Having spent the first 10 or so years of my life growing up in the west, Lone Star was always known to me as that funky looking house we drove past on the way to the shops. Not that I’d ever set foot in this Texas-inspired restaurant, but I can never forget its unique exterior. So when I realised there was another branch just 10 minutes away from work, I was keen to give it a go.
A quick online search tells me that Lone Star was actually once large chain with 180+ stores in the US, now dwindled down to 4. And although Lone Star has also closed many doors in Australia, it seems to be doing better, with some 8 branches in NSW- including the Blacktown branch that I remember clearly.
We’re at the Top Ryde branch today, not so eye catching from the outside due to its location in the shopping centre. But it doesn’t detract from the experience at all, and we’re loving the atmosphere, from the moment you step in and are taken to your seat. Not before the waitress makes a quick pit stop by the giant barrel of peanuts at the entrance, to scoop a bucket of peanuts to start on.
The peanuts make a great distraction to nibble on while waiting for food, not that it’s a long wait at all.
And whilst we’re eating with our hands we thought we’d go for the Chicken Wings which come in a range of sauces. We’re torn between the more exotic sounding coriander ginger and lime, or the more ordinary BBQ and thought we’d play it safe with the more popular BBQ. It’s not a bad choice, the sticky sweet sauce of the type that will leave you licking your fingers.
There’s no shortage of deep fried goodies, bacon and melted cheese in the entree menu. If you’re a fan of all the above, go for the Amarillo Cheese Fries. The fries aren’t as crispy as we had hoped but nothing a generous serve of melted cheese can’t save. You’ll want to dig in quick though, as cheese cools real quick in winter.
Hardened melted cheese just doesn’t have the same appeal.
If it’s just cheese and bacon you’re after, you’re better off getting the cheese and bacon topped garlic bread. The strong flavours of the bacon and cheese will mean the garlic doesn’t really shine through as much as in a regular garlic bread (also available on the menu, if that’s more your thing), but it also means there’s plenty of flavour. And who doesn’t love a soft and fluffy toasted bun to start a meal?
But it’s the quality meat that is Lone Star’s strength and meat lovers will be spoilt for choice with menu options from their signature Ribs, to steaks, chicken, burgers and hot dogs. There’s a full menu page dedicated to explaining where the meat is sourced from. For the beef, they’re chosen Riverine Beef (that’s from the Riverine Region, in NSW).
If you’re going for steak, the Toledo Tenderloin is our pick. It is a ‘petite cut’ and though it is indeed not a very large piece of steak, it’s quality over quantity. We ordered our medium rare,
and its thick, juicy, meaty and tasty. Everything we could want in a steak
If you’re more about quantity than quality, go for the Pork Ribs. We’re not too sure how big the ‘meaty’ pork ribs are but the ‘Massive’ Pork Ribs are true to its name- massive!
Let’s just you’ll be wanting to share this one….
But it’s not difficult at all, as the meat slides obligingly off the bone. It’s tender and the sticky barbecue sauce is deliciously moreish. But we can’t help noticing it’s missing a bit of the smokey char we’ve come to expect with ribs.
The side salad and baked sweet potato are tiny in comparison, but it does provide a much needed break from the enormity of the ribs. We’re not too fond of the cinnamon on the sweet potato, but the Coleslaw is nice and creamy.
The missing char from the pork ribs can however be found in the beef variety, which although are not as big of a serving as the pork, are still a sizeable portion. The beef ribs are a much thicker and meatier cut, giving a more satisfying chew, whilst still meltingly tender.
And because no one wants to finish a meal on a mouthful of meat, we take a stab at their dessert menu too. There’s a handful of classic desserts, nothing too flashy, but enough for a pleasant sweet finish to the meal.
The Triple Chocolate Mud cake looks like a slice of a slab cake, but it’s surprisingly decadent. Don’t be fooled by the rigid looking icing. Dig in and you’ll find a soft creamy ganache topping.
This month’s Cheesecake of the Month flavour is raspberry. We were hoping for something a little more exciting, but then again you can never go wrong with raspberry!