I had read the recent negative reviews of The Barn Door, but wife and I are just sick of those gimmicky chain ""steak"" restaurants that line the highways with their flashing neon signs down here, so we tonight we took a chance on The Barn Doort; but we went with our eyes wide open.
First, I would say you should take the really negative reviews of The Barn Door with a grain of salt. Anyone can have a bad dining experience anytime, anywhere, so let's assume that's what happened in the case of those negative reviews.
Tonight we went to The Barn Door at about 8 p.m., but it turned out to be Prom Night. It was so packed around the cash register with girls in prom gowns and boys in tuxes that I couldn't find where to go to put my name down on the list to get a table.
Fortunately, a member of the wait staff saw me wandering around like a lost sheep; she spontaneously took me in tow and got us a table after a wait of about 5-10 minutes. Looking lost didn't hurt any, because It seems I had also inadvertently ""bucked the line"" of folks waiting on their tables.
The dining room is quite large, and even after 8 p.m. it was still very crowded, but with it's checkered (plastic) tablecloths it still looks quite homey. And thank God there was none of that irritating, cowboy-country or rock music that you find blaring in the ""chain"" restaurants. This restaurant is about real food for real people, and the only music, as far as I remember, was the conversation of the diners themselves. The clientele here struck me as sort of middle aged and family-oriented, with lots of tables taken up by whole extended families: grandma and grandpa. adult children and grandchildren. That's something you don't see in the chain places out on the Interstate.
Being prom night, the wait staff was probably pretty frazzled, but our waiter did a good job serving his tables, though we did have to ask him for drink refills when we could catch him speeding by. Ideally he would have asked us, but he was very, very busy. There just wasn't the ability to be all that attentive to each table on Prom Night.
My wife and I both ordered steaks, she the ""Lady Fillet"", I the ""Medium Fillet"". They both arrived cooked as ordered and were just fine. I can honestly say that while they weren't absolutely the very best steaks we've ever had in our lives, they were by far the tastiest steaks we've had in our 6 years in San Antonio. My wife ordered plain mashed potatoes with her meal, but she didn't eat much of them; tasted like ""instant"", she said. I had the usual side, a garden salad. It was OK, but the blue cheese dressing had almost no flavor. I also had a baked potato with my steak, and it was OK. But hey, it's a potato. In any event, unlike in the chain restaurants, it didn't come encrusted in unwanted salt, either. The skin of the potato is my favorite part, but I hate it if it comes smothered in those horrible, gimmicky, salt crystals. Too, as far as I could tell, the butter accompanying it was genuine butter. That's a rarity in these days of restaurants' trying to pawn off butter-like substances for the real thing.
My wife finished off her meal with a chocolate mousse for desert. It was too much for her, so I helped her finish it.
So, the meal was satisfactory over all - especially the real steaks - and I wish I had come here years ago and skipped all those touristy, highway chain restaurants. Dinner for two cost us $48. Not exactly cheap, but worth it, I think. Keep your expectations at a reasonable level, and you'll probably find The Barn Door a good place to have a meal. Bon appetit.
Pros: Good Steak - And It's Not A Gimmicky ""Chain"" Restaurant
Cons: Blue Cheese Salad Dressing Lacked Flavor