Ranch, down in Amarillo, TX.

As I approached the behemoth of a restaurant, the excitement built up.  Yes, my first real Texas-style steak!  I was road-weary and starving, ever-ready for a huge chunk of flavorful beef.  But what really added to my excitement was the restaurant itself, known far and wide for its “Free 72 oz. Steak Dinner… if finished within 1 hour”.  You may have seen The Big Texan on TV by now for that very reason.  Sorry my friends, I did not make a fool of myself like I wanted to and step up to that challenge.  However, I did take in some of what they had to offer we mere mortals.

There were so many different steaks to choose from, so little time and such a small space to cram it all in.  This was, afterall, a place that specializes in steaks.  However, they actually have a bit of variety in their menu apart from the parade of cattle, more than I expected.

Many eye-catching appetizers are worth noting, though I haven’t had the fortune of trying them.  They span from standard fare, such as smoked spare ribs and fried jalepenos to the more exotic, such as fried rattlesnake and buffalo quesadillas.  As far as main courses go, it’s great to see that things like chicken fried steak and pork spare ribs are an option on the menu alongside catfish, shrimp and salmon dishes.  Also, they offer something for you in the morning if you’re up for a nice hearty breakfast.

While waiting for my order, I used the time to take in all the ambiance… and this place has got it in spades!  People realize quickly upon entering that this ain’t your ordinary steak joint.  Waiters and waitresses are dressed in outfits straight out of another time – a time when people didn’t worry about gas prices, pollution and economic downfall.  Nope.  Walking into this restaurant, you leave all that behind and step into a spaghetti western… but with less violence and all the fun.  The people greet you with a big friendly “howdy”, completely in character.  The decor is over-the-top with heads of elk and deer lining the walls.  A quartet goes from table to table singing old country songs.  I admit, I didn’t think I would like all that stuff at first.  But somehow you just get immersed and it ends up being completely fun.

By the time the steak finally arrived, I think the experience had already paid for itself.  This was really something I was going to remember for quite some time.  All told, the steak was delicious – cooked to perfection as expected.  It was juicy and flavorful, nothing added or taken away that I could detect.  Just great meat cooked wonderfully.  I ordered the 20 oz. T-bone since that’s a popular cut down in Texas.  And you know how the saying goes,… “When in Rome…”.  The okra and mashed potatoes didn’t disappoint either, though they played second fiddle to the steak, as they should.  The only thing that could’ve made this experience any better would be defeating that one-hour clock and finishing that 72 oz. steak.  But alas, that’s reserved for my half-crazed dreams and men or women of iron wills and stomachs.

Have any of you out there been to The Big Texan Steak Ranch?  Feel free to share experiences you’ve had at that “wild wild steak eatery”.


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