Best Chicken-Fried Steak - 2002
Bonnie Brae Tavern
The Dire family has been serving good old-fashioned diner fare at this Bonnie Brae roadhouse since 1934 -- when the road outside was still dirt, rather than today's busy University Boulevard. But not much else has changed since those days. Sure, the pizza toppings have gotten more exotic, and microbrews now sit next to Coors at the bar (oh, yes, and the prices have gone up a bit), but the old family recipes are the same. One of our favorites is for chicken-fried steak, a formula that calls for a very large slab of flank steak to be coated in a floury batter, pan-fried in butter and then smothered in peppery country gravy, with mashed potatoes plopped alongside to soak up any excess gravy and juice. The crust, studded with small blackened bits from the pan, is so tasty that you could make a meal of it -- but then you'd miss the meat inside, which is tender enough to slice with a fork.