Midday Mafia: Corraling in the troops for eats at The Corral
• ADDRESS: 3502 Houston Highway, Victoria
HOURS: 11 a..m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
• PHONE: 361-576-1277
Editor's note: The Midday Mafia is made up of five locals who wish to remain anonymous at the moment. Names have been changed to protect the guilty and are as follows: The Don, Two Taps, Walnuts, Jack the Knife and Jimmy Three Cheese. The Midday Mafia will run every other Thursday in Get Out.
The Midday Mafia stopped by the place with the Indian sign last week and had a trip down memory lane. Never mind there are newer, fresher places to eat, The Corral is a one-of-a-kind experience and one everyone in Victoria has endured at least once. It still merits another visit in the Mafia's opinion.
Jack the Knife, he of hamburger fame, made the call to meet at the sign and dine. He was adamant there were several excellent reasons to show, and we all agreed. When Jack is adamant, people usually reach for their wallets and pay for lunch.
First, The Corral serves the best chicken-fried steak in Victoria. It is a breaded cutlet that even Two Taps said "wasn't frozen" or those "parts is parts" patties you get at most chain restaurants. Two Taps is very picky and treated himself to two trips to the endless salad bar. I am not sure he liked the salad that much, and I'm more convinced he was looking for those ever elusive bean sprouts he seems to subsist on.
Second, the fried chicken there is a battered masterpiece. I felt special when our gracious host explained, "You will have to wait about 15 minutes for the fried chicken. We cook it to order." Good deal and well worth the wait.
Third, our orders all came with fresh wheat rolls that were incredible. Two Taps said he could have made a meal of those alone, and that's saying a lot since he probably ran five miles that morning and doesn't eat just for fun like the rest of us.
The Corral had a major overhaul in 1987 and needs a facelift to compete with the new, trendy chains on the beauty front. But, if you want a solid meal at a fair price and a salad bar to boot, it's still among the best values in Victoria.
The restaurant is famous - I mean famous - for the chopped beef sandwich and it hasn't changed a bit in the decades I have been blessed to be there. Mr. Totah, better known as Mr. Made in the Mafia circles, comes out and tells the boys "hello" when we appear.
Everybody wins, and we don't dare attempt to collect protection money here. I am quite certain if we suggested such, he'd scream from the back, "Fuhget about it!"
We will bring you another spot in a couple weeks; you can't rush quality. Until then, forget about it!
Want to join the Mafia when they hit another local eatery? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.