Personally I think the Queenstown Lone Star is the best in the country. Whereas others seem a bit suburban and dated, Queenstown’s CBD location and genuinely warm and welcoming atmosphere from the staff keeps things fresh. We roll in on a freezing Saturday night and get the choice of a first floor table, or an upstairs, fireside possie with leather armchairs – a choice which was a no-brainer. Things were busy with parents happily watching over kids busily getting full, a few boyfriends facing their girlfriends but with their eyes glued to big screen rugby games, and a few couples out for a date night. In other words, a firm slice of middle class Kiwis out for a good meal, a few drinks and the option of keeping an eye on Super-15 viewing. This was just what you’d expect, and just what we were after.
We stripped a few layers of clothes off, snuggled into our seats, ordered some drinks and some Salt and Pepper Squid ($15) to start with. The squid was great. Crisp, well drained of oil and it came in a large serve with citrus aioli. Yum. Like I do when I know I’m gonna get a big feed, I went in hungry, knowing the Lone Star ribs were a force to be reckoned with. I had a choice of nine or a dozen, but opted for nine as I’m trying not to be too gluttonous at the moment. The (pork) Redneck Ribs ($26.50 for nine, $34 for 12) did not disappoint. Meaty with a hoisin, orange and sesame seed sauce, which is sweet, but not overpowering. The ribs come with Lone Star slaw, which provides the perfect crunchy, nutty, counterpoint to the meatfest provided by the ribs. Ames ordered the special of the night, Blackfoot Fish ($34) – blue cod in a spicy crust. I didn’t have room to even sample this, but the report was: firm blue cod, but the spicy heat in the crust slightly overshadowed the flavour of the dish. To follow up I ordered the Longhorn Cheesecake ($12), which is a Kahlua and Moro bar cheesecake served with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. I’ve got a real sweet tooth, and was expecting great things from this, but was ultimately disappointed. This tasted bland, like it was massproduced with no care.
The service here really suits Lone Star’s all-round feel, which is essential in any eatery, whether it’s fine dining, or casual eats. Our waitress brought us two more serves of aioli when we asked for one, which was a great touch. She was friendly and attentive, and managed to look after us well when her section was full. So top marks there. All the staff, from the cashier to other waiters who didn’t even serve us said hi/bye as we were leaving, so I think Lone Star Queenstown is definitely flying the flag as a leader, and possible originator in a big national franchise – at least until the original original in Christchurch reopens next month.
Bland: Lone Star Longhorn Cheesecake.