Honestly, unless you’re talking about a brand-new bar clinging to the trend of chef-driven cuisine served alongside artisanal cocktails and craft beers, there’s usually not a lot to get excited over when a watering hole offers grub. Not that it’s bad. It’s just that that usually means a lot of the same odds and sods tossed in a deep fryer and served in a basket. Sometimes the best thing about bar food is the chipper server with the owl on her tank top setting your order on your table. Pub grub is lunch or dinner, to be sure, but more often it’s there to keep you standing when you feel that blood sugar-crash coming on after your seventh beer. In that regard, bar cuisine doesn’t even really have to be good. Luckily, at The Flame Steakhouse, the bar food, while not terribly original, is way better than it has a right to be.
First, The Flame is a Mid-Cities institution going back almost 50 years. Most adults from Hurst or Euless, if asked about the place, are likely to say something like, “Oh, my parents ate there every Saturday night when I was a kid.” Second, the reason your friends’ folks were probably regulars is that the staff makes you feel welcome the moment you walk in the door. Attentive, affable, and personable, everyone who brings you something will probably learn your name before you ask for the check. Due to the bar, a stage, and some video poker machines in the back, the joint reeks with the spirit of the archetypal Texas roadhouse (and, probably for the worse, cigarette smoke), yet a tastefully dark coat of new paint tones down the kind of clichés that make you think of Patrick Swayze tossing rowdy drunks out the front door. Add to that the longtime camaraderie of the folks who have, in fact, been eating and drinking there since the 1960s, and you have a pretty fun place to hang out.
Of course, it helps if the food is decent, and The Flame’s doesn’t disappoint. As its name implies, the menu’s high points are its steaks, hand-cut in the kitchen and served with two sides. Of these, the 8-ounce center-cut filet is the standout. Ordered medium rare, it came slightly seared but appropriately red; each bite was firm enough to be chewy, ending in a delicious, buttery, melt-in-your mouth effect. Along with the accompanying green beans (cooked with fatty bits of bacon) and mashed potatoes, it was the kind of meal that bars and grills aspire to. The Flame hit all the right spots.
Being that The Flame’s a bar and all, you’d be remiss if you didn’t order something from the fryer. According to both the bartender and our server, the fried mushrooms are popular, but so is Katy Perry, and neither is all that interesting. (If you want ’shrooms, see if you can get them grilled or sautéed on your steak.) On the appetizer side of things, the sweet potato fries were the better option: Light and crispy almost to the point of being flaky, they were a good warm-up for the chicken-fried steak, a massive slab of beef pounded flat, fried, and smothered in a huge mess of parsley-seasoned cream gravy, so much that you might want to order it on the side. While not quite fork-tender, the CFS was tasty and filling –– you’ll probably need to get half of it boxed up to take home.
Other fried snacks include pickles, onion rings, cheese sticks, cheese poppers, and garlic parmesan fries. The menu also lists Irish Nachos, which are apparently potato wedges of some sort stuffed with cheese and bacon. Unfortunately, The Flame no longer makes them, and there is at least one cut of beef that’s no longer available, so don’t be surprised if you have to find alternatives when you order. And though the website says the restaurant is open Mondays through Saturdays, truth is the doors are locked from Sundays until Tuesday afternoons.
For a roadside beer-and-whiskey joint, The Flame grills one of the better steaks in town, and its get-to-know-you service more than makes up for the handful of dropped items. Go by on a Friday or Saturday for live music, a good meal, and a lot of nice people. You might make it a regular thing.
The Flame Steakhouse
3375 Euless Blvd, Euless. 817-267-6401.
4pm-2am Tue-Sat. MasterCard, Visa accepted.
8-oz. center cut filet …… $21.95
Fried mushrooms …………. $6.95
Chicken-fried steak ……. $10.95