Ladies and Gentlemen, Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day is upon us. Today is the one day you can indulge without guilt, as it is clearly a national holiday that should be celebrated. Because America.
Here in town, there's the standard Black Eyed Pea version; Bone Daddy's slutty version; Matt's, which has multiple kinds of CFS with different toppings depending on how fat-venturous you are feeling; and Mecca's is the one everyone tells you to get "next time" when you leave there unimpressed.
All Good Cafe's, Ozona's and "my grandma's" are some of our Facebook fans' favorites. But I thought you might be curious as to where your friends at City of Ate (and some friends of City of Ate) get their CFS on. So here they are, all tenderized, dredged, deep-fried and slathered with gravy for you:
Sara Blankenship: "Babe's is pretty fat-tastic. They don't have a menu, so ordering it requires zero decision making. Not only is it the size of an iPad, but it comes with never ending mashed potatoes and homemade biscuits, chicken fried steak's two best friends. Those three, they're always shopping for elastic pants together. Which happens to be an integral part of the dress code at Babe's."
Lauren Drewes Daniels: "Tillman's in Oak Cliff. Their CFS is pretty good. And here's a Road Trip CFS: Mary's in Strawn (west of Fort Worth) is supposed to have the best CFS ever in the galaxy."
Catherine Downes: "Lucky's on Oak Lawn! They have a totally delicious thing called the Truckers Breakfast. It's chicken fried steak served with eggs. And Prairie House, up near Denton."
Jesse Hughey: "Norma's chicken-fried steak plate is the ideal comfort-food dinner. It's not a really nice cut you'd get at an upscale place like Tillman's, but it's not tough and chewy and it's not soft like processed school cafeteria CFS. It's cheap and comes with not two but three sides so you can fool yourself into thinking you're offsetting it with something healthy like grease-soaked green beans or buttery carrots -- or just have an enormous plate covered with various shades of beige. They have, on special occasion, covered it with chili that was even better than their gravy, which it pains me to say isn't the greatest gravy on earth. If they're not doing that for CFS day, they should."
Nick Rallo: "Babe's. You can't beat Sam Sifton's words."
Alice Laussade: "Sorry, I'm not a big CFS orderer, ever since the events of Bee Gee's in 2008."
Gavin Cleaver: "I guess, I can safely say that Texas Land & Cattle's chicken fried steak was better than anything any of the other guys are proposing, even though I only bought it because I was too cheap for a proper steak. I only go to TX L&C for the delicious, warm, fresh bread they serve before the appetizers. That is shit-your-britches delicious. Although, once, when we went as family, all of our steaks were so delicious we each took a bite of our steaks and then just held each other for several minutes. Steaks in Britain aren't very good."
foodbitch: "Company Cafe has managed to create a plate where steak is chicken-fried, topped with jalapeño gravy and surrounded by a decadent sweet potato mash and crisp green beans. And about two-thirds of the way through, you remember that it's gluten free. You consider sarcastically asking for a side of gluten. You can't. Because you can't stop eating the thing."
Yeah, I just quoted myself. What!
Next: friends of City of Ate let us know their picks. Roshi Muns (of Society Bakery): "Call me crazy, but I've never been a fan of chicken fried steak. I prefer chicken fried chicken. If Bubba's made chicken fried steak, I'm sure that'd be the best one."
Tarin & Jess (of fullosophie): "We love The Common Table's Chicken Fried Steak because they recommend beer and wine to accompany it. CFS + a perfectly paired beverage = must try."
Kristen Leonard (of Rockstar Bakeshop): "I'd have to go with the CFS at Company Café. In my twisted mind, grass-fed beef, gluten free and jalepeño gravy means healthy, never mind the fact that it's still fried...but don't tell my stomach that because all it knows is that it's delicious."
Daniel Vaughn (of Full Custom Gospel BBQ): "I love the chicken fried steak at All Good Cafe, but I eat so much beef that is smoked I don't indulge on the fried variety very often. I like the crispy crust, and always get the gravy on the side. I'm a dipper."
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Jose Ralat (of The Taco Trail): "I've never had chicken fried steak. Shh. I was actually going to have lunch at Norma's in Oak Cliff tomorrow and eat one for the first time."
Jay Jerrier (of Cane Rosso): "When we first moved here in 1997 it was The Black Eyed Pea or Celebration...basically anyplace that had jalapeño cream gravy."
There you have it. Thanks to Chicken Fried Steak Day, you now have an excuse to eat your chicken fried heart out. And thanks to me, you now have NO excuse to eat anything less than one of the best Chicken Fried Steaks in town. You're welcome, Dallas.