Texas Land and Cattle Company

6007 N. I-35, 451-6555
1101 S. MoPac, 330-0030
Sun-Thu, 11am-10pm;
Fri-Sat, 11am-11pm

This friendly Dallas steakhouse chain is doing big business with the family clientele at its newest outlet on the east side of MoPac at the Rollingwood/Westlake exit. We ducked in here one rainy night and scooped up a tin pail of salted peanuts from the barrel near the door to nibble on while we waited in the boisterous bar. Much to our surprise, the floor in the waiting and bar area was covered with peanut shells; we quickly realized, however, that dropping shells on the floor is standard operating procedure here. The wait for a table was short, and we were soon seated in the noisy dining room, contemplating the dinner menu full of mesquite grilled steaks in various sizes, plus a list of Tex-Mex items, several grilled seafood options, and even some quail and chicken options.

For appetizers, we settled on a heaping bowl of TXLC Chili ($4.95) and a stack of Texas Onion Strings ($4.95). The chili was a hearty concoction of steak trimmings and seasoned beans topped with grated cheese and pico de gallo that came with several crisp, delicious slices of sourdough garlic croutons for dipping. Unfortunately, the thinly sliced onions suffered from not having been fried at a hot enough temperature to bind the spicy breading to them, leaving a somewhat greasy mess in the bowl. The component parts were tasty, but I'd like to try the dish again when it's fried correctly for the full effect.

All TXLC steak dinners come with a choice of salad, soup, and one side dish. The soups and salads come with more of the garlic sourdough croutons, and loaves of wonderful hot sourdough bread with butter are replenished at your request. Bread lovers can easily fill up on croutons and bread, so beware, because the steaks and sides are ample and worth the wait. Once the plates were on the table, our waitress encouraged us to sample the meat immediately to ensure that the steaks were cooked to our specifications. It was a nice touch which we appreciated, and the steaks were cooked just as we'd ordered them: perfectly medium rare. The Cowgirl Ribeye ($13.95) was a beautifully marbled, 10oz aged choice steak, juicy and tender, paired with a big baked potato. The Bacon-wrapped Filet ($14.95) was a meltingly tender 7oz center cut complemented by a flavorful side of garlic mashed potatoes. Out of curiosity, we ordered some Grilled Shrimp (four with any steak, $5.95) with one of the steaks and found them pretty unremarkable. Meat and potatoes seem to be the way to go here; they are straightforward, no frills but very satisfying.

For dessert, we chose the Jack Daniel's Pie ($3.75), a small casserole dish lined with a buttery graham-cracker crust loaded with chocolate chips, pecan pieces, and a molten filling heavily laced with the signature whiskey. The pie comes with a huge scoop of melting Blue Bell vanilla bean ice cream and was plenty of dessert for three people stuffed with bread, steak, and potatoes to share. All in all, our dinner experience was positive, with only a couple of minor missteps which were more than made up for by special touches such as great bread and friendly, efficient service. We'll go back. -- Virginia B. Wood

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