Review: Still Waters Restaurant

My friends Tim and Meg told me about a new place in Grayson called Still Waters Restaurant which had, they said, “pretty good bar-b-que.” I decided I needed to check it out, so my wife, Tammy, and I went on Friday night.

For those in the Grayson area, it’s in what used to be the Grayson House restaurant. Parking is in the rear, and as we parked, I was delighted to see a smoker, with smoke billowing out of it. That is a very good sign when you go for BBQ. The smell of the smoke was wonderful, and that smell continued into the house, as we entered the front door.

The restaurant bills itself as “A Chic Bar-b-que Joint,” but I’m not really sure what they are going for with that. The decor is mostly “old house” with various for-sale paintings by, I assume, local artists hanging on the walls. This is not to say that the decor is unappealing; I happen to really like old houses. I just don’t see anything particularly “chic” about it.

The menu is split into two parts: Bar-b-que, and everything else. The non-bar-b-que menu has steaks, fried grouper, grilled salmon, chicken, shrimp and some pasta dishes. There is also an appetizer that sounds heavenly, though we didn’t try it this time. It’s called a “Butty Roll” and this is its description

Smoked Tender Pulled Pork Wrapped in a Tortilla, Deep Fried Golden Brown and served with our Special BBQ Sauce

Oh, yeah. That sounds delicious. Next time, I will have you.

We were there for Q, so we went to the second section of the menu. They have smoked beef brisket (my favorite), pulled pork (my wife’s favorite), ribs, chicken, smoked turkey and house-made sausages. I wish they had a sampler platter, or a “build your own” type of thing, because I would have loved to get some brisket, pork and sausages. Alas, they did not. Tammy got the pulled pork, and I got the brisket. Each comes with two sides; she got potato salad and Brunswick stew, and I got fries and BBQ beans. The price for hers was #13, and for mine was $15.

The food came out pretty quickly, and was absolutely delicious. The only complaints we had were the Brunswick stew had far too much sweet BBQ sauce in it, and was nearly inedible, and that the fries were obviously frozen instead of house-made. Everything else was wonderful. The beans were a perfect balance between BBQ sauce and beans. The brisket was tender and moist, and had the smoke deep into the meat. Tammy’s pulled pork was heavily smoked, juicy and delicious. She also said the potato salad was very good. They have two sauces to choose from; sweet and spicy. I only ate the spicy, but I thought it was a nice spicy sauce, with a bit of a kick, but not mouth-scorching. Tammy said the sweet sauce was good, too.

When they first brought our food out, we were both a bit disappointed at how much was on our plates. But after we finished, we both agreed that the portions were just right; it was the prices that were wrong. For $15, I got three strips of brisket (two of which had significant fat I had to cut off), a decent portion of fries, and a coffee cup (really) of beans. For what I got, I think somewhere in the $10 – $12 range would have been more appropriate. Tammy got a sandwich-sized portion of pork, a large-spoon portion of potato salad and a coffee cup of stew. This really was more of an $8 – $10 meal, instead of the $13 they are charging. Both also came with a piece of Texas toast that had been toasted on the smoker with the smoke flavor deep into it. I do wish they had put a bit of butter on them, because they were a bit dry. The clearly frozen fries also bothered me, given the prices. For that kind of money, I expect house-made fries. It’s not that hard to make them, and they make the meal that much better.

Their dessert menu includes cheesecake, Key lime pie, Oreo cheesecake and something that sounded so good, we just had to try it: Fried Pound Cake. Here’s the description from the menu

Our version of strawberry shortcake, sautéed in butter to golden brown, and served warm with ice cream and strawberry sauce topping

What came out on the plate was an entire segment from a bundt cake pan, probably 4″ x 3″ x 2″; it was a big piece of cake. There was a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, a few strawberries, and a drizzle of strawberry sauce on the cake. Was it good? To quote a friend of ours, it “was so good, you want to slap your momma!” And it was. The cake itself was moist and tasty, but where the butter had soaked into it was a little slice of heaven. It was $8, but I would say that was actually a fair price, given how big the piece was, and how unbelievably good it was. The vanilla ice cream was just standard, but it was fine. This dish alone is reason to eat here again.

We left full and happy, both agreeing that we would come back. I do hope they will adjust their prices down to more accurately reflect the portion sizes. For flavor, I’d give them 4.5 stars out of 5 (I take off a half for the stew). Price-wise, it’s more of a 3.

3 thoughts on “Review: Still Waters Restaurant

  1. I completely agree with your assessment, Joey: good food, but pricey for what you get. They have lunch specials