by Terrance Mc Arthur
Look, this has been a strange month. I will be retiring in March (from my real-world job, not from Kings River Life), and there is a lot of paperwork and running back and forth involved in it. I went to six different restaurant locations in the last month, intending to review each one for The Great Food Search…but I’m only going to do one of them. Therefore, I wish to temporarily apologize to…
Sandy’s Country Junction—532 Clovis Ave., Clovis
Tokyo Steak House—1865 Herndon Ave., Suite H, Clovis
MOD Pizza—2320 Clovis Ave., Suite 104, Clovis
Pho House—237 Academy Ave., Sanger
I will get back to you, soon…I hope.
Instead, I present to you—
Cattlemens Steakhouse—1880 Art Gonzales Parkway, Selma (559) 896-2559
Over fifty years of satisfied customers have gone through the doors of this building, which is tucked in between Manning Avenue, Highway 99, and Selma’s Pioneer Village. But…What about Coronavirus, Covid-19, the 21st Century Plague? You know, Social Distancing?
For starters, there is a banner out front, telling the world “OPEN for TAKE-OUT and RAW STEAKS!” How’s that for starters? Imagine the joy of backyard BBQ chefs at the quality meat they can put on the grill.
Masks are required, even for pick-up. Delivery service is provided by ChowNow. A wedding-reception-size tent outside the building contains tables that can handle forty-eight diners. For menus, QR codes link to their website. Staff sanitizes the tables and chairs after each party leaves (A word to the wise—the padded, wooden chairs are the best). It feels safe.
But…What about the FOOD?You start with bread, but don’t expect white bread or a baguette; it’s a massive, hot Sourdough Bread, served with tublets of light, creamy butter that reminded my wife of Denmark. Entrees come with a tossed salad, ranch-style beans, and a choice of potatoes (baked, mashed, or French Fries). The salads arrived with tongs in a metal bowl, so dig out your favorite parts (My wife leaves the tomatoes and onions for me.), and the salad dressings are spritely (best Thousand Island I’ve had in years!). The beans are tender, with a mild barbecue flavor. The baked potato has enough sour cream for a good soaking, and is crusted with salt on the skin (A Tip—let your potato lean up against your steak for an extra flavor punch!). The fully-loaded baker sports cheese, bacon, and green onions topping the sour cream—Whoopee!
This is a steakhouse, right? We ordered Pete’s Special, a ten-ounce sirloin (medium-rare, please) with serious grill-marks. Powerful flavor, easy cutting—who could ask for more?
How about Appetizers and desserts? The Artichoke Cheese Dip is hot (even after a fifteen-mile drive home), and the marinated artichoke hearts and three cheeses could probably yodel their way past your tonsils. We couldn’t decide between the Grand Canyon Cheesecake and the Chocolate Outlaw Cake, so we ordered both! Two inches wide, and almost four inches high, that cheesecake had creaminess without being overly acid. The cake—three dark layers, interleaved with a heavenly mousse, and happily frosted—is a chocolate festival!
Selma isn’t all that far away from anywhere in the Valley, so the eating is well worth the trip…or the ordering. Even if you don’t like steaks, there’s something for everyone—Porcini Mushroom Ravioli, anyone?