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Restaurants & Bars

Abilene & Big Country

shanagain | Apr 2, 201010:58 AM     5

Per another discussion, here are some of my Abilene recs if you're in the area.

My steak recs are nothing new - Joe Allen's on 11th (near Treadaway) has improved almost immeasurably since abandoning the old shack. The service can be a little slow, but you are rewarded with their delicious steaks (I actually still stay away from their 'que - I'm just not a fan, or wasn't the last time I tried it). The ribeye is wonderful - good beefy flavor, not too tender - it's a steak lover's steak ordered by thickness. Their rub is unobtrusive, mostly peppery. Sides are of the comfort food variety - mostly boring, to be blunt. It's still a spot to see and be seen.. if seeing and being seen involves boots, hats & dusty jeans. In short, it's still Abilene. No pretensions, though not a "bargain" - you'll pay for the quality of the beef and that's fine. Liquor license, reservations not required, though occasionally a good idea.

Joe's ex-wife Sharon brought her steakhouse, Lytle Land & Cattle Co. into Abilene after their split.. I am not a fan. We find it over-priced and it just hurts this TX girl to see her use any wood other than mesquite for grilling. One note: She claims to use mesquite, but if that's so, something weird is afoot. It tastes like maybe hickory to me. Some people I know absolutely LOVE it, so ymmv significantly. Something just doesn't ring right to my husband and I - but we feel like lone dissenters at times.

Just outside of town in Buffalo Gap is the local (regional, statewide) treasure Perini Ranch. Again, I can't force myself to order anything but the ribeye. It's just the stuff steaks are made of. The atmosphere is pure Texas - the restaurant is located on the Perini ranch in a converted farmhouse, with an upscale rural theme. Very comfortable, and the service is top-notch. You'll need to buy a liquor "membership" for $3 as they're in a dry area, but their margaritas have been worth it to me - they do use a sour mix, but it may be homemade, as it lacks the sickly sweet flavor that ruins margaritas everywhere. Kids will love sitting outside if it's comfortable - this place is like going to a relative's house for dinner, if your relatives are country, but not "country-country." Texas Monthly places Perini's ribeye on their "bucket list for Texans" in their March '10 publication.

Hearsay: We have two votes for Copper Creek, but ONLY for their lunch salads or fish. One vote very, very, very strongly against their steaks - at all costs. The decor is lovely, drink menu is inventive.. but it falls flat, IMO. Their chef needs to chill a little bit and focus on quality over bling.

Well, there's a start for an Abilene thread. Can you tell I like steak?

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Allen's Joe Pit Bar - B - Que
301 S 11th St, Abilene, TX 79602

Copper Creek
4401 Loop 322, Abilene, TX 79602

Perini Ranch Steak House
3002-A Fm 89, Buffalo Gap, TX 79508

Lytle Land & Cattle Co
1150 E South 11th St, Abilene, TX 79602

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