By Amanda Rogers
The Food: American, Mexican, seafood and barbecue specialties
The Story: We met some friends at Steven’s Garden & Grill on a busy Friday night, intending to spend the evening drinking margaritas on the patio. But a freak storm rolled in, dropped the temperatures and chased everyone inside. We were told it would be a 30-minute wait, but only sat at the bar for about 10 minutes before we were seated.
Steven’s menu isn’t massive, but has enough diversity to feed a variety of appetites. And we all tried something different.
We started with fried pickles ($5.99) and jalapeno bottle caps ($5.99) that were lightly battered in cornmeal, not greasy and served hot. The jalapenos had just enough zip and the pickles are the best in town.
My friend loved her lemon pepper grilled chicken on rice ($12.79) with a pair of sides and Texas toast. (You can also get it grilled, blackened or chipotle.) She said the chicken was well marinated, flavorful and moist and her broccoli was on point, almost crisp.
Her husband has a heartier appetite and went with the Two Meat Combo ($15.79), choosing Carl’s Jalapeno Sausage and smoked chicken thighs. He gave the sausage points for being full of flavor and not too spicy, but he said you could definitely taste the jalapenos. The chicken was tender, moist and smoky. Other options for the Two Meat Combo are pulled pork, Carl’s Premium Sausage and sliced brisket (ribs $3.59 extra). His dinner came with a two sides and Texas toast, too. He chose the seasoned green beans and baked potato salad, which he could only describe as awesome.
My husband loves Steven’s pork chops ($14.99), and always gets them with teriyaki (grilled is another option) with two sides and Texas toast. This 1 ½-inch thick cut was juicy and well-seasoned. The teriyaki draws out the smoky flavor. He chose marinated mushrooms and mac and cheese as his sides.
I went with the grilled catfish on rice ($14.99) with baked potato salad and okra. (You can also get it blackened or with lemon pepper). This tender fish falls apart in your mouth and is full of flavor that transfers to the rice under it.
I’m picky about my okra, don’t overcook it and don’t undercook it, don’t coat it in batter, just cornmeal. Steven’s is perfect- big chunks of okra that are tender and cooked just right. Steven’s baked potato casserole has a local following – it’s that good – with creamy and warm with big chunks of potato.
The house-made margaritas are also legendary, but watch them. They can sneak up on you.
The Atmosphere: Jan and John Cox originally opened a plant nursery, but then John grilling and the place was soon known more for his burgers and margaritas than their flowers. With the couple’s extensive horticulture training, this is one of the best patios in town with the prettiest landscaping. Inside resembles a Hill Country barbecue spot with tin walls and ceiling.
The Details: 223 Depot St.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 3-9 p.m. Saturday; 817-473-8733; stevensgardenandgrill.com
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.