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[DFW] Chicken-fried Steak

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I'm familiar with a lot of the commonly recommended places for chicken-fried steak in Dallas (e.g., Celebration, Babe's, Mattito's, Mama's Daughters, Mecca, etc.). But I was wondering if anyone had any dark horse recommendations.

Any help would be appreciated.


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    1. re: buck

      That's actually where I had lunch today. Chicken-fried steak special with mashed potatoes and two rolls--$4.00.


        1. re: Scagnetti

          I've had better and I've had worse. Possibly a little more of the former than the latter.


      1. re: buck

        Where is Vern's?

        1. re: Shawn2

          Way at the end of Main St, past Deep Ellum. It is at the southeast corner of Main and Exposition. Try the chocolate cake.

      2. Scott - I think Matt Martinez is pretty proud of his version at the Lakewood store. And Reata used to do a good one when Grady was there, maybe still...

        1. Scott.........it's CHICKEN FRIED STEAK....stop looking for the best......all you are ever going to get is a cheap piece of ground beef dredged in flour and dropped in a fry-o-lator.It all depends on when the grease was changed at whatever location you are at and the amount of "secret spices" they add to make it special.........if you want to have a great chicken fried steak go to Del Frisco's or Bob's or III Forks, or Nick & Sam's or Pappas Bros., or Morton's or Smith & Wollensky's, or The Palm, or etc. etc. etc. and ask them to batter and deep fry their most expensive dry aged piece of beef for you (which will run you about $55.00 and enjoy.Oh and by the way...........you will be laughed at.Don't say I didn't warn you.

          3 Replies
          1. re: skruffy

            Dude you are so wrong. You should learn about chicken-fried steak.

            That said, I have never had one in a restaurant that is as good as homemade. If you want a reliable supply of really good chicken-fried steak than you have to learn how to cook it.

            1. re: john clark

              Chicken-Fried Steak – It is also known as Country-Fried Steak and affectionately called “CFS” by Texans. There is no chicken in Chicken-Fried Steak. It is tenderized round steak (a cheap and tough piece of beef) made like fried chicken with a milk gravy made from the drippings left in the pan. Although not official, the dish is considered the state dish of Texas. According to a Texas Restaurant Associate, it is estimated that 800,000 orders of Chicken-Fried Steak are served in Texas every day, not counting any prepared at home.

              Every city, town, and village in Texas takes prides in their CFS. Some, admittedly, are better than others. Texans have a unique way of rating restaurants that serve CFS. The restaurants are rated by the number of pickup trucks that is parked out in front. Never stop at a one pickup place, as the steak will have been frozen and factory breaded. A two and three pickup restaurant is not much better. A four and five pickup place is a must stop restaurants, as the CFS will be fresh and tender with good sopping gravy.

              1844-1850 - The origin of the Chicken-Fried Steak probably comes from the German people who settled in Texas from 1844 to 1850. As Wiener Schnitzel is a popular German dish that is made from veal, and because veal was never popular in Texas and beef was, the German immigrants probably adapted their popular dish to use the tougher cuts of beef available to them.

              1. re: skruffy

                As John said, "Dude you are so wrong."

          2. I'm picking up late on this thread but, if you want to cook it yourself, try Paul Prudhomme's recipe in his "Seasoned America" cookbook. He uses beef tenderloin!

            1. I see that Scott took it upon himself to look for a darkhorse. ( http://www.dallasfood.org/modules.php... ) Judging from these first five, I don't know if he (or his GI tract) is too happy he did. I'm pretty interested to see how this turns out. I don't have high hopes given that what's been recommended to me, eg, Hoover's in Austin, was no better than Chili's. Maybe worse. Hopefully you don't have to spend $20 to get a CFS that isn't frozen.

              I was surprised to see Peggy Sue's make the bottom five, although I thought the Q there was rather over-hyped (especially on eGullet by He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named).

              1. I have had good luck with the Milanesa at strip-mall Mexican places. There was one at Ferguson and Gus Thomasson, the name escapes me. On the northwest corner near a thrift store and a pizza buffet. They had cakes and catering, maybe La Michoacana?

