Longhorn Cafe – good food and great value

28 12 2007

Fried mushroomsThe Longhorn Cafe is one of those places you go to for value. Not the fast-food kind of value, though. The Longhorn has two locations in San Antonio and they are as far away from fast-food fare as can be. Be prepared to get full and not spend a lot of money, but expect there to be a lot of people depending on the time of day. This is the place my family goes when we don’t have a lot of time, but want to get some good food and save some dough.

The burgers at Longhorn arepretty good, and well worth it for the money. The meat is seasoned well and it comes on a tasty bun with fresh, crisp veggies. I usually prefer the tater tots over the fries, though. The Chicken Fried Steak is pretty good as well. Now, there are a lot of places that claim to have the best around. The Longhorn makes no such claims, but is arguably one of the better ones in town. The meat tastes good, the batter is flaky and actually sticks to the meat, and the cream gravy is thick and peppery.

When I go here, however, I normally stick to an array of appetizers. The Fried Mushrooms are humongous. In fact, this is the only place I’ve ordered shrooms at where people don’t fight for the last one. Quite the opposite is true since you get so full that you’re asking who wants to take them home. The shroom is very juicy and the batter sticks to it quite well. You can’t go wrong here if you like the fungus.

The Fried Pickles are interesting as well. The batter turns out real crispy and the tanginess of the pickle complements the ranch dressing it is served with. The Chips and Queso are one of our favorites. The cheese has a good, thick consistency with a nice cheddar taste. The chips are normally thick and freshly fried, although we seem to have gotten served thin, unfried chips the last time we ordered this.

A very satisfying appetizer that could very well be a meal is the Chicken Strips, or the Buffalo Strips. Both items use the same gigantic chicken tenders battered and fried. The first comes with a side of cream gravy and the second is coated with a mildly spicy buffalo sauce and served with ranch. My son orders the Chicken every time as his meal and leaves pretty satisfied (he eats a lot, you know?). The buffalo sauce does have a little kick to it and has a good vinegary flavor, similar to Tabasco.

The restaurant serves beer and wine and the food normally comes out quickly. You order in line and pick up when your name is called, so its a pretty casual place. My warning is to be careful not to eat with your eyes. We have made this mistake a number of times and have come home with extra food, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The other night I ordered several items for take-out (for two adults and three young kids). I took home a burger, an order of shrooms, two chicken strip baskets and an order of tater tots. I only spent $19 and still had two shrooms left over. So, if you get a chance, take advantage of the Longhorn’s main attractions – its value and good food.

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