Short Orders: Cadillac Ranch

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Cadillac Ranch
857 John Carpenter Fwy

Cadillac Ranch was a roller coaster ride when I reviewed the place sometime in...well, less than a year ago. My short term memory cuts in an out, even though I take plenty of herb-infused medicine for the problem.

Tastes medicinal, anyway.

I stopped by again last evening, in part for a college reunion (in preparation for tonight's game, when the mighty fightin' Leathernecks obliterate Sam Houston State) and in part to see how they're coming along.

The massive Texas/Southern/Cactus-themed shed has--in its short life--seemed a little, well, odd. The crowd reminds me of the golf-shirt desperados at Champps, until bands show up and it turns into a more countrified Cool River. But the kitchen sources much of their stock from local farms, putting in an effort to do things the old fashioned way.

For instance, they dip onion rings by hand rather than by ready made batches from Sysco.

Whatever they are doing to improve is paying off. The onion rings, for example, are large, crisp and full of enough bittersweet flavor you push dips aside. Their Kobe tacos contain sizeable hunks of cushy beef and a depth of Southwestern spice that swells without completely overwhelming the meat. And although they use (from the looks of it) a gas-fired oven, the flatbreads aren't at all bad.

Management tells me they've cut down on the salt in the fried chicken and a few other dishes. Their fried oysters never needed any help and still stand out.

Anyway, yesterday's visit suggests the kitchen is smoothing out the kinks quite well. The crowd, however...

Oh, well. Go WIU.

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