At the Lone Star Texas Grill we have one goal:
Prepare the most flavourful meals, using the freshest ingredients
and authentic recipes; then serve it up with true Southern hospitality
so our guests can sit back, relax and enjoy a great Texas experience
You may never get a chance to visit Texas and that is a shame - but
you can do the next best thing, visit the Lone Star Texas Grill, Canada's
only authentic Texas restaurant ........ Texas to the Bone!"*
*From their website
LJ and I visited Lone Star many years ago in Toronto down near the CBC building. We had never been and felt like Tex-Mex. I got the wings, which I can't remember how they were. LJ got the nachos - and they were the worst ever. The chips were not layered, but there were several which were individually topped. While this made every chip a big bite, they were terrible in terms of quantity. And they weren't very good. Fast forward and move to Ottawa, and we were up for trying Lone Star again.
This particular Lone Star location, West Ottawa, is in a strip mall. But once you go inside, it's like walking into a Texan saloon - multiple rooms, loud country music and a college party bar atmosphere. It is a good size location, and while there were a fair amount of people, it looked relatively empty.
One thing I did enjoy was the complimentary tortilla chips and salsa. Free food before you even order, that is hospitality. From my seat I could see the warming drawer they are kept in and shoveled onto the plates, but that extra touch really makes a difference. Now personally I am not a huge fan of their salsa. When it comes to salsa, I don't like traditional. It is usually not very thick and chunky, and its usually filled with cilantro (which I hate). Give me Pace any day.
We also ordered their "Original Texas Cheese Dip Con Queso", a "creamy melted cheese with tomatoes, jalapenos and spices." You use the complimentary chips to dip, but we asked our very helpful server, Bronco (yes Bronco), for a side of tortillas. He was happy to oblige and even not charge us. Lone Star Tortillas are a thicker, dough-ier type than anywhere else I've had before and I really like them. The dip was very cheesy, but even with jalapenos, it wasn't spicy, but it was good. At least for a while. With only two of us eating it, plus the chips and dip and our meals on the way, we barely got half of the dip put away.
We weren't going for Lone Star's main dishes - true Tex-Mex fajitas, tacos, and we certainly weren't risking the nachos. To be honest, we had been to the downtown location a few weeks back and had the AYCE fajitas on Monday. I saw the wings at the table beside me and wanted to come back to try them.
LJ went for the Buffalo Chicken fingers. Heavily breaded chicken strips tossed (for an extra charge) in Frank's hot sauce. They were pretty big, with the crunchy breading. They weren't just simple frozen fingers as the shapes were all over the place (go to a Denny's etc and you get uniform shaped fingers . . . ). In terms of simple chicken fingers, these were good.
The sauce, as I mentioned above, was just Frank's, but these fingers had a surprising bite. They were pretty saucy, and they came with veggies and fries. But how would their fingers do up against the real thing?
2008 THE SCORE 3.0: Lone Star
Breaded, un-breaded, deep fried
$9.99 for 1lb (approx 10 wings)
Not saucy – what sauce is in the breading
See above – chewy
Just Frank’s – it was ok
Fries, veggies, ranch dip
Napkins, wetnaps, wing bowl
-Huge ‘cantina’ feel inside, despite being in a strip mall
-Coke served, AYCD
-free tortilla chips and salsa
-AYCE fajitas on Mondays
Tex-Mex is king here, not wings
The chicken was a medium sized wing, all pretty uniform in size. No small ones, and no large ones. They were breaded, than deep fried, although there is the option for non-breaded as well. There wasn't very much seasoning in the wing, but it wouldn't have been bad as a non-sauce wing.
As for the sauce, hello? Where are you? The wings were not saucy. In fact, what sauce there was had been absorbed into the breading as it is. This meant that the wings were pretty blah. Even though my wings were the 'hot', LJ's fingers were even hotter than mine! And she got lots of sauce. But I shouldn't expect a lot from a place that only has two flavours - 'hot' and 'BBQ'. They are just going for a broad audience with these wings, and a casual wing eater probably wouldn't .mind these. Most of the points came for the extras like the fries, veggies, dip and wing bowl showing that Lonestar is good about the service, but needs to pick up on the wing details.
FINAL SCORE: The wings aren't bad, but they just aren't that great. Lots of breading, but little to no sauce. Its sad when the chicken fingers have more kick! While the wings may not live up to their mission statement of 'most flavourful', I say stick to what Lone Star does best, Tex-Mex. 11/20
Lone Star Texas Grill
780 Baseline Road, Ottawa (and many other locations)