Major thoroughfares can be such a psychological barrier for us. You know, the classic attitude of "I won't go there if it's south of LBJ or east of Central" mindset. Well, I'm finding out that if I think that way, I'm missing out on some truly wonderful experiences. You know, I would say that I've discovered the ultimate neighborhood hangout in Kelly's Eastside, but that's like saying that Christopher Columbus discovered America. Kelly's has been well known to representatives of most of the major media outlets for years (including Texas Monthly, no less), so my "discovery" won't come as any true discovery; merely self-revelation that I've been denying myself the gastronomic-and-good-times experiences of one of the most charming places of the Northern Metroplex Environs for too long. My lovely wife the Rock Star was away on business of her own, so my good friend The Rock and myself dutifully paid the tolls to rumble eastward one hot Sunday in search of adventure.
Cozy. Intimate. Lots of brick. A plaster horse out front covered in pithy sayings. Smallish patio which also contains the door to the inside. The place is smaller than it looks from pictures; to me, this was a good thing as it added to the warmth and intimacy. We were invited to take any table and we took one (no, we brought it back) within sight of the ubiquitous TV's. Soon enough, Anthony introduced himself and we began our leisurely repast.
Often I start a meal with chips and salsa. Not so today. From the photos of Donna Chen's review (Donna Cooks), I knew exactly what I wanted. Being a True Texan, I love chicken-fried steak, and I especially enjoy it when covered with enchiladas, chili, or queso. Kelly's steak was available covered with cheese, so I dropped the two extra dollars, and decided to go for it. A rather large slab of cube steak, with crispy, crusty breading and a nicely-spiced queso, it was one of the better chicken-fried steaks I've had in ages, maybe even better than Babe's. At Anthony's suggestion, I accompanied my meat with queso mashed potatoes and pinto beans and they made the perfect sidemen to my culinary concert. Being a Texan by way of Tennessee, the Rock loves pulled-pork sandwiches and made short work of his (Memphis-style if you please, with the accompanying coleslaw placed on top of the sandwich). When Anthony asked later how he liked it, The Rock replied, "It's gone!" So much for that. At the last second, we decided to garnish our meals with glasses of the Daily Special unoaked chardonnay (I meant to write down the name and didn't), and it provided a nice bite of light sweetness.
SERVICE AND WEBSITE
As indicated above, Anthony was fabulous, ready with suggestions, and especially patient with me when I informed him I had not even considered which sides I wanted with my steak. Website is www.kellyseastside.com, and be sure to check it out for Happy Hour info and specials.
The ultimate neighborhood hangout in Plano's delightfully revitilized downtown, Kelly's Eastside delivers the bill of fare and then some. Hang there yourself soon, and remember:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!