If you follow this blog at all, you know that I have a little bit of an addiction to chicken fried steak. DallasFood recently gave Babe’s Chicken Dinner House in Garland a B+ in its detailed series of articles searching for the best CFS in Dallas (the #1 CFS in Dallas, at Ozona Grill, also scored a B+). Furthermore, Babe’s was mentioned as one of the best places for fried chicken in the south by the July 2004 issue of Southern Living magazine. I had to give this place a try.
Even on a Thursday evening, Babe’s is packed. I had to park two storefronts down. Walking towards Babe’s, even the exterior sets you in the mood for this old-timey country eatery.
Nice decorated bus, huh?
The menu at Babe’s is simple. You pick your choice of meat (fried chicken, CFS, fried chicken tenders, smoked chicken, fried catfish, or pot roast) and that comes with all the family-styled sides that are all you can eat (mashed potatoes, cream gravy, green beans, green salad, grandma’s corn, and homemade biscuits). We also got lima beans as a side in addition to these ones listed on the website. Having brought fellow CFS fans with me, 4 of us ordered the CFS and one ordered the famed fried chicken.
All of the sidedishes (with the exception of the green salad, which is just overdressed lettuce) were excellent. I was in heaven when tasting the sweet, rich cream corn. But onto the main reason why we were there, the CFS. The CFS at Babe’s is large (not the biggest I’ve seen but it certainly ranks up at the top) and the batter is crunchy, golden, and appealing to the eye. It is photogenic with a fair thickness that is even throughout (but not so uniform like a frozen pattie). The gravy that tops it is simple creamy perfection. But even with all these positives, 3 out of 4 of us STILL prefer the CFS at Kelly’s Eastside. There’s just something about the texture of the batter on Kelly’s CFS, or maybe it’s the seasoning, something about it is just hard to beat (maybe it’s because you can get mashed potatoes topped with queso and that’s just a nice added bonus). I also stole one of the fried chicken pieces (a drumstick). That was one of the best pieces (if not the best) of fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. It was crunchy on the outside, tender and well seasoned on the inside, and had just the right amount of grease to be delicious but not too much to be overwhelming. The only adjustment that could’ve made it better is if it was just a tad less salty.
Sometime during dinner, “The Hokey-Pokey” had come on the speakers and the waitresses (who all look like high school cheerleaders, was it a fundraiser night that we were unaware of?) all lined up for the old fashioned dance. A little tacky, but it fits well with theme of the restaurant.
Oh and then there was dessert. We were all stuffed after dinner, but you can’t pass up dessert at a place like this! We sampled the banana pudding, pecan pie, coconut pie, and pumpkin pie. The banana pudding was the most impressive (in size and flavor). A serving size fitting for the 5 spoons we got to share it, the banana pudding was creamy, rich perfection without all that artificial banana flavoring that can be so obvious in other restaurants’ versions. I don’t even like banana pudding but I ate this one up!
My second favorite was the coconut pie (another dessert I normally don’t like), for the same reasons as the banana pudding (no hint of strong artificial flavoring, though they must have used some) and excellent creamy texture. The pecan pie was also solid. The pumpkin pie seemed a little heavy with nutmeg, but the texture was still enjoyable.
Pumpkin Pie and Coconut Pie:
At the end of my visit, I am surprised that the desserts at Babe’s are what impressed me the most. Though everything is solid home cooking better than most grandmas’ recipes, I can’t vote for Babe’s CFS as my favorite in the DFW area. I loved the whole experience anyway. It’s a good place to bring friends or family for a relaxing, comforting meal, a meal that will inevitably have too many calories and too much carbs, oh well.
Rating: 5 / 5
Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
1456 Belt Line Rd, Suite 171
Garland, TX 75044