                Anyway the Milanesa tasted like there was some bacon fat involved. It was real good, although not a classic TX CFS and nary a green bean or mashed potato in sight.

                Anyway across Gus Thomasson from that is Mi Tierra taqueria and that's pretty good too, and it's close to the Dairyette drive-in if you want to make a day of it. I think the hotrod crowd shows up at the Dairyette on Fridays in the summer. Great burgers, try the cherry chocolate soda.

                My joint might not be worth the trip if you aren't headed to White Rock Lake anyway, but I do reccommend trying the Milanesa at any decent strip-mall Mexican place. In fact a Milanesa taco can be a pretty great experience too if you see it at a taqueria.

                And as I said earlier, homemade is where it's at. The gravy is always brown when I make it from pan drippings, I do not know where the restaurants get this white cream gravy.

                I got my recipe from a guy who cooked for an officer during the Korean war, played poker for a living for quite a while, never owned a coat and always carried a nickel-plated hogleg Colt. Brown gravy, no front sight. Once I commented on the lack of a front sight and he said, "Son, pistols are for in the room."

                2 Replies
                1. re: john clark

                  Hey, John. Care to pass along the poker-player's recipe? Maybe you can post it on Home Cooking and link to it here?

                  1. re: Kirk

                    I don't have it handy but when I find it I will certainly post it. Could be a while, I don't think I've seen it between the last two moves.

                2. Off-location but on-topic, I have eaten CFS all over Texas and I've certainly missed 99% of the restaurants, but here are my top three: 1. The Lakehouse, Kerrville 2. The Classic Cafe, Seabrook and 3. Billie Jean's, Kerrville.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bigdietcheater

                    Is Kerrville the Lockhart of CFS or something?

                    1. re: extramsg

                      Could be, considering the pics of CFS from DFW, but mainly because I live nearby.

                  2. Do you have anything against venturing out all the way to downtown Plano? I like the CFS at Kelly's Eastside (within walking distance of the downtown Plano DART station). They give you a huge piece (and it's definitely not the frozen kind).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: donnaaries

                      I'll definitely have to check that out. Do they have the traditional sides, too?

                    2. Norma's in Oak Cliff has my vote, though I do love Vern's.

                      Another goodie -- South Dallas Cafe by Fair Park, for CFS with soul food spin.

                      Also try Kel's on Forest Ln by the tollway.

                      1. At Kelly's Eastside mashed potatoes comes standard with your CFS, and you have the choice of one additional vegetable (I usually go for green beans because that's what I always have with CFS, other friends go for mixed grilled veggies which are fresh and lightly seasoned).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: donnaaries

                          Yep and don't forgot that Kelly's has the option of spicy queso on the CFS with queso mashed potatoes. It's a heart attack on a plate, but quite good.

                          Now as for home made it's not difficult and in fact chicken fried pork loin is quite good or chicken fried ribeye, both are easy to do.

                          1. re: irodguy

                            Oh and as for best of, well I still say Babes come in the top couple. I have tried most of the others "great special..." and just have not found any that are any better, other than my own in DFW. I have had several better in the hill country, but that would be were they originated.

                        2. Here's an unlikely spot, but with very good CFS, imo. Prego Pasta House on Greenville, just north of University. They only serve it at lunch, M-F, along with traditional home cooking veggies, gravy, etc. It's actually a "veal cutlet," to quote mgmt...and is breaded in house! One of the main cooks used to work at Sammy's for years and years, so in other words, he's an older black male that knows his business. Very reasonable priced at $7.95 and it comes w/ two vegetables. Now, if you want to get really SERIOUS, 7 nights a week you can get the special CFS. It is NOT ON THE MENU, but all you have to do is ask for it, but plan on sharing, as it is a 14 oz NY strip steak that is butterflied, coated in flour, and fried. It only comes with fries and gravy ( i don't think the homestyle veggies are available at night), but is one of the best true chicken fried steaks to be found in these parts. BTW, this one will set you back $19.95, but since it is large enough to split, that's still reasonable. Save room for the home made cake though!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sirchompsalot

                            Try the chicken fried steak at Del Rancho in Allen. That's the best I've had in the Dallas area.