Howdy, y’all!! Welcome to another edition of Mastication Monologues. Today I bring you an entry that truly lives up to its culinary heritage and more. This week I went to Longhorn Steakhouse out in the Chicago suburbs located at 708 North Janes Avenue Bolingbrook, IL 60440.
I didn’t really have much of an opinion of this restaurant before visiting it due to the fact that the number of steakhouses we have in Chicago/the Chicagoland area is simply a reflection of our long-term infatuation with the perfect slice of meat. At one point, Chi-town was known more colorfully as the “Butcher for the World” where according to the Chicago Tribune, “At the (stock)yards’ peak in 1924, more than 18.6 million cattle, hogs and sheep passed through that labyrinth.” However, even though our abattoirs have long left the city limits, Longhorn Steakhouse is an homage to meat, Texas-style. Upon walking into the door, I felt like I walked into Rattlesnakes steakhouse on King of the Hill. There was plenty of country music pumping through the sound system and half a head of cattle festooning the walls alongside beautiful landscape oil paintings of Texas. While our waiter mumbled his way through a standard greeting, he supplied us with a complimentary bread basket. It seemed to be a wheat, possibly honey wheat, boule that was pre-sliced and served with butter. I wished they’d give us warmer butter than the cold sphere nestled in its black cup, but the hot bread melted it in a jiffy. For my main meal, I ordered the Parmesan crusted chicken which came with a side salad and a side.
The salad was pretty tasty especially since they had chipotle ranch. It added a great zing to a classic dressing, and the greens were a mix of lettuce, purple cabbage, kale, and peppers. I’m not a huge crouton fan, so I was somewhat annoyed with their prodigious numbers inhabiting the bowl. I think I already had my fill of bread with the aforementioned basket, thank you. Anyway, when my main course came out, I was definitely intimidated. The common phrase about Texas is that everything’s bigger, and this plate was no different. Instead of tucking into the chicken straight away, I decided to sample a bit of the mashed potatoes first. I’m surprised they weren’t rocking a questionable haircut and an Armani suit because they were richer than Donald Trump. The texture was creamy yet maintained some tasty chunks of potato, and butter cascaded down these gentle white slopes. As for the chicken, it made my heart race…for the wrong reason. From the very first mouthful, I could not get over the intensely rich Parmesan crust and cheese sauce which blotted out any trace of the chicken. However, the actual chicken was quite tender even though it tasted like I was gnawing on a block of cheese. If you have high cholesterol, avoid this dish, and if you don’t and really really love the taste of cheese, only then I’d recommend this meal. Next time, I’d probably just get a lean steak to avoid this fatty conundrum.
So if you’re looking for a small piece of stereotypical Texas, mosey on down to Longhorn Steakhouse. Happy Trails!