Steakhouse on a county road outside Bastrop....
Thanks to the 'hounds of the hinterlands I made my way in great haste to Murphy's Steakhouse last night in bustling,downtown Winchester[pop.50].It's about an hour outside Austin and just due east of Smithville.
Driving down a gravel road and then cutting up a worn path by a tumbledown shed Murphys all of a sudden comes into view.It's in a century old mercantile building with 20 foot ceilings and all manners of old metal farming equipment signs adorning the walls.
The towns postoffice takes up one corner of the large room.We're fresh off the road from Mt Pilot and about to hunker down in Mayberry,I exult to myself.
Good folks in tractor hats and cowboy gear make up the bulk of the clientele...all of whom have enormous steaks on big platters staring up at em...staring up at me too as I am famished and really relish the prospect of tucking into a nice fatty ribeye.
The menu is STEAK STEAK and more STEAK.Which is a fine way to run a business.If you're down with Protein 2000 or some other silliness you best stay away.
This is redmeat country.
I go for a 12 oz Ribeye,medium rare with French Fries and a trip to the salad bar.My companion opts for a small Chicken Fried Steak with the same sides.
We need sustenance quick so we also order a small Onion Rings appetizer.
While the salad bar is not a garden of earthly delights all the vegetables are fresh and easy on the eyes.No tired old haggard items are on display.
The torn iceberg is crisp and cool and the purple onions good and fresh.
I'm ranched out so inspite of it being the lone homemeade dressing I go for the Bleu Cheese.
I love good bleu cheese and HAVE to have it with my Ribeyes but this one was not delicious.The Ranch was a couple steps above.
You get a complementary bouillion bowl of cooked down Pintos with any dinner entree and they are dynamite.Intensely delicious and packed with deep,Porky succulence.I suspected the provenance of these beauties was the Deep South and had my suspicions confirmed when the owner,a charming lady hustling all over the room,informed me that she hails from Tennessee.One of the peaks of Tennessee eating is Soup Beans and Cornbread.
This woman has not forgotten her roots.Stellar.
The Onion Rings arrive and are summarily devoured.Lightly battered and thinly sliced.These are a careful take on the classic.The small gets you 10 or so nice sized rings.I can't imagine what the large looks like.
The Ribeye carries me back to Bandera and the Old Spanish Trail.It's closer to rare than med rare and that is fine.Good,good flavor of steer,slightly chewy but in a good way.
The[small]CFS is in fact huge.And very good.Better than any I've had in Austin.Crispy fried,good beef and the crust has knowledge of both Black Pepper and Salt.The side of cream gravy is smooth and rich.
The French Fries are not good.
Cold and lifeless.
It's one of the few dishes I'll actually send back in any given restaurant and tonight I'm not letting the fryer guy off the hook.It's just not that hard to sell fries hot out of the hopper.New ones arrive and they are fine.Commercial grade but benefitting from a ride through some hot fat and hit with salt.A small commercial grade roll comes with the entrees.It is not notable.
Murphy's,like the OST is a lifeblood style joint.It provides the community with good food,reasonable prices and a place to gather,drink some ice cold draft beer and tear down a big plate of glorious red meat.
Make Murphys a Saturday night destination restaurant.They'll sell you a bottle of delicious Gruet[New Mexico "Champagne"]for about 30 bucks.Settle in under the fluorescent lights and have a country feast with your wine.You'll be well served and leave with a mountain of leftovers for the next day's lunch.I'm planning my next visit.
Thanks for following up with a report, scrumptious. That CFS sounds delicious. When I Googled Murphy's hours (Tuesday-Saturday from 10 A.M. to 9:30 P.M.), I found this link to their website:
I'm going to try to check this place out in the next couple of weeks.
It's probably Mimi G's Steak House on 1441. If that's it, it's OK. I'm not sure if it would be worth the drive from Austin. If you're in Bastrop, it's worth a try. Be ready for the salad bar, hand breaded CFS and catfish. I'm not sure about the steaks. I just haven't had one.