[A video tour of Silver Saddle]
By Gloria Knott
Silver Saddle Steakhouse is locally owned in Tucson at 310 East Benson Highway. Next door to the Lazy 8 Motel and directly off Interstate 10, Silver Saddle is in a rudown, noisy neighborhood and the parking is awkward and compact, all of which make the initial impression daunting.
However, when I walked into Silver Saddle, I almost felt like I was in a 1930s Old West movie because of the vintage wood paneling and dim lights. To make the experience even better, every employee I encountered was attentive and making sure I was taken care of. Our waitress in particular was prompt and engaging, and she never forgot anything we asked for.
From the time we ordered to the time we got our food, we waited no longer than ten minutes. Even though it seemed to take no time at all to cook our food, it was clearly fresh, not something that had been sitting under a heat-lamp. Although we went for lunch on a weekday, the restaurant was filled with businesspeople and families.
Since Silver Saddle has been open since 1984, it must be doing something right — and it is. I ordered the half-rack BBQ baby back ribs, accompanied by steak fries and beans. Although I would have preferred mashed potatoes with my ribs, Silver Saddle doesn’t offer them. No mashed potatoes was perhaps the only real disappointment of the meal. My ribs were not fall-off-the-bone, but still cooked to my liking. They were swimming, not drowning, in perfectly sweet barbecue sauce. I’ve found that many restaurants serve soggy, under-cooked steak fries, but at Silver Saddle, they were crisp, with a nice crunch. They lacked some flavor, but it was nothing a little salt and pepper couldn’t fix. I didn’t think I would enjoy the “cowboy beans,” as Silver Saddle calls them, but they were blasted with savory taste. I enjoyed them.
Since Silver Saddle is known for its steak, my boyfriend did not hesitate to order one. According to the website, Silver Saddle won the award for Best Steak in Tucson by readers of The Arizona Daily Star. I don’t like steak, but I felt obligated to try a taste. Not surprisingly, I did not like it. But as a person who does like steak, my boyfriend loved his entree. He ordered the six-ounce steak & shrimp, which came with a side of fresh fruit and the soup of the day. The soup was corn chowder, which may sound slightly repulsive, but it’s delicious. You don’t think of corn having a lot of flavor, but Silver Saddle’s corn chowder is full of it. There were no remains of steak or shrimp left on his plate by the end of the meal.
You know those restaurants that leave you completely stuffed? Silver Saddle is not one of those restaurants. The serving sizes are the right amount to fill you up, but not overfeed you.
For dessert, we ordered the famous Mud Pie, which is made from scratch daily. The Mud Pie is packed with crumbled Oreos, layers of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate cake, and a graham cracker crust.
Altogether, our meal only cost about $34. The most expensive item on their menu (besides the seafood, which is priced depending on the market) is the 24-ounce Porterhouse, at $28.95.
There’s not much to complain about at Silver Saddle, which might be why it’s been open since 1984.
Lunch Menu: http://thesilversaddlesteakhouse.com/lunch-menu/