Review By: Richard Galloway -
On a dry mid-summer afternoon, deep in the heart of West Texas, one thing comes directly to mind as I walk the street of Marathon, TX. Where the hell is everybody? I say street of Marathon cause that’s exactly what this delightfully quiet and adorable town basically is. Fresh off a beautifully eye engaging but somewhat annoying camping experience the night before in Big Bend National Park, enduring the sound of noisy neighboring campers, my new wife of exactly 6 days and I were in the mood for comfort and a delicious meal.
We found our jackpot in the form of the Gage Hotel, placed directly in the middle of this lovely strip of land called Marathon. Attached to this historic old west monument of comfort was the 12 Gage Restaurant. After quenching our thirsts for a tasty margarita at the White Buffalo Bar just outside the beautiful courtyard, my wife and I ventured inside for what would be a meal for the ages.
First, the service was impeccable, making the both us feel cozy, helping in our need for decision. My better half chose the venison sliders, which she continued to rave about with every bite. But, my main focus was on the epic portion of chicken fried steak heaven placed amongst my eyes, smothering almost the entire plate, steaming with jalapeño cream gravy. Underneath this mound of spectacular Texas tradition was a smooth serving of mashed potatoes accompanied by crisp greens and carrots.
Now, when ordering from the menu, the patron accepting this challenge of war on the stomach has the option of typical cream gravy or the ignition of heat on the mouth provided by the jalapeño gravy. If you are a man or woman who enjoys a hot but not TOO hot flavor of jalapeño peppers, I think you know where my recommendation will send you.
In my past experiences in such restaurants, there tends to be a trend towards chicken fried batter rather than chicken fried steak, the meat only occupying maybe half the deceiving view before me. Not in this case. From the very first moist but slightly crisp bite my fork and knife were able to wrangle to the unfortunate last, my cravings were satisfied to the brink of amazement. I was left not with the question of “where’s the beef?” but “where’s the water?” The flavor was so explosive, eating bite after bite, unable to take a breather, ignoring the stockpiling of wood I was throwing into the fire of my mouth.
The side of vegetables was scrumptious as well but they took a back seat to the main attraction. In the end, I proclaimed to my wife that this event we’d partaken in may rank in my top 5 all time favorites. From top to bottom, service to dining, the 12 Gage Restaurant gave my wife and I an experience to be told in stories for years to come, highly recommending to all we know. Bravo.