Santa Fe Cattle Company – Still Chewing

Thursday, December 19, 2013 - by Willie Mae
New York Strip and loaded baked potato
New York Strip and loaded baked potato

Normally, I hate to get out in the rain - especially at night. I guess I was feeling a little fearless though because I found myself getting dressed and going to dinner on one of the wettest nights I’ve seen in a while. My son had told me about a new steak place called Santa Fe Cattle Co. that recently opened in Bradley Square Mall and said I should check it out. I haven’t been to that mall in ages and I thought I could stop do some Christmas shopping while I was there.

I should have trusted my first instincts and stayed inside. The closest parking spot I could find was all the way at the end of the lot and I had to walk through the pouring rain. I saw the front of the restaurant and went up the walkway and struggled to find the door in the dark rain, but it was just a window and what looked like a giant bronze bull.

I finally made my way around to the front entrance of the mall and went inside. I was dripping wet and freezing, but it was nice and warm in the mall. I walked over to the entrance of the restaurant and there was a gentleman that took my name and told me that it would be a 45-minute wait. I thought about going somewhere else, but didn’t really want to have to go back out in the rain just yet.

The gentleman at the door gave me one of those little gizmos that would light up to alert me when my table was ready, so I was able to do some of my shopping while I waited. After finding what I needed, I ended up back at the restaurant before my gizmo went off so I just sat down on a bench and looked over the menu. They had lots of Tex-Mex  items like fajitas and chili, but if I’m going to eat at a restaurant that calls themselves a cattle company then I want steak.

There were several steaks on the menu. A 6 oz filet for $17, a T-bone for $20 and every other steak you can imagine. When I was finally alerted, I took the little device to the gentleman at the entrance. He pointed me to a hostess and I turned in my flashing gizmo. No one seemed interested in speaking to me, but just pointed me in the direction I was to go. The hostess seated me at my table and said that a waitress would be right with me, but I guess my nearly hour-long wait wasn’t quite long enough. There were peanut shells all over the floor around me and a bucket of peanuts on my table. By this time, I think my stomach was about to eat my backbone, so I nibbled on a few of the peanuts while I waited (except I didn’t throw my shells in the floor... I kept them in a neat pile on my table).

My waitress came over and asked me what I’d like to drink. I asked for a water and she said she would be right back to take my order. They must really want to make sure that you have plenty of time to make a decision about what you eat for dinner. She came back a few minutes later with my water and asked if I would like some dinner rolls and I told her that I would. I sat there and looked around at the decorations. I noticed beer cans built inside the mortar around the bricks in the walls. I didn’t really understand the allure, but it was rather clever. My waitress finally came back with a basket of four giant rolls and two containers of butter and put it on the table in front of me. I don’t know why in the world she brought that many rolls for just one person (unless she knew it was going to take even longer for me to get my meal).

I wanted the New York Strip with a loaded baked potato for $17, but only a 12 oz was offered. I knew I couldn’t eat that much so I thought I could give what’s left to my dog. My waitress said that it would be right out, but… I wasn’t sure if I should believe her.

I smeared some creamy butter on my roll, but something wasn’t quite right - it had an odd flavor. I figured out that the butter was cinnamon butter. Now, who wants cinnamon in their butter when they are eating dinner? I could see that maybe for breakfast on toast or with dessert, but not on my dinner roll. Some people might like it, but I think someone should ask for it and they should just bring out the regular butter. The rolls didn’t have much of a flavor by themselves. So my basket of four rolls would go back to the kitchen as three and a half.

Surprisingly, my food came out in just a few minutes. My waitress put the plate on the table and disappeared again. My loaded baked potato was just a baked potato with cheese and some kind of processed bacon bits. I took a few bites but without butter and sour cream the potato was just too dry so I turned my attention to my steak. When I cut into it, I noticed that it was a bit rarer than I would normally like. I asked for it to be cooked medium, but it looked nearly rare. I took the long-awaited bite and chewed... and chewed …and chewed.

I knew that dentures make it harder to chew steak, but I had never had this much trouble.  I could barely chew this piece of steak. It had a wonderful flavor but was just way too tough. I choked down a few bites before finally throwing in the towel – I didn’t think even my dog Bo could eat it. After I sipped the last of my water, my waitress came back to my table. She saw my napkin over the barely eaten food on my plate and seemed to know better than to ask if I enjoyed it. Instead she offered me a dessert menu. I politely declined. I wasn’t ready for another 90-minute wait just to try their dessert.

As I walked out I noticed a deer mounted above the door, but instead of the head …it was its rump! I wondered what they were trying to convey with that little piece of art, but for my own thoughts, I couldn’t help but to think it was time to just tuck my tail and run.


Monday – Thursday  11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sunday  11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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