Oftentimes if you try a restaurant right after it opens, you are disappointed with the result. This is generally due to the fact that the business has not yet worked out all of its “kinks.”
My daughter and I tried the “Texas Steakhouse and Saloon” on Mercury Boulevard in Hampton, Virginia, shortly after it opened and we hated virtually everything about it. The service was slow and rude. The food was expensive and seemed to be very limited in nature. To top it off, the food was horrendous. Consequently, I haven’t returned to the restaurant in about two years.
Recently, however, I received discount coupons to a new “Texas Steakhouse and Saloon” that was just built within a new Newport News shopping center off Jefferson Avenue. My husband and I decided to give this one a try. We are glad we did. The experience was much better.
Texas is the land of beef and, consequently, most of its restaurants know how to cook a good steak. Since the early days of the old west, cowboys and ranchers have been figuring out how to cook a hardy dinner over a open flame. “Texas Steakhouse and Saloon” carries on that tradition, using real mesquite wood chips in their grill to add just the right touch of true Texas flavor to each and every bite.
The visit didn’t start off well as there was no hostess to greet us when we walked in. In fact, we had to wait a while for someone to come to seat us. Even then, although the place was basically empty, it took him a few minutes to figure out where to put us. At this point I was ready for another disappointing visit. However, all that changed when our waitress arrived.
Our waitress greeted us with a Texas sized smile and more energy then I’ve seen in quite a while. She was training a new waiter whom, although a little shy, was certainly doing his best to make a good impression. She took our drink orders while we looked over the menu and was savvy enough to remain “busy” until she saw that we were ready to order.
We chose to split a 12-oz ribeye with baked potato and salad. Since neither my husband nor I are big eaters any longer, this is often our trend. Some restaurants get very upset over “split” meals but this one had no problem. We also ordered their Blossom Petals for an appetizer and two unsweetened ice teas.
The petals were phenomenal. They were light an airy, warm and delicious, and utterly scrumptious from first bite to last. We loved their special dipping sauce, which was not as spicy as many other similar sauces; making it a welcome change.
The salad was cold and crisp and even came with bacon bits on top. It was certainly large enough to split and we finished every single wonderful bite!
My husband and I were split on the ribeye. He loved it. I thought it was all right but I’ve certainly had many that were much better. I suspect the problem was the mesquite. I’m not terribly fond of mesquite but my husband likes it a lot. The steak was also a little thin and slightly overcooked, although it remained quite tender.
The potato was also not as done as I personally like it but my husband had no complaints so I suspect this is just a personal issue with me. It came with sufficient butter, which is unusual. We find that we usually have to ask for more in order to have enough. That wasn’t the case here.
The tea was perfect and our waiter and waitress kept our glasses full from beginning to end. It never got lower than about a half a glass before it was refilled.
We also decided to try the brownie sundae, which was unbelievably priced at just $1.99. It was perfection. The brownie was warm and chewy; the ice cream was cold enough that it didn’t melt too quickly; the Hershey’s syrup was warm and chocolaty.
Our servers took very good care of us, checking back from time to time and making certain that our every need was met.
We enjoyed the atmosphere, which definitely had a western theme with prints, and paintings with a distinctive Texas feel. There were wonderful wooden planks that accented warm mustard colored plaster walls. Wooden signs and logos added additional warmth and ambience. Wooden shelves adorned the walls as well with bottles and jars, lanterns, and books; everything meant to provide a warm, country feel.
The booths are large and feature western prints. Dark tables and chairs offer parties flexibility to establish a variety of setups.
Overall, this was a pleasant visit. I still prefer several other steakhouses to this one but I won’t hesitate to return there again.
Here is a cross section of the “Texas Steakhouse and Saloon” menu.
