Restaurants & Bars


Alpine Texas


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Restaurants & Bars Texas

Alpine Texas

Mike | | Apr 27, 2004 06:41 AM

-Reata Restaurant
-Town & Country (Exxon) Gas Station(!)

The Reata was a disappointment. It's Alpine's only "fine" dining but I suspect I could have done better at a stainless steel 24-hr diner just a bit east of downtown. Reata falls into the genre of places where more is less. You add "onion marmalade" and a dab of pico de gallo and why not some basil strawberry vinaigrette and a little cilantro jalapeno mayo. Put it all on the *same* plate & call it fine dining. This is not what Reata served exactly (except the marmalade) but you know the drill. Some shrimp starters were OK but rather underbroiled and sashimi-like which I don't think was by design. I knew things were wobbly when the waitress said "we get movie stars in here" hmmm. Never a good sign. Apparently West Texas landscape gets plenty of movie sets. The wine list was rather expensive. My beef (can't go too wrong in Texas ordering a big steak, right?) was flavorful but with far too much inedible gristle around its edges that needed to be trimmed away. One thing I have to give a rave to are the rosemary mashed potatoes. Although not difficult to make good mashed potatoes are so rare to find in the universe that it's a fact worth mentioning.

The culinary highlight of Alpine though was found at the Town & Country gas station. In their hot case along with the standard chicken strips and spring rolls I spotted something topped with lots of onions and entirely "tiled over" with slices of jalapeno. I asked what it was and told "meat loaf" sandwich. This was a masterpiece. The meatloaf (thick) slice is placed on the bun, the top bun is underneath to be placed on top after you open up the plastic wrap. The meatloaf recipe is the secret. Tastes like someone's Mexican mom's recipe honed over the years. A distinct salsa flavor in the meat. It all came together in a burst of meat, salsa, onions, jalapenos. A cold beer to wash it down. Perfect!

Sorry not to be able to recommend the Reata, but it might be the only game in town if you want cocktails + wine type of meal. Not sure on that. Ironically if it tried less hard to be hip and removed about 3 of the 4 items on the plate it would improve 100%. Not awful, just rather overpriced for what it provides.

The meatloaf sandwich by contrast is competitively priced.