[SA] Good Time Charlie's
I saw an advert on (I think) late night TV...the plates looked so good, loaded with comfort food. But a first time visit brought TV beauty into real-world perspective.
I can't count how many times I've passed the Broadway/Mulberry intersection. I've known of GTCs since before I could legally drive, but, for one reason or another, never stopped in. So, last Thursday, I stopped in. Parking lot was crammed full, but I got a prime spot right at the front door. I walked into a packed house, about 1 o'clock, but no wait. Seated promptly. Iced tea delivered promptly. Looked over the menu....hmmmm, there's a lot of good sounding things on it. The "..best" chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beens really was what I was looking for: comfort food at its finest.
Two minutes after I ordered, my plate of comfort food was presented.
I knew I was in trouble. There's no possible way to deep fry a CFS in two minutes, much less have the waitress walk to the kitchen to place the order, and then return to my table with food in two minutes.
The presentation was comfortable: smallish plate, CFS smothered in a yellow gravy, naked mashed, green beans and a slice of Texas toast. Oh, how I wanted this to be good. Oh, how I prayed that this would be good. Alas, my hopes and prayers were not answered. What follows is the breakdown of an absolutely horrible meal.
CFS: Right there on the menu, labeled "Best." Of what I'm not sure, but it was d-r-y, with the CF portion not even adhered to the S portion. I don't discriminate on portion size, so what I got was perfect...maybe a four or five ounce portion of meat, not the insane, make-me-a-fatter-Texan portion that a lot of folks demand these days.
Gravy: Vile. Insipid. Foul. If you've seen the Lone Star beer billboards about treason, then you'll understand my adjectives. The gravy was yellow. It bore no resemblance to a cream gravy that I have ever tasted outside of a 1973 St Gerard elementary school cafeteria. It had a sweetness to it that reminded me of a perfect tea in Memphis. Thank God my mashed weren't covered in it.
Green Beans: Yes, the green beans were comforting, in that they reminded my why I don't eat canned vegetables. If these beans didn't come out of a can, then Satan must be working in the kitchen, cooking the life out of them. There wasn't a hint of onion, bacon or seasoning beyond can-juice. Pathetic.
Mashed: Probably the only thing on my plate not supplied, ready-made, by Cisco. Skins readily apparent in the dry-but-good potatoes. All I had to add was a dash of black pepper.
Texas Toast: Probably not Cisco brand. Probably not made in-house. It's hard to fuck it up, and they didn't.
Service: Spot on. Friendly. Tea refilled without asking. Check provided when asked for.
Bottom Line: The place was packed, and seems to have cars in the lot every time I drive by. It's been there forever. Is it me? I don't think so. I wasn't too happy with DeWese's Tip Top a couple years ago, but in retrospect, if I had to make a comparison, the Tip Top would be the Peter Lugar to the GTC as the fried bologna on day-old bread.
Thanks for the reminder of M&M G's. When I last lived in SA, I had a couple very good comfort food meals there. I do remember that the first time I went, they were out of greens, which made me return a few months later and a few hours earlier in the day.I will make a trip down to WW White next week.