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Archive for Thursday, April 1, 1999

STEAKHOUSE SERVES TEXAS-SIZED FLAVOR

April 1, 1999

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BarbWire Steak House is a real crowd-pleaser when it comes to its menu and its colorful decor.

There is a reason that BarbWire Steak House usually has customers waiting to get in at suppertime -- the restaurant knows how to serve great-tasting meals with a big-as-Texas attitude.

BarbWire, 2412 Iowa, has a decidedly rustic look on the outside, and that theme carries over to the restaurant's interior.

Upon entering the first thing you notice is an old pickup body suspended overhead. And if that isn't bizarre enough, there's a deer head stuck in the driver's seat.

The restaurant is divided into several sections, and is chock-full of knickknacks reminding patrons that the place owes its allegiance to rural Texas. The walls and railings are knotty-pine wood planks, and the booth-dividers are a galvanized corrugated metal similar to that used in grain bins.

One diner was overheard to say that BarbWire is "as rustic as you can get. It's like eating in a barn."

By the way, she meant that as a compliment.

The interior is covered with old gas station and soda pop signs and country-and-western memorabilia. One wall is devoted to a cowboy boot display, while another shows off a mounted cowhide and a sign encouraging diners to "Remember the Alamo." And there really is barbed wire on the wall, though it's up high enough to not harm anyone.

When I looked up and saw a stuffed coyote staring back at me, I decided that Martha Stewart would run screaming out the door if she ever entered BarbWire.

Once we were seated we looked over our menus. We skipped over the appetizers, which include the usual variety of breaded and fried onions and mushrooms, because we knew that BarbWire serves pretty large portions.

From the menu I ordered the Sonora Chicken, which is a mesquite-flavored chicken breast slathered in butter. I selected mashed potatoes with white gravy and sauteed mushrooms for my side selections.

My wife ordered a rib-eye steak with the same sauteed mushrooms and a baked potato.

Other entree choices are shrimp, salmon, catfish, pork chops, chicken-fried steak and chicken-fried chicken, barbecue ribs, prime rib, hamburgers and steaks, including a KC Strip, T-bone, rib-eye and sirloin. The restaurant prepares dishes several ways; some items are served with a distinct mesquite or Cajun flare.

As we waited, soaking up the not-so-subtle ambiance, my wife amused herself by sampling the peanuts offered to us as a snack. BarbWire is big on putting bowls of peanuts everywhere and letting patrons throw the cracked shells on the floor. All over the floor, actually, so that there is a distinct crunchy sound when you walk.

I personally don't like this, but I know I'm in the minority. My wife seemed to be having great fun, amassing several spent shells on the table, and then flinging them away with a swipe of her hand.

I also noticed that despite the country theme, the sound system featured tunes by Sheryl Crow and the Goo-Goo Dolls. You'd expect Marty Robbins or the Sons of the Pioneers -- or at least Tim McGraw.

Our meals soon arrived and we found them delicious and filling. My chicken breast was very tender, and I'm a sucker for thick mashed potatoes smothered in white gravy. My wife also enjoyed her steak, which she said was perfectly cooked.

We shared a wonderful dessert called the Two-Timing Chocolate Cheesecake, and I was most impressed by its size. BarbWire actually served me a slice of cheesecake much larger than the wafer-thin slices most places give you.

Our server, Ember, was very friendly and did a wonderful job of taking care of us. Our tab was $35 with the tip.

The BarbWire Steak House is a lot of fun, and the staff knows how to serve a great-tasting meal. I'd recommend this place to anyone.

OK, that's not true. There is no way I'd ever tell Martha Stewart about the restaurant. That would be too cruel.

-- The Mag's phone message number is 832-7146. Send e-mail to jbiles@ljworld.com.



FOOD WITH TEXAS-SIZED TASTE

What: BarbWire Steak House.

When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Where: 2412 Iowa.

Serving steaks, shrimp, barbecue ribs, chicken, pork chops and hamburgers.

The restaurant also offers a variety of appetizers, salads, and desserts and a full bar selection.

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