Dish No. 42: Chicken Fried Steak With Cream Gravy at Cowgirl Hall of Fame
Today's pick: Chicken Fried Steak With Cream Gravy ($18.50) at Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
Cowgirl Hall of Fame
519 Hudson Street
Chicken fried steak is the cornerstone of cowboy cuisine, and a staple of diners from Texarkana, Arkansas, to Mesa, Arizona, and beyond. It begins with a distinctly inferior cut of meat -- either the extensively pounded cutlet called a "minute steak" or something similar, but never anything made of ground meat -- and covers it in the kind of batter used in fried chicken, then fries the hell out of it in deep fat. Over the top gets poured a white, floury gravy sometimes called "red eye," and maybe containing coffee, though not always.
Cowgirl's chicken fried steak is exemplary in every way, and given the number of awful renditions we've suffered through -- the one once made with hamburger at Cottonwood Cafe comes to mind -- it's something of a culinary miracle. Underneath is a mound of mashed potatoes, which is the proper accompaniment. But you may want to leave the peas behind on the plate, or ask for a salad as a substitute. Nobody in their right might could eat that many peas.
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