The late Jerry Flemmons, longtime travel editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, was not just an aficionado of Texas food, particularly chicken-fried steak. He was a crusader. He once wrote an essay featuring the late, lamented Massey’s in which he discussed the various abominations that masquerade as chicken-fried steak. He was scornful of gourmets who insisted the meat should sit on the gravy, not under it. He decried people who put ketchup on their chicken-fried. I wish I had the essay at hand, because Jerry spun it out at a masterful length. Clearly, he knew what chicken-fried steak should be—and he found it at Massey’s. When TCU Press published his book of essays, columns, whatever, Plowboys, Cowboys, and Slanted Pig, the author picture showed Jerry in front of Massey’s. And we held the launch party there, serving guests small bites of chicken fried (I once knew a man who said the word “steak” was redundant; he always ordered chicken fried—period, end of sentence).
I had fork-tender chicken-fried steak for dinner tonight. Fork-tender is an overused description of the dish, but this honestly was. I never once picked up my knife. The serving was so large a friend and I shared it, and I still brought home a good-sized portion. The meat was accompanied by terrific mashed potatoes—rich with butter and cream. As a side, we had roasted creamed corn and declined a second side—too much food.
But, ah, dessert. No name for this dish that I know of, but it was delicious. A flour tortilla, deep fried, crispy, and redolent with cinnamon. Topped by sautéed bananas in a sauce (butter?) and a scoop of vanilla ice cream dusted with cinnamon. I almost never eat desserts that are not chocolate, and I never eat ice cream, but I devoured my half of this, scraped the tiny bits off the dish
Where was all this? At Horseshoe Hill, a self-proclaimed cowboy cafeteria in the Stockyard District of North Fort Worth. The restaurant was established several years ago by Grady Spears, well known Fort Worth chef. It’s nicely touched with cowboy atmosphere, but not too much.
A good place to discover. A small restaurant, nice and quiet on a Wednesday night.