Saturday, December 27, 2008

Restaurant Report: Texas Land & Cattle Steak House

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -- My wife Diane and I are currently in the hometown of the Alamo working on a number of projects, including an upcoming travel guide. As usual, have taken the opportunity to experience some of the local cuisine.

Tonight we had dinner at the Texas Land & Cattle Steak House on the downtown River Walk (201 N. Saint Marys St.). All sorts of non-local restaurant chains have appeared on the River Walk since the last time we were in San Antonio and we wanted to eat somewhere that we could not just as easily find everywhere else. Diane had also eaten at this restaurant some years before while in town on business and had a positive experience there, so we deemed it a good bet.

Most importantly, we had an excellent dinner. Diane had an 8-ounce smoked sirloin with a side of garlic mashed potatoes, a house salad, and a glass of pinot noir. I had a 12-ounce ribeye with bleu cheese crumbles, steamed spinach, a caesar salad, and a glass of pinot noir followed by a glass of cabernet sauvignon (the latter, drier wine being much nicer with my steak than the former). The meat was excellent and perfectly cooked, just as we had ordered it, and the sides were great as well. And the staff were all very friendly and responsive and the service was timely.

There were, however, a handful of downsides to our visit, all of which seemed to be rooted in a general state of disorganization. One was that our table was kind of grungy, with a few crumbs and some grease, and we had to finish wiping it off ourselves after being seated. Another is that there were no bleu cheese crumbles on my steak when it arrived (but some was brought out within a few minutes and it did not end up on the check). Yet another was that no bread was brought to our table or offered to us, something that we did not notice until we were leaving the restaurant and noticed it on other tables. We had the impression that the staff was spread a little thin, that they were doing the best they could, and that almost everything was coming together alright but that a few things were slipping through the cracks.

These are all relatively minor points, of course, and certainly might be unrepresentative of a restaurant that serves such fine food. We will follow up with additional information as we are able to obtain it!

Note: This and other restaurant reports from our current trip will initially be brief, as they are being posted from the field. They will be updated as appropriate, especially before inclusion in any sort of print guide or posting to other travel-related sites.

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