It’s getting to the point where you can’t even go to a sports bar anymore without having to endure good food. Surely, somewhere, someone in North Texas longs for the days when sports bars were just sport bars, when you could get a hamburger featuring a previously frozen patty of never-identified origin, or your choice of the biggest link off the hot dog carousel, or just plain ol’ peanuts. Anybody?
Today, successful sports bars not only have big TVs, they have big menus, with above-average bar food, served by someone with above-average knowledge of the food they’re serving. Corny dogs and “I don’t know, I just work here” don’t cut it anymore.
If this is indeed the formula for popularity and success in the sports bar industry, Crazy Cowboy in Bedford practically has it made. Owned by the father-son team of Dick and Brad Powell, who left the corporate world to open Crazy Cowboy about 10 months ago, the strip-mall sports bar follows the same path of other contemporary sports bars, serving food like rib-eye and filet mignon while the Rangers play in the background.
During our recent visit, a sausage and cheese sampler ($7) was a good starter. Tiny cubes of Cheddar were neatly arranged around eight pieces of thinly sliced sausage. From Texas-based Slovacek, this was good sausage, a mix of pork and beef that, despite being sliced up, maintained its juiciness; it had spent some time on a barbecue grill, as evidenced by its coat of char.
A cup of corned beef soup ($3) looked and sounded promising. Still steaming, it bubbled with tomatoes, tiny chunks of corned beef and strands of sauerkraut. The flavor of the sauerkraut was too weighty, however; every bite tasted of it. At the very least, it was a gutsy dish.
So was the grilled meatloaf entree ($14), but this time, risk paid off. Branded with grill marks, the meatloaf consisted of ground beef, bacon and jalapeños, resulting in flavors that veered from spicy to smoky. Its texture and consistency was less typical meatloaf, more hamburger. It wasn’t much of a surprise when we found out that the burger is made with a similar mixture. Below it was a pool of terrific mushroom gravy and a bed of sweet grilled onions.
For the most part, fish tacos ($9) were enjoyable. Two came to an order, and both were filled with strips of grilled mahi-mahi that was buttery and light, seasoned well and gently with lemon and pepper. House-made coleslaw offered a crunchy contrast to the soft fish, and a cilantro sour cream sauce added weight and spice. However, the corn tortillas were too tough to eat.
All the sides we tried were keepers: long hand-cut fries, skewers of grilled peppers and zucchini, and slightly sweet, firm baked beans, topped with two strips of bacon. Our favorite was the baked mac and cheese, with its crisp edges and crown of french fried onions.
Brad Powell said he’s in the process of adding house-made desserts; bet it won’t just be pretzels.