The experience

Friday night.  Team Phipps likes the casual dinner on Fridays.  We decided on pizza.  We decided to head north as there were a couple of pizza joints we recalled right off 75.  So we drove to Joe’s first.  We looked over and there wasn’t even a sign anymore.  Closed.  No prob, I said, there was a Red Brick Oven I remember passing when we at a Spoons a few weeks ago.  We exited and drove and…closed.  Dang it.  No prob, I said again, let’s just head to Downtown McKinney.  There were a few restaurants on the square.  We drove around the square looking for a casual eatery, so we bypassed Rick’s and found a parking space near a couple of other smaller restaurants.  We actually parked right by Cafe Malaga.  We peered in.  Cute, but small, lots of couples.  I nixed it for a bistro I saw on the way to our parking spot.  We looked at the menu and headed in.  We waited to be seated and this guy came up and told us they were closed for a private party and the door was only open because they were moving tables.  Huh. Weird, that couple in front of us just sat at the bar and there were a couple of other tables that did not look to be part of the larger party.  Whatever.  We decided we’d got to Rick’s if there wasn’t a wait.  5 minutes they said.  Perfect.

We were seated and Ogre went to get Benji’s clip on chair out of the car. While we waited, the hostess handed out menus.  Very cute menus…for the kids!  Mina was very excited and read every word while Benji just read his “book.”  I had to tell him not to take the story out of the book.

When Ogre returned, he clipped Benji in and told me that on his way back to the car to get Benji’s chair he saw another couple going into the Bistro no problem.  Hmm.  Guess they’re not kid friendly.

That was fine, we liked the place we were at.  We ordered an appetizer and continued reviewing the menu.  Benji was pulling out the pages so Papa took them away only to have him cry for the “story.”  We put the pages back and while we waited for the waitress came back Mina tried to entertain Benji with her “hat.”

Of course, then Benji wanted a hat, too.  Ogre distracted him by playing “Where’s Benji?” with the napkin until the waitress finally arrived with our dip and to take our order.

We needed her help.  SO many good looking choices!  I asked the waitress what I should order and it was hands down the Pork Chop.  Okay!  Ogre went for the Filet and the kids wanted Shells and Cheese.

We started munching on the chips and dip and gave some to the kids to eat.  Mina surprised herself by LIKING the spinach!  She ate all of the spinach in her portion of the dip and made a good reference to Popeye the Sailor Man.  She even showed off her muscles to us!

Ogre’s salad came out next and the kids were pretty well behaved while we waited for the rest of dinner.  I wonder if it was because it was getting so late.  Benji kept wanting to cuddle with Papa asking for “hug” and saying “lubbit” (love).

Our entrees showed up and our eyes were WIDE.  They even divi’d out the shells and cheese for the kids for us.  Nice touch.  Ogre and I dug in and were both impressed.  I looked over at another table getting their entrees and told Ogre that I was glad that I didn’t order the ribs…they were huge!  It included “the tail” and must have been 2 and 1/2 feet long!

The rest of dinner went by without much incident. Mina didn’t need prodding to eat and Benji was pretty well behaved.  He did not want to go outside and kept asking to sit in my or Papa’s lap, but he stayed put.  We thought we’d reward the team with dessert.

We received a VERY surprising response from Mina.  “I don’t want dessert, I’m stuffed.”  Excuse me?  Ogre asked her if she was sick.  She said, “No, I just don’t want dessert.”  Okay, WE wanted dessert.  I let Ogre choose and he asked the waitress if they put raisins in their bread pudding (he HATES raisins in bread pudd.ing).

The bread pudding came with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Even with the ice cream staring at her in the face, Mina did not take a bite.  Even Benji did not really want any.  What was up with our kids??!  More for Mommy and Papa!

Since it was nearly 10 o’clock, we settled our bill and headed home with our well fed and weary kids.

The food

It’s a steakhouse with all the anticipated steakhouse items, plus a few with a twist.

We ordered the crab and spinach dip to start and it was excellent.  They serve it with chips that Ogre swore were like doritos. Hard to explain, but they were definitely powdered and very tasty (not as red and fake looking as Doritos though).  Even Mina liked the spinach in this dish!!

I also have to mention the bread and butter, which was really good.

Ogre ordered the Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette.  The dressing was warm enough to slightly wilt the salad and there was shredded egg atop it.  He thought this was really good also.

I ordered the Double Cut Pork Chop on the recommendation of our waitress.  It was seriously at least 3 inches thick and stuffed with goat cheese and had goat cheese on top of it.  I was worried with it being so thick that it would be dry and/or tough on the outside.  Nope, tender and juicy through and through. It came with braised cabbage and a Crispy Potato Cake and that was also very good and complimentary.  Ogre thought it was the best pork chop he’d ever had!

Ogre ordered the Petite Filet “Carpetbagger.”  This one was stuffed with fried shrimp and had a mustard sauce.  He thought the steak was very high quality and cooked perfectly.  It came with grilled asparagus and baked potato.  He commented it was excellent.

The kids ordered the Shells and Cheese and the kids both loved it, as did Ogre and I.  This was made with “real” cheese.

Ogre thought the whole meal was excellent, but he was over the top with dessert.  He ordered the bread pudding and it was just as he thinks it should be.  No raisins.  No nuts.  I don’t even LIKE bread pudding.  This one was excellent.  I can’t wait to eat it again.  Moist, slightly sweet with a cinnamon flavor and great with the ice cream.  Yum!

The service

The service was average. She was nice and helpful with making choices.  There were definitely some periods of lag time and she disappeared a few times.  Food comes out at an anticipated pace, which was slower than what is probably considered kid friendly, but it wasn’t too bad.

The kids

Surprisingly kid friendly!  No kids activities, but they have a cute kids menu with kids menu items.  The restaurant has acoustics that make it seem loud in the restaurant so you’re kids are pretty drowned out.  The booths also have high backs so you’re not exposing your kids to everyone.

I would HIGHLY recommend this place for great food even when you have the kids with you!  We’re definitely eating here again for a great meal at a moderate price even WITH our children!

The total: 109 ish

The rest

We did take photos with the phone camera since we forgot the real deal, but, after reviewing them, they just aren’t worth posting since the lighting was so dim in the restaurant and the phone camera doesn’t cut it for anything beyond about perfect lighting conditions.  I’ll let Grace have a second opinion and I’ll put them up tomorrow is she likes them.

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