Nearly every chicken-fried steak I've been served in Dallas has committed a single, fatal sin. Nothing is more upsetting than plunging your fork and knife into the crunchy exterior of a breaded and fried steak only to have the coating slough off in a sheet.
Sure, you can attempt reconstruction while you eat by sawing off pieces of beef and impaling them with your fork before scooping up a little of the breading, but it's not the same. And if you're going to spend the cholesterol and calories points on deep-fried meat, the kitchen really ought to get it right.
It was the chicken-fried steak that pulled me in at Ellen's Southern Kitchen. Not only did the majority of the breading stay put, but it had an intensely crunchy texture that stood up to a thick slathering of pepper gravy, and it tasted delicious too.
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It's very rare that you'll find me scooping up fatty breading soaking in gravy with a fork, but while sitting at the bar at Ellen's I did just that with all the tiny bits that broke off because the exterior was so crisp. I did it till my plate was nearly clean.