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ronnie_suburban

TexAz Grill (Phoenix)

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Last year, while we were "spring breaking" in Phoenix, we stumbled upon this glorious place (which was very near our hotel) and had 2 fantastic meals. I never posted about it because after I returned home, I was convinced that I'd merely imagined how good it was. Even though I supped on delicious and properly-executed specialties like smoked prime rib, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with cream gravy, etc. I was still somewhat in disbelief.

Tonight, almost a year later, we returned to the scene. Turns out, I wasn't imagining it. The place is fantastic. It could be best described as a Texas Roadhouse replica but it doesn't feel like a replica. It feels like the real deal -- not surprising considering it's operated by transplanted Texans. It's dark and smoky with all sorts of Texas iconography plastered on the walls. There is, of course, a bar, several tables and a section of wooden booths in the "no smoking" section. Nearly the entire ceiling is adorned with ball caps of all varieties. Unlike the fakey stuff that one finds on the walls at various chain restaurants, this stuff just has a different feel; it's grungy and delightfully so.

There are several items served at TexAz that I consider to be the best renditions I've ever had. While I'm certainly no Texan, I spent quite a bit of time there back in the day and TexAz's CFS is as good as it gets. The huge portion is perfectly crispy on the outside, tender and flavorful on the inside. The cream gravy is mellow with a right-on-time peppery kick. The mashed potatoes served with it are also very satisfying. There is a sign on the building boasts that TexAz Grill has sold over 500,000 CFS's. This doesn't surprise me.

There is a warning on the menu that the smoked prime rib is only available until they run out of it each night. Last year, the first time we went there -- at around 6:30 pm -- they were already out of it. So, the next time we went at around 5:30 because I had to try it. To put it bluntly, their smoked prime rib is masterful. You could tell, by the uniformly-pink, medium-rare flesh that it was no accident. This was no amateur effort.

Tonight, after we were seated at the back booth, one of my all-time favorite C&W songs came thru the speakers; the title track from the LP Honky Tonk Heroes (Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver and Kris Kristofferson). In the next moment, a huge plate containing tonight's special was placed in front of me: BBQ brisket, spare ribs and a home-made sausage. For me, it was a nearly perfect moment. I was half-expecting Christy Brinkley to pop out of the kitchen next. :biggrin:

We stuffed ourselves -- and before I forget -- I should mention that even the little things are great at TexAz. Their oniony cole slaw is also among the best I've ever had. Their Texas Red (chili) is phenomenal. Their tender biscuits are the only ones I've ever enjoyed and . . . even their diet Pepsi is great -- and I'm a loyal "coke" guy. The service is terrific and very friendly.

As we were walking out tonight I told the hostess "most of my friends think that I make the best ribs they've ever had . . . and I don't plan on bringing them here." She laughed and we strolled out to the car with our leftovers.

TexAz Grill

6003 N. 16th Street

Phoenix, AZ 85016

602 248-7827

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I have to add my second to the above . I took my 90 yr old mother, my brother, his wife, their son and daughter in law, and my wife, on Rons advice. It is a Texas roadhouse for sure with the decor to prove it. It was the best chicken fried steak I have ever eaten and I have been sampling cfs for more than 40 years. The best part is we went for lunch and the cfs was only 6.00$ each. A real deal as they would say in Texas. Thnx for the tip. I intend to go back in June when I have to go back to help my mother for a few days.

colestove

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In 2004, while on our first family spring break in Phoenix, we were filling up the car when I looked up and -- across the street -- saw a sign outside a restaurant, touting their smoked prime rib. In every other way, the place looked dismissable but being something of a smoker nut, I was intrigued by the possibility that this divey-looking joint could offer such an item. 3 million people in Chicago, thousands of restaurants and I couldn't remember ever having encountered smoked prime rib anywhere other than my own backyard. Each day, on the way to the ballpark, we'd pass this place and I'd see that sign, reminding me that there might be something special here.

Finally, I gave in to what I knew all along -- I had to try this place out. We decided to grab a lunch there. Yes, we were still in Phoenix, but once inside the wood-clad space beyond those swinging doors, you would never have known it. We were in a true Texas roadhouse. There were ballcaps and all sorts of genuine TX iconography all over the walls. Willie Nelson's Luckenback, Tx played on the sound system and Shiner Bock was the brew of choice.

The place, The Texaz Grill, has since become one of our favorite spots in Phoenix, even though its food really has nothing to do with Phoenix. It was opened in 1985 by a couple of transplanted Texans as "Lone Star Steaks." A few years back, after being threatened with a trademark lawsuit by a big, KC-based restaurant chain with the same name, they changed their name to Texaz Grill. As their web site says:

We decided we'd rather keep on putting our money into great food and great service than blow it on a bunch of lawyers. So even though we were right and had a legitimate claim to use our old name, we sure didn't want to be confused with some slick, national chain with almost 100 restaurants.

