With all the spooky movies coming out lately, I suppose a spooky restaurant review is acceptable...  -- John.

1700 Airway Blvd
El Paso, TX, 79925
(915) 779-6633
Steak and Seafood
I Ate: The 16-oz prime rib with salad bar; mud pie for dessert
Price: ~$20 + tax/tip

(Five stars at its best; four at its worst)

There are eight Cattle Baron restaurants in New Mexico and Texas; the one in El Paso is just south of the airport.  Their specialties are steaks, prime rib, and seafood.


I ordered a beverage; it arrived, along with some freshly baked bread, while I was serving myself at the salad bar.  While I was eating, I had the vague feeling I was being watched...  Now, I may be a bit paranoid, but attacks like that are few and far between.  Nevertheless, I felt eyes on me, and the feeling didn't go away...

I consumed the salad with relish, the bread less so; it was a white bread, coated with butter or oil (I couldn't taste it, so it was probably oil), and I may have mentioned in a previous column that I prefer to butter my own bread.  Anyhow, after I had finished my salad, I noticed hanging on the wall opposite my table was a large stuffed mule deer's head, and it was staring RIGHT AT ME.  And the expression on its face...  Well, I nearly fell out of my chair.  So much for paranoia.


I need to say more on the salad bar, a large table with lots of choices all around.  One could easily make a meal out of it; and it was available a la carte, though a bit on the expensive side; but it came with the meal.  I chose my favorite toppings; onions, mushrooms and bleu cheese dressing.  There was plenty more, some of which I recognized, some of which was alien to me.  It all looked very good.

I'd ordered the headline dish at the restaurant, the 16 oz prime rib steak.  It arrived rapidly enough, and I dug right in.  Well, I'm afraid it wasn't the best prime rib I've ever had; it couldn't have been cut with a butter-knife, which is the test for the best.  Still, I wouldn't have described it as tough, either...  I'd say it was on par for most steakhouses 'round these parts.  It was juicy and flavorful, and I can't say I didn't enjoy it.  I polished it off fairly rapidly, glancing occasionally at the deer's head, which I would swear glanced back at me.

My side dish (mixed vegetables) wasn't overcooked, thankfully.  I hate eating mush with the vague shape and color of veggies.  I'm sure children around the world hate their vegetables due to the overcooked pap served them as infants.

I found a bit of room after dinner, and ordered a slice of mud pie for dessert.  It was very good, and went down quite smoothly.  So, I paid my check, bid adieu to the deer, and left for home.

And so, while lacking the highest quality prime rib, the Cattle Baron is an enjoyable place to dine -- so long as you don't get the same seat I had.  I nearly threw my napkin over that head, I tell you.  Still, counting the salad bar, I'd have to say the meal was worth the price.


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