This meatark of USDA-graded steaks includes four bacon-wrapped 9-ounce filets, four center-cut sirloins, four 10-ounce New York strips, four flat-iron tenders, six mixed sirloin/filet chopped steaks, and two 17-ounce porterhouses. Ponderosa's steaks are cut from the finest top third of the cattle class of 2010, then flash frozen and sealed in special Cyrovac bags that preserve the meat's red perfection for up to two years with nary a spot of freezer burn. With no nasty preservatives, Ponderosa's steaks taste fresh-picked off the animal, delicious all the way down to the T-bone.
Commence your weekend with starter such as crawfish-and-artichoke dip ($12) or a bacon-chocked steakhouse salad with green-peppercorn buttermilk dressing ($7). Entree salads include larger, decadent options like the McIlhenny, masa-fried oysters over greens with homemade buttermilk dressing and McIlhenny tabasco chipotle ($11), or a Southern fried-chicken salad with a Jack Daniel's mustard vinaigrette ($10.50). Get back on the meatwagon with the steakhouse bacon cheeseburger ($9.50) or the blackened prime rib, served with roasted-pepper and portobello-mushroom salad ($24), or dive below the surface of the plate for barbecue shrimp smothered in Abita Amber sauce ($16.50).
Forging a happy medium between the silver spoons of white-tableclothed fine dining and the greasy spoons of the neighborhood greasy spoon, Portobello’s Grill serves lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch in both its dining room and airy outdoor patio. The dinner tuba heralds the arrival of a pair of savory fire-grilled pork chops ($17.99) or cedar-roasted salmon ($17.99) dolloped with creole lemon cream. The Grill's namesake, the grilled portobello sandwich, is a bread-bookended pile of grilled mushroom and eggplant slices backed up by pepper jack, spinach, tomatoes, onions, and mayo, and is more suited to midday cravings ($10.50). Accidentally conjoined mad scientists can share a brunch of sweet and savory delights when they order bananas-foster french-toast ($13.99) and crab-cakes benedict smothered in creolaise sauce ($13.99).
Rough wood walls and exposed brick-and mortar accents frame wood-topped tables at Sante Fe Cattle Company, lending it the look of an Old West ranch or corner saloon. Behind walls covered with western movie posters and cowboy portraits, the kitchen staff cuts steaks by hand, commands yeast rolls to rise, and builds sauces from scratch instead of melting them from freeze-dried blocks. The kitchen follows precise family recipes to grace tabletops with a menu of southern-style favorites, such as hickory-smoked ribs, chicken-fried steak, and fried catfish fillets. Live music fills the room on certain nights, and mist fans on the outdoor patio cool people off after a long day on the range or singing about spending the days on one.
The sandwich specialists at Brew-Bacher's assemble a broad menu of home-style meat-cheese-bread blends in family-friendly environs. The basic hamburger sports a modest ensemble of mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato on a fluffy bun pedestal ($5.75). A south-of-the-border-seasoned beef patty underpins sautéed onions, jalapeños, and shredded cheese in the Mexican burger, which also features guacamole adornments and flour-tortilla wrapping paper ($7.25). In the cold-cut TKO sandwich, smoked turkey dons alfalfa-sprout suspenders, a guacamole corsage, and a swiss-cheese cummerbund upon a bed of wheat bread ($5.99). Sea-cuisine cravers can nosh on a po' boy with catfish ($7.99), shrimp ($7.99), or oyster ($9.50)—each battered and fried oceanic offering trolling a sea of mayo, lettuce, and tomato—and carbohydrate conservationists could save the life of an imperiled bun with a salad selection ($4.25–$9.95).