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Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024

RW’s Goes Back To Basics


RW stands for Roger Wilbanks, who was at The Cub for 34 years. RW’s Steakhouse is located inside Big Country.

Steakhouse focuses on quality, not quantity

Each edition, 318 Forum’s always-hungry reporter visits a different restaurant and tells you about the experience.

I’ve heard of a steakhouse inside a hotel.

I’ve heard of a steakhouse inside a casino. But a steakhouse inside a country music nightclub?

For me, that was a first. But sure enough, RW’s Steakhouse (1003 Gould Drive, Bossier City) is inside Big Country. If you’ve been in these parts awhile, you remember Big Country as the former Cowboys, which later became the Rockin’ Rodeo.

Wanting to see for myself if a restaurant in a bar can serve a good steak, I put on my jeans, pulled up my black boots and twostepped my way – along with a friend – to check out RW’s on a Friday night.

If you decide to do the same, here’s a word of warning. Call to make a reservation. Early in the week, I sent an email (the closest thing to making an online reservation) through the restaurant’s website. I called a few days later, realizing I had not received a response. The nice lady said, “I’m glad you called. That thing on the website doesn’t work.”

While RW’s is inside Big Country, it has its own outside entrance. We arrived 10 minutes past our reserved time of 6:45, which wasn’t a problem, as only one other table was occupied. We were greeted quickly and warmly by Jenna, who (in a good way) made us feel like she had been waiting for us. Jenna later said this was one of the slowest Friday nights she could remember – that you can’t get in most weekends without a reservation.

The 12-ounce ribeye was perfectly seasoned, and the 6-ounce filet was cooked exactly as ordered and was tender, juicy and flavorful.

The marinade and the meaty claws were well worth the price of a quality appetizer.

RW’s is intimate, with no more than 12 tables and a few bar seats. It’s far from stuffy – the dress is casual, and the atmosphere is relaxed. In case you want to keep an eye on a ball game, there are three televisions. For our listening pleasure, there was a variety of recorded music. We heard everything from Gordon Lightfoot to Billy Joel to Elton John. Interestingly, we didn’t hear one country music song during our hour-and-a-half dinner.

Soon after being seated, Jenna brought out a basket with two rolls. They weren’t anything special but were very useful. More on that in a minute.

My friend ordered a glass of J Lohr Cabernet wine ($9). It is one of her favorites and made a great pairing – red wine with red meat.

After seeing food pictures on RW’s website all week, I had been looking forward to enjoying an order of marinated crab claws as an appetizer. When I opened the menu, I got sticker shot ($18.95). But, as the old saying goes, you only live once. So, I bit the credit card and turned in our order.

Jenna brought us a plate with 13 crab claws. I don’t know why “13,” and I didn’t ask. At first, I was disappointed at the number of crab claws for the price. My friend reminded me that everything is expensive, especially seafood. However, disappointment turned to satisfaction once I pulled the first crab claw between my upper and lower teeth. Each claw had quite a bit of crab meat, which isn’t always the case. Think about quality, not quantity.

Back to the usefulness of the rolls: When you order crab claws, it’s an unwritten rule that you must dip bread into the marinating sauce, soaking up that good juice. We played by the unwritten rule and enjoyed one of life’s little pleasures. The marinade, along with the meaty claws, turned out to be worth the price.

RW’s has several entrees besides steak, like fried shrimp, grilled or fried quail, and a double-bone pork chop. But why go to a steakhouse and not get a steak? I chose the 12-ounce rib eye ($39.95), while my friend went with the 6-ounce filet ($39.95). All steaks come with a wedge salad and a side.

The wedge salad was really good.

The wedge salad was big and fresh with house-made dressing. The crème brulee was made in-house and served with a variety of berries on top.

It was big, and we both noticed the freshness of the lettuce. Each of our dressings (vinaigrette and peppercorn ranch) was house-made, thick and tasted really good, although my friend said her peppercorn ranch tasted more like Thousand Island dressing.

There wasn’t much presentation to our entrees—steak on a plate with a (very) small piece of broccoli and an orange slice. I got the feeling RW’s is focused more on the basics – serving a good-tasting meal – than making things look pretty. If so, RW’s accomplished its goal.

Seldom do you take your first bite of food, stop and think, “Wow! This tastes great!” That’s exactly what I did. Not only was my steak very juicy, but it was also perfectly seasoned. By interrogating Jenna, I discovered the seasoning was a mix of sea salt, restaurant pepper (which is more coarse than regular pepper) and garlic powder. I’m telling you, it was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had – tender, with just enough fat to enhance the taste.

My side, asparagus, was just as good. Again, its seasoning made asparagus taste like asparagus I’ve never had.

My friend said her filet was cooked exactly like she expected a “medium” steak to be cooked. She said it, too, was tender, juicy and flavorful. She did say there was “a little fat, but not too much.” For my friend’s side, she ordered potatoes au gratin. This is where I should tell you that RW stands for Roger Wilbanks, who was at The Cub in Shreveport for 34 years. The Cub’s signature items were steak and potatoes au gratin.

My friend said the potatoes tasted just like when she enjoyed them at The Cub. I don’t like potatoes au gratin, but I may have been converted after taking a bite, then another bite, then another bite. The potato cubes were big, and the au gratin was thick. And, it all stayed very hot the entire meal, thanks to being served in a metal tray.

For dessert, RW’s offered three choices: chocolate muffin, turtle pie and crème brulee. We quizzed Jenna and found out only the crème brulee was made in-house. Since RW’s did such a good job with the salad dressings, we decided to share a crème brulee.

We were delighted with our choice.

It was a decent-sized serving and had a variety of berries on top. The brulee was good and cold, and the top layer of hardened caramelized sugar was prepared just right.

Our meal before tax and tip totaled $118.80. For me, the price makes RW’s a place I would go every once in a while. But I would return and go out of my way to do so. Therefore, I give RW’s Steakhouse Four Forks. We enjoyed a very good meal and very good service. And if you’re in the mood for a little after-dinner country music, listening and dancing, you’re just a few boot scoots away.


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