That first visit for lunch was met with bad news and good news. The bad news was that the smoked prime rib, which is available only until it runs out each day, was not even offered at lunch. The good news was that the items we did try on that first visit were sensational. And really, the unavailability of the prime rib was, in actuality, more good news. The day's production wouldn't be ready until dinner and serving something leftover from the previous day was simply not going to happen here.

The only thing that's changed at Texaz in our years of eating there, is that it's now a cigarette-smoke-free facility (as is most every restaurant in Phoenix after Feb 2007, with a few exceptions). So, this year, when we threw those swinging doors open, we were not met with the familiar cloud of smoke we were used to. Instead, the savory and intoxicating aroma of chicken-fried steak filled the air, unencumbered. According to Texaz's web site, they've sold nearly 650,000 of their signature chicken-fried steaks since they opened.

Again the roadhouse-like space was full of happy-looking diners and some great Texas music was playing in the background. We took a booth and began negotiations on our order. My son drew the long straw and ordered the chicken-fried steak. My wife ordered the smothered pork chops. I ordered the smoked prime rib (larger 'Mulligan Cut'). Entrees come with either salad or slaw and we knew to order the slaw, as it is simply great. The cabbage is sliced extremely thin and sauced heavily in a creamy-tangy-sweet dressing that I'm guessing contains a fair amount of pickle juice. Fries are available as a side but we all chose the mashed potatoes and gravy.

The entrees at Texaz are, in a word, perfection. The Pork Chops - Southern Style are battered, fried and served piping hot. The peppery gravy served with them is a perfect accent for moist, tender, slightly-salted chops -- and the rich, lumpy mashed potatoes. The chicken-fried steak is even better. It's perfectly crispy on the outside, tender and juicy inside and well-seasoned throughout. Again the peppery gravy is a perfect complement to it. The slab of smoked prime rib is delivered to the table medium rare, as ordered. It's got a great amount of smoke (hickory and oak), it's just insanely delicious . . . as good as ever. The trimmed but still fatty cap is especially succulent but the eye is terrific too. There's a small paper cup of horseradish on my plate which I never even touch . . . there's no reason.

We shared our entrees and ate as much as we possibly could but not one of them was finished (that was ok because we had a fridge at the hotel room). Beverage-wise, I enjoyed a couple of ice-cold Shiner Bocks and my wife and son ordered bottomless soft drinks, served in gargantuan plastic cups, with Pepsi logos on them. As full as we all were, we needed something sweet to finish off the meal. We asked our waitress which of the 4 offered desserts she'd order, if she could only order one. Without hesitation she suggested the Peach Cobbler. We took her suggestion and asked her to make it a la mode. We clanked spoons a few times as the 3 of us tore into that delicious cobbler. Being that it was March, I'm guessing that it was made with canned peaches but I didn't confirm it and it mattered not. You got the sense while eating this cobbler that it could have very well come out of someone's grandma's personal kitchen. It was hot, delicious and a completely appropriate close to this fine meal.

If you're into this sort of food, I cannot recommend Texaz Grill highly enough. It is most definitely not indigenous Phoenix fare but it's exemplary for its genre and it's thoroughly enjoyable. It also happens to be a great value. Our meal, with a 20%+ tip was under $70. This food -- at this quality level -- is also something that, to my knowledge, is not so readily available at home in Chicago. For that reason alone, we always feels that it's worth a stop. That fact that it's truly excellent in its own right was a delightful surprise during our first visit and is something we've come to count on and look forward to, ever since.

=R=

The Texaz Grill

6003 N 16th St

Phoenix, AZ 85016

(602) 248-7827


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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In 2004, while on our first family spring break in Phoenix, we were filling up the car when I looked up and -- across the street -- saw a sign outside a restaurant, touting their smoked prime rib. In every other way, the place looked dismissable but being something of a smoker nut, I was intrigued by the possibility that this divey-looking joint could offer such an item. 3 million people in Chicago, thousands of restaurants and I couldn't remember ever having encountered smoked prime rib anywhere other than my own backyard. Each day, on the way to the ballpark, we'd pass this place and I'd see that sign, reminding me that there might be something special here.

That first visit for lunch was met with bad news and good news. The bad news was that the smoked prime rib, which is available only until it runs out each day, was not even offered at lunch. The good news was that the items we did try on that first visit were sensational. And really, the unavailability of the prime rib was, in actuality, more good news. The day's production wouldn't be ready until dinner and serving something leftover from the previous day was simply not going to happen here.

Instead, the savory and intoxicating aroma of chicken-fried steak filled the air, unencumbered. According to Texaz's web site, they've sold nearly 650,000 of their signature chicken-fried steaks since they opened.

RS,

Never have hit this spot but the smoked prime rib and chicken fried steak and I have a date sometime in the near future!

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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