Some good home cooking from a laid back joint is just what you need sometimes. Nothing fancy. No white table clothes. No pretentious foodies barking about cooking sous vide or using molecular gastronomy (though I am a fan of those things). Nah. More like come on in darlin', sit in a booth, and eat some Texas-sized deliciousness out of a deep fryer!
My buddy Chad and I recently ate at the Live Oak Grill in Sugar Land, TX. A lot of Sugar Land is overrun with massive suburbanization and the streets are lined with retail dining chains. I remember growing up there and thinking that a lunch at TGIFridays was a good meal. Oops. Fortunately if you know where to look, even the cookie-cutter Houston suburbs have some good finds. Live Oak Grill looks like it is in a house with a huge Texas flag painted on the roof. Okay, maybe that's not so cool. I mean, is that really necessary? Well, maybe. There's something interesting about Texas. No matter what, they make no mistake about boasting that they are, indeed, Texan. I feel a similar pride in Louisiana, but we haven't learned how to express it like they do in Texas. The lone star that is hangs from walls and car mirrors is special. It makes me vomit in my mouth sometimes, but it is special.
|Live Oak Grill in Sugar Land, TX|
While the beer selection didn't lean towards too much craft stuff, they did have some good regional and local brews out of Texas like Shiner and Saint Arnold. Can't argue with that. I started my meal with some huge, delicious onion rings. The massive Vidalias were cut thick, breaded, and fried... just like any good onion ring should be. And they were indeed very tasty. Soft, flavorful onion inside a crispy fried coating... yes!
Then came the main course: a gigantic chicken fried steak absolutely smothered in white gravy with a side of macaroni and cheese. The steak came out with a crunchy exterior and full of flavor on the inside. It had been pounded out and properly tenderized, that's for sure. The gravy was a bit excessive, but also contained enough pepper to make it a delicious accompaniment to the juicy fried steak. The mac and cheese lacked a little inspiration, but the basic noodles and cheese sauce still hit the spot.
For dessert, Ashley brought out a couple brownies with scoops of Blue Bell's homemade vanilla ice cream. I love a good chocolate-vanilla, hot-cold combination! Delicious!
All in all, Live Oak Grill is definitely the kind of place I enjoy dining at when I travel. It is authentic, local down home cooking. It is the kind of place with character and a soul. I like that. And I like a good chicken fried steak every now and then too!