I don’t consider myself an expert on many things, certainly nothing that could be called terribly important or would improve humanity in any significant way. I have no special knowledge that will change people’s lives, and no marketable skills that have as yet added many zeroes to the end of my bank account, but one of the things I do know is the food of my native state.
My life has been a quest. Not a quest that would lead to fame of fortune, but a quest to find Texas’ best cuisine. In past posts I’ve covered some of my favorite places for Tex-Mex, and the very best barbecue to be found anywhere (The Salt-Lick), but today I’ll be talking about that most Texan of all foods, the chicken fried steak. While there are many establishments that produce a fine version of this Texas classic, the top of the list would have to be Mary’s Café in Strawn, Texas.
Like all quests, this one is not without it’s trials and tribulations, but going through them is the test one must pass to be deemed worthy. In the case of Mary’s, the trial involved is the drive, which, from most places, is considerable. Strawn is roughly 75 miles west of Fort Worth on I-20, so it’s not exactly around the corner, but trust me, it’s well worth the drive.
The chicken fried steak can be ordered in small, medium, or large, and comes with a serving of mashed potatoes the size of a small mountain, toast and a side salad. On our visit, my wife and I both ordered the medium, and we took home enough steak and potatoes to have an enormous lunch the next day. Truth be told, if we had ordered the small, we would have had plenty left for a proper lunch.
While most restaurants that boast a huge chicken fried steak provide more crust than steak, Mary’s steak is a perfect combination of breading and meat. It is fried to perfection with just the right amount of seasoning and would be wholly enjoyable by itself, but in Texas that would be near sacrilegious, so it is served with a large side of cream gravy that is pure perfection itself. The mashed potatoes are blended with sour cream, which I am not opposed to, but if I had one complaint, it would be that there was a touch too much sour cream in mine. That one small complaint aside, I will have to concur with all of those who put the chicken fried steak from Mary’s at the top of their list. For those who, for whatever reason, don’t care for chicken fried steak, there are plenty of other offerings on the menu, which I’m sure are equally delicious, but to me that would be like going to my favorite barbecue spot and ordering a salad.
Mary’s Café is located at: 119 Grant Ave. Strawn, Texas 76463
I started this post by stating that whatever expertise I might possess would not be capable of improving humanity or changing lives, but on second thought, a trip to Mary’s might just accomplish both. Now that you are suitably hungry and probably plugging Strawn into your phone for directions, I will sign off by thanking you for your loyal readership. Now, saddle up, get out there, and enjoy all that the great state of Texas has to offer.
©04/05/2018 Under the Lone Star LLC