Just a few weeks back we celebrated Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day and had a great week gnawing our way through the vast amounts of fried meat the city has to offer. This weekend we were flying down I20 out west and had Mary’s Café on our radar. If you recall, Mary’s made our jumbo list of favorites even though it is nearly 90 minutes outside of Dallas.
We pulled in curbside 30 minutes before Mary opens her doors, but were invited in none the less. Our waitress was busy making her tables ready and offered up a tall glass of iced tea she had just brewed and that took some of the road dust off our palates as we stared down the menu.
We were told when we pulled up in the parking lot that Mary went ahead and put a chicken fried steak in the frying pan. She’s special that way. Although the menu is quite extensive, for the most part that is what most folks order. The steaks come in three sizes, all bodacious. The small order could effectively feed a couple; the medium could satisfy a small family. None of us has actually eye-balled a large order, but can only imagine it is a haunch of beef.
Until recently the only choice you had as a side was a baked potato and fries. The fries are a massive pile of home cut potatoes, and the baker is equally massive as are most things at Mary’s. She now offers a side of mashed potatoes with the meal, along with a small dinner salad.
The wait for the meal wasn’t long. Remember, Mary anticipated our order.
The CFS was as tender and delicious as we remembered. This is not the heavily battered beef plate served most places. Mary gives the steak a dusting of flour, but that is where the similarities to most chicken fried steaks end. These babies are pan fried, whereas most are deep fried. The difference is more beefy flavor and also means the steak has to stand up on its own and can’t be camouflaged behind a thick crust.
Although there was little to no room left after our CFS, our waitress mentioned pie. We refused. Then we waited to be asked again, because it is rude to refuse a second offer of pie.
For those with jumbo appetites, Mary offers an all-you-can eat CFS on Monday nights after 6pm.Mary’s Cafe 119 Grant Avenue Strawn, TX