Murphy’s Steakhouse. Because Bohemians have to Eat too.

In Food on 05/31/2010 at 10:21 am

Headed over to Winchester, TX this weekend, on the way to La Grange.  A tiny town of about 50 people, Winchester is in the northwest portion of Fayette County near the intersection of FM roads 153 and 448.  My great grandmother used to live across the river as a child; her brothers would come over to Winchester and spend time with the ‘Bohemians’ there.  I kept my eyes peeled for some but I am not completely sure what that term encompasses and they may have been sitting just behind me.  Alas.

The restaurant is in a rectangular building originally built in 1913 and is largely in its original condition, including the tin ceiling, brick walls, and mirrored bar.  It was built by a Schmidt, as noted atop, so it is good, sturdy construction.

Inside was busy and a hair chaotic.  As the evening went on the crowd and the servers settled down.  Mostly families, mostly people who knew each other, and evidence of people from nearby Giddings and La Grange.  We were seated a long table towards the front.  The service was a little slow but the waitress was very nice and on the ball.  Everyone at the table ordered steak, except one of the kids (chicken strips) and me (frog legs).  Salad bar, included on most meals, is in the back, with a setup I found quite odd for two reasons.  One, there was a bean station.  The beans were warm pinto beans for the taking.  I found this intriguing because the place is a steakhouse.  While I have been to many Mexican restaurants that serve beans as an appetizer, never have I seen it in a steakhouse.  Like many eateries in Texas, Mexican food is usually somewhere on the menus so the concept was definitely there.  Two, the salad bar was cube shaped with the lettuce bowl in the middle.  I like this idea in theory but in a small space, crammed next to a bean station, some type of order must be established for the system to work.  The lack of flow created clustering and confusion; the regulars were quickly weeded out from the newbies.  A lovely lady with bouffant hair in from on me demonstrated how she puts the ranch dressing on first, then the croutons to ‘glue’ them down.

The beans and salad didn’t last long but someone had the foresight to order onion rings so that provided reprieve.  They were quite good, crispy and hot, not too greasy, widely cut or stringy.  Eventually the food came, hot and well cooked.  The steak temperatures leaned more toward rare and each plate sported a giant slab of vaca.  Some cut were fattier than others but the general consensus was very positive and everyone came away full.  My frog legs were tasty.  Fried with flour, I pull off the outer crust because it tends to overpower the more delicate flavor of the meat.  They were fresh tasting, like a swampy chicken.  The side of wild rice was generously proportioned and well flavored with chicken broth.

Murphy’s has an enjoyable small town atmosphere.  People don’t mind kids and the waitress, although very busy, refills your tea and chats for just a sec about how she’s always wanted to try the frog legs.  You just have to find Winchester and keep a sharp wit about you.  In case you run into some Bohemians, of course.


Wink invoking fact:  All birds raise their lower eyelids to blink, except the owl which drops its upper eyelid.


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