Short Orders: Cowboy Chow

Cowboy Chow
2801 Commerce St.

One caveat before we get started: Playing on the flat screen during lunch on my most recent visit to Cowboy Chow was Sergio Leone's epic tale of greed and revenge in Europe's old west--and pretty much the greatest movie ever made--The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. So, for almost three hours, this popular Deep Ellum stop became the best restaurant in Dallas.

But Jason Boso's little establishment already owns a sizable reputation, what with positive write ups all over town and great word of mouth. It's not that Cowboy Chow out cooks other restaurants, really. It's that we all seem to love the place.

What does that mean, exactly?

Well, take the restaurant's brisket Sloppy Joe. The flavor profile is relatively mundane: a sweet, ketchupy tang and the huskier, almost acrid, taste of meat--that's pretty much it. But the kitchen captures the memory of that Sloppy Joe sauce almost precisely. In addition, they manage seasonings so well, the distance between stringy brisket and the oozing sauce could be measured in fractions.

The two seem to blend into one another. And that's quite a departure from old-fashioned, homemade ground beef versions.

In fact, the simple approach works best at this place. Fry bread, for example, is almost irrestible...even though it's just stretchy flatbread with two easy dips. Their potato chips receive very little assistance once pulled from the deep fryer. Just some time on the rack to settle down and the faintest hint of salt--not bad at all.

Oh, you can quibble about their okra and a few other things. But, it's such a laid-back, familiar, enjoyable place. The cooking is balanced, the dishes just clever enough, the kitchen's commitment obvious. And they clearly appreciate classic Spaghetti Westerns.

It's no surprise Cowboy Chow (along with Boso's Twisted Root, located nearby) is the culinary focus of Deep Ellum these days.