Monday, February 22, 2016

Steak Oasis In the High Desert


Idle Spurs Steak House
690 Old Highway 58
Barstow, CA 92311

When making the drive to Vegas, most people probably just grab some fast food and go along their way. I mean there's glitzy Las Vegas ahead, and most people can't wait to get there. For Katie and I, we like to take our time getting up there, and experience a little of the desert life. I usually do a little research, and find a place to stop halfway, so we can stretch our legs and feed our stomachs. On this trip, that stop was Idle Spurs Steak House.

Idle Spurs came across my radar because they were on Man V. Food, so I checked out their Yelp page. Since Katie would be working a half day on the morning we were going to be leaving for Vegas, it was going to work out perfect that Idle Spurs was open for an early dinner, when we would be passing through. Steak might not be an ideal thing to eat, while driving the rest of the 157 miles to Vegas, but I skipped breakfast and lunch, just so I'd have some room.

This restaurant used to be the dream home of Jeanie and Chuck O'Hare, who built this place in the mid 50's. They opened up Idle Spurs Ranch to feed hungry travelers along busy Highway 58, which connected Bakersfield to Vegas. Then in 1974, the restaurant was sold to Donna and Morgan Ray, owners of the Morgan Meat Company, which is down the road and supplies all the beef here. A name change to Idle Spurs Steak House, an expansion of the restaurant has occurred, and now the Ray's daughter, Judy, and son-in-law Mark are now running the place. Even though there's a new highway, which bypasses the restaurant, Idle Spurs has still persevered, and still serves locals, and travelers willing to go five minutes out of their way to forgo the fast food along the highway, and enjoy a nicer meal on their way traveling through the High Desert.

Our GPS put us here at about half past four on a recent Tuesday afternoon. The restaurant was pretty empty as we started our meal, but there was a constant building of customers during our stay. You could totally tell this used to be a house back in the day. We were seated in the center of the restaurant, in an enclosed patio room, which featured many plants, a skylight, and a floor that is made up of 56 tons of flagstone. This restaurant kind of had the feel of the Cask and Cleaver Restaurants in the Inland Empire.

The menu of course is dominated by red meat at Idle Spurs, but there are some seafood options, along with one chicken offering. Prices are in the range of $20 to $30, with only the Steak and Lobster combo going over the $40 mark. I had already looked over their menu, so I was very quick making my selection on this early evening. Let's see if the food at Idle Spurs is worth making a pit stop on your way to Vegas.



No bread basket here, they make sure that you start off your meal with some veggies. Maybe because they know you're going to gorge on some red meat for your meal. We were given this small bowl of cut up vegetables. some of these were pickled, and some were not. Pretty basic, but much appreciated while we waited for our meals.



Since I had skipped breakfast and lunch in anticipation of this meal, I was pretty hungry, so we ordered the Deep Fried Zucchini ($8) to start with. I really enjoyed this starter. The zucchini was heavily breaded, but lacked a greasiness to it. What made this even better was a very well done ranch dressing that came out with this. It coated the zucchini well, and added some great flavor to this summer squash. One of the better fried zucchini appetizers we have had.



Unlike at expensive steak restaurants, the meals here at Idle Spurs come with soup or salad. Katie selected this salad to start with. This salad was created table-side, which I thought was a nice touch. The greens were fresh and chilled, with cheese, croutons, and a slice of beet topping the produce. Since we had such a good experience with the ranch dressing that came with the zucchini, Katie wanted to see if the ranch dressing was just a fluke, so she got the blue cheese dressing on her salad. We found out it wasn't a fluke, this blue cheese dressing was also good. It coated the lettuce well, and really added to this salad. A basic salad, but one that Katie enjoyed.


I'd also usually opt for the salad, but since Katie wanted to get the salad, I went with the soup, which was Clam Chowder on this evening. This version was very heavy on the chowder, but rather light on the clams. Not too many were noticeable to me. It was a very creamy soup, with larger hunks of tender potato. Good, but not great. More of a creamy potato soup, than clam chowder, I'd probably get a salad on my next trip here.


Also coming with your dinner entree, is a basket of Garlic Cheese Bread. I had a few bites of this, and decided to avoid this the rest of the meal. The bread was toasted, and very dry. I did not get any garlic flavor on this, and there was no cheese to speak of. Kind of false advertising, but it was included with the meal, so I couldn't get too angry about it.


It always makes me cringe when listening to Katie order steak in a restaurant. When we first started dating, she always ordered them well done, which makes me gag just thinking of it. She now orders them medium well, which is at least a step in the right direction. She had this good looking Filet Mignon ($32) on this evening. I loved the look of this steak, with the crossed grill marks, and it actually tasted pretty good to me, even though it was overcooked for my taste. Katie threw around words like, clean, smooth, and great tasting to describe this steak. She had a little trouble finishing this eight ounce steak, but made a gallant effort to do so. Also on the plate was a baked potato and seasoned veggies. Both of these were good. The baked potato was also dressed table-side, and they used plenty of butter and sour cream inside of this rather massive baked potato.  This plate definitely filled Katie up.




I'm always in a quandary when picking a steak for my meal. I love the flavor of the ribeye, but sometimes they can be too fatty. I love the tenderness of the filet, but then you have to sacrifice flavor. On this early evening, I went with the Boneless Ribeye. ($24). This 12 ounce hunk was prepared simply, might have been a little on the fatty side, but it had a good, meaty flavor to it. It was prepared to my desired medium rare specifications, and was pretty tender. Not the highest quality of steak here, but for the price, not bad at all. Like I said earlier, the veggies were pretty average, and the garlic mashed potatoes had a good consistency to them, but were devoid of flavor. I did not taste any garlic going on here. I'd opt for a baked potato next time.

Idle Spurs is not the best steakhouse we have been to, but it's definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, want to avoid fast food, and want to take your time coming from, or going to Vegas. The steaks here are pretty legit, and if you have a steak here, you can avoid the more expensive ones in Las Vegas. I felt for the price, this was some pretty solid food. Yes there were some hiccups, but the majority of the things we tried we liked. Service was pretty solid on this evening. Gloria did have a lot of tables as the night went along, but she always came by to make sure we had everything we needed, and got us on our way in a timely manner. It's good to know that steak is always an option, (except on Mondays when they are closed), on our drive to Vegas.

Out of five meteorites, (because Barstow is home to the Desert Discovery Center, which houses the largest meteorite found in California, and the second largest in the US), five being best to zero being worst, Idle Spurs Steak House gets 3 solid meteorites.

For more information about Idle Spurs Steakhouse, head to their website here: http://www.thespurs.us/

Idle Spurs Steak House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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