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Food

TLO Restaurant Review: McClintock Saloon

5:16 AM EST on January 25, 2022

I’ve always thought that McClintock’s Saloon was far more of an upscale eatery for the Stockyards-wannabes that find Cattlemen’s too rough and tumble, especially when grabbing an easy drink and an even easier steak after buying black socks at one of the surrounding western-wear stores that wallow in overpricedness.

I did, however, catch the exceptional flick Savage Land, about the murder of an Indigenous youth by backwoods cops in Custer County, at the Rodeo Cinema and, by the time I got out, that old hungry feeling started to weigh heavily on me.

Knowing that it was now or never, like the lonely cowpoke that I mostly am but don’t want to be, I finally decided to have dinner there.

As I walked into McClintock, 2227 Exchange Ave., the difference between here and Cattlemen’s is quite obvious, right down to the people standing in line for a table. There seems to be a younger clientele here, while Cattlemen’s is far closer to a retirement community. And, before I could vocally wish that I had their easygoing lives, I was seated at a table, all by myself.

Not having to make shallow conversation with anyone, as soon as I was handed my menus, my dining decisions had already been made. After a bit of wait to place to my order, I dove in.

While Cattleman’s is famous for their Calf Fries, I think that McClintock’s is desperately aiming for a second-place trophy for their perfectly fine Crispy Chicken Livers ($10.00). Heavily coated and deep-fried, the trashy offal pulled off their job, doing fine in Oklahoma’s race for the next best way to cook up testicles, gizzards and of course, livers.

Covered in a few tendrils of the tenderest onions, the best of both worlds were included—white gravy and sriracha ketchup—for dipping, with a slight edge going to, of course, gravy, although it was somewhat fun—a sad, pathetic form of fun, mind you—to alternate between the two. They were alright.

Pushing the livers away, originally, I almost ordered the chicken-fried steak when, instead, something else caught my eye: the Chicken-Fried Quail ($20.00), a tender surprise that I figured I would immediately fall in love with, much like the way that men would fall in love with one another while of those long cattle drives to Oklahoma, at least from the pornographic westerns I’ve read.

As I sank my tender teeth in those brutally pounded little wings and tiny legs, the flattened body made its way around my mouth to decent-enough acclaim. Quail has a different rich taste unto itself, one that needs some other variation of flavor that this one, sadly, was lacking. It was alright for what it was, but I think I should’ve just gone with the original plan of chicken.

My dinner was edible, but I had honestly hoped for a bit more of a raucous hitch in its giddy-up. Still, I was still willing to overlook most of it. However, near the door on the way out was an Indigenous carving or, as I’m sure it’s called by many people, a totem pole, purely decorative and utterly ignored, with no explanation at all.

“Shit,” I mumbled under my breath, bloody flashbacks of Savage Land still in my mind.

_

 Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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