When I wrote about Goldsmith earlier, I said that there was only one restaurant left in town.
I lied. There are two. I can be forgiven, since there is no sign on the place indicating a business, and unless you happen to see the small neon glow in the only window, or wonder why there are a dozen pick-up trucks parked there at noon, you wouldn’t know.
The Olde Steakhouse is a place I used to eat at rather frequently, a couple decades ago when I had a long-term project near Goldsmith. The cooks were little old ladies who made their handful of specialties. One of them was the mother of the construction superintendent I worked with. Her name was Mrs. Taylor, she was in her 80s, and she worked a couple days a week making the pies. Each day of the week featured a special: Thursday you got enchiladas, Tex-Mex style, and Fridays were for fried catfish. As is typical with any rural restaurant in Texas, chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and cream gravy was a mainstay.
Another reason I didn’t recognize the place was that they had added on a new section, so even the interior was a bit different, although I finally realized the cook’s window was the same. Now, the menu is different, the décor was different, and they had added inside access to the restrooms. I ordered a cheeseburger, sans bun.
You can’t compare any hamburger to one where the patty is formed by hand. The irregular shape, with all the nooks and crannies, increases the surface area that can come into contact with the grill. To quote Harold McGee, maximizing browning, or Maillard reaction, increasing flavor. The burger was good, the fries so-so enough that I resisted the temptation. I enjoyed looking at all the working men, huddled around the tables, overhearing snatches of conversations about pipelines, wells being drilled, problems being solved. You wouldn’t be in Goldsmith unless you were there to work. The two waitresses were sweet and both called me ‘hon’. One of them had hair that Phyllis Diller would envy, but I didn’t want to embarrass her by taking a picture.
I suspect I’ll be eating here a lot over the next couple years, since one of our main income-producing projects is in Goldsmith. Although most of the menu items wouldn’t be considered healthy fare, at least I’ll have a choice between a Goldsmith icon and Lefty’s Grill.
You really know you’re in a rural town when this is the only sign on the front of the building:
- Real Chicken Fried Steak (joolsjaunts.com)
- Crappy Places to be From: Goldsmith Texas (twodifferentgirls.com)