Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Day 11: Travel to Austin for the weekend
Roadfood: Sonny Bryan s Original Location, Czech American Restaurant
While Sharon went to the office to tie up some loose ends before the weekend, I slept late, caught up on email, worked on planning the rest of the trip, and went to Sonny Bryan s for lunch We had hoped to get away early but we wound up leaving in the middle of the holiday weekend exodus from Dallas.
I had the opportunity to have a leisurely lunch at the original Sonny Bryan s location. There is a world of difference between this location and the West End location that we ate in last week. First, you can tell this place has been here for a long time. All the customers seem to be regulars and nobody seems to need to read the menu. Upon trying to figure out what this place sells and how to order it, I discovered that the menu is a series of placards above the counter.
Reading my way through these placards I settled on a two meat platter (beef, sausage) with sides of onion rings and slaw and a Big Red to wash it down. As do many well established joints, Sonny Bryan s has it s own method of ordering. During the busy periods someone comes out from behind the counter and takes orders on a small pad of blank paper. Somehow she gets these back to the kitchen and eventually your order appears.
Now this sounds easy, except that the area in front of the counter gets very busy. This is a small place. When I first pulled up I did not think there was enough room for a seating area, but somehow they manage to have about 25 seats indoors with a half a dozen picnic tables outside. Anyway, there are 20 to 25 people generally milling around in front of the counter. They are trying to order, trying to stay out of the way as they wait for their order, trying to get to the counter to pay for their food, and getting condiments of pickles, onion, jalapenos, and sauce to enhance their meals.
BTW, what flavor is a Big Red? About all I can come up with is sweet , which obviously is not a flavor. It is a thirst quenching sweet drink for washing down your barbecue on a hot day, but what flavor is it?
Eventually my order came out and I paid for it and went outside to eat.
Beef brisket, sausage, onion rings, pickles, onions, jalapenos, hamburger bun, Big Red
I found the meat at Sonny Bryan s to be fork tender, almost too easy to fall apart. It seemed that if you looked at it cross eyed it would fall apart. Also, it did not have as much smoke flavor as it could have. The sausage was cut into narrow slices. Unfortunately, you lose the snap when you bite into it. Both the beef and sausage were sauced. The onion rings had the coating falling apart and all of them had large expanses of the onion exposed with no coating. The slaw was good but I liked the slaw at the West End location more.
I know that I have just bashed a venerable Dallas institution. It might have been an anomaly for this location. I might be spoiled by all the barbecue I have eaten in the last week. But, as the blind umpire said to the deaf catcher, I calls em as I sees em.
I am glad I ate at Sonny Bryan s in the West End. I am glad that I ate at Sonny Bryan s original location. These are good places to get above average barbecue. However, this is not great barbecue. For that you need to get out to Lockhart, Luling, Elgin, or similar places to get really great Texas barbecue.
Sharon and I got on the road late in the afternoon and encountered a lot of traffic leaving Dallas. We Stopped in West, TX for a Czech dinner. We were very pleased with the Czech American Restaurant.
We started with the pirogies. We both had much experience with this dish and were greatly impressed almost worth the trip just for these. They were,21,203894.068,1,7586,126.96.36.199
203961,203894,203894,2006-05-26 10:38:34,RE: NJ to TX In Search of TX BBQ”