Starters – – ranging in price from about $5.99 to $7.99:
- Blossom Petals of large and succulent onion petals dipped and dusted with our signature onion breading, and fried to a golden crispness and served with a tangy blossom sauce for dipping;
- Sundown Spinach Dip with a combination of creamy spinach and four, count ’em, four types of cheeses to create the ultimate spinach dip served piping hot with crispy, seasoned corn tortilla chips;
- Texas Blazin’ Wings, six fried chicken wings, smothered in our own blazin’ sauce and served with a side of Ranch dressing and celery;
- Kickin’ Crab Dip done up Galveston style; made with real lump crab, cream cheese and Tex-Mex spices and served with toasted bread rounds;
- Campfire Cheese Fries with seasoned fries piled high then smothered with Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses topped with bacon and served with our Jalapeno Ranch dressing and/or Brownsville Chili;
- Con Queso, rich and creamy, blended with onions, garlic, green chilies, fresh sliced jalapenos and Tex-Mex spices and served with crispy, seasoned corn tortilla chips; and
- Saltgrass Steak Wraps with crisp romaine leaves stuffed with our tender mesquite-grilled filet tips, layered with crunchy blossom petals, fresh grape tomatoes and grated parmesan cheese and then drizzled with a spicy Jalapeño Ranch dressing.
Soup and Salad – – ranging in price from about $6.99 to $9.99:
- Black & Blue Sirloin Salad with slices of grilled Texas sirloin rubbed with our unique seven peppercorn seasoning served over a bed of mixed greens with grape tomatoes, crunchy garlic croutons, Blue cheese crumbles, crispy blossom petals, bacon bits and a choice of dressing;
- Fajita Salad with slices of grilled chicken breast or steak filet blended with lime, sautéed peppers and onions and Cheddar cheese on a bed of mixed greens garnished with grape tomatoes and fried tri-color tortilla strips and served with a special Tex-Mex or Texas BBQ Ranch dressing;
- Chicken House Salad with slices of marinated, flame-grilled chicken breast or hand-breaded, fried chicken tenders served over crisp mixed greens, topped with bacon, freshly grated Cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, red onions, a crunchy garlic croutons and a choice of dressing;
- Chicken Caesar Salad with slices of marinated, flame-grilled chicken breast or hand-breaded, fried chicken tenders served on a bed of romaine lettuce, tossed with creamy Caesar dressing, shredded Parmesan cheese and crunchy garlic croutons;
- West Texas Wedge Salad with a lettuce wedge of cool and crisp iceberg lettuce generously covered with smoky crumbled bacon, fresh dicedtomatoes and authentic Blue cheese crumbles and topped with a signature Jalapeño Ranch dressing for an extra kick;
- Brownsville Chili with tender cuts of beef, tomatoes, onions, green chilies and two kinds of beans for a chunky, spicy treat and topped with shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses and fresh, sliced jalapenos for added kick;
- Loaded Potato Soup made with big chunks of potatoes, real cream, bacon, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses and topped with sliced scallions, mixed cheeses and bacon; and
- French Onion Soup with slices of caramelized, sautéed onions and crunchy garlic croutons in a rich beef broth topped with melted Provolone cheese.
Burgers and Sandwiches – – ranging in price from $6.99 to $8.99:
- Bull of the Brazos, 12 oz. chopped steak served with sautéed mushrooms and onions then smothered in melted cheeses and served with au jus without a bun;
- Wild Whiskey Burger, a half-pound burger flame-grilled with Texas steak seasoning and basted in Bourbon sauce and served with bacon and crispy blossom petals topped with Cheddar cheese, tomato and lettuce;
- Honey Kissed Chicken Sandwich with a marinated flame-grilled chicken breast kissed with honey mustard and topped with bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato and lettuce;
- Texas BBQ Chicken Sandwich of marinated chicken breast flame-grilled and basted with our sweet and spicy BBQ sauce and topped with Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and crispy blossom petals; and
- Saloon Cheese Burger, a half-pound burger flame-grilled with Texas steak seasoning, served with a choice of cheese (Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, American, or Provolone) and a blend of mayo and A1 Steak sauce and topped with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pickles. Add bacon.
Note: Each burger and sandwich comes with a choice of sidekick.
Iron Skillets – – ranging in price from $10.99 to $12.99:
- Texas Skillet with beef filet tips, Gulf-spiced shrimp and marinated chicken tenders all in the same skillet;
- Beef Skillet with filet tips flame-grilled over an open flame the way you like it; and
- Chicken Skillet with marinated chicken tenders flame-grilled over an open flame.
Note: Skillets are served with sautéed mushrooms, red bliss potatoes, red and green peppers, onions, and grape tomatoes.
Steaks – – ranging in price from $10.99 to $22.99:
- Filet Mignon, the most tender cut of all, with a rich, buttery texture and flavor that is all the more enhanced by our special flame-grilling;
- Ribeye, perhaps the juiciest steak of all, extremely tender, filled with flavor and served sizzling hot;
- New York Strip, cut from the boneless strip loin and loaded with a hearty, honest beef flavor;
- Porterhouse, a combination of a meaty, flavorful New York Strip and a fork tender filet;
- Prime Rib, slow-roasted beef hand-rubbed with house seasonings and served with au jus;
- Texas Sirloin, a center cut piece of steak that is seasoned just right and placed over a fiery hot flame-grill;
- Marshal Dillon Ribeye, a flame-grilled, juicy ribeye that’s been marinating in spiced citrus juices for 72 hours;
- Galveston Grill, 7 oz. of sizzling, seasoned sirloin straight from the grill with a choice of a jumbo lump crab cake or garlic, grilled or coconut shrimp; and
- Denton County Double comes with a thick, juicy 10 oz. ribeye flame-grilled to perfection along side a 1/4 rack of, fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs.
Note: Each steak comes with the choice of a sidekick and a house or Caesar salad.
Gulf Coast Favorites – – ranging in price from about $13.99 to $17.99:
- Crab Cakes, two pan-sautéed crab cakes hand-made from jumbo lump crabmeat and served with Creole Chili Pepper Sauce;
- Mahi-Mahi, grilled or blackened. Full of flavor served with Lemon Herb Butter when grilled or Creole Chili Pepper Sauce when blackened;
- Texas Coconut Shrimp with jumbo shrimp, rolled in bread with coconut, fried to a golden brown, and served with a recipe of plum good sauce;
- Catfish, two Texas chili pepper sauce when blackened; and
- Chipotle Bourbon-Glazed Salmon with tender sock-eye salmon filet, expertly prepared with an authentic southwestern chipotle rub.
Note: Dinners come with a choice of sidekick.
Ribs and Chicken – – ranging in price from about $12.99 to $15.99:
- Our Famous Baby Back Ribs, slow cooked to lock in flavor and basted in our sweet and spicy sauce and served with cole slaw;
- Texas Chicken Tenders, fried to a golden brown and served with Honey Mustard and cole slaw;
- Hickory Cheezy Chicken, flame-grilled and topped with bacon, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses; and
- Taste of Texas, a sampling of Texas favorites including baby back ribs, coconut shrimp, and chicken tenders served with Honey Mustard and a special recipe plum good sauce.
Note: Dinners come with a choice of sidekick.
- broccoli florets,
- spicy breaded okra,
- red bliss potatoes,
- grilled veggie skewers,
- seasoned fries,
- baked potato with butter and/or sour cream, and
- sweet potato with cinnamon sugar and/or butter.
A lot of dinners are available for both lunch (at a slightly reduced cost with smaller portions) and dinner. Luncheon specials are also offered from time to time.
Beverages include water, tea, and soft drinks as well as beer, wine, and selected mixed drinks.
This is not a bad restaurant; not a great one, mind you, but not a bad one either. It might be worth a try in your area. To find out where the closest one is to you, check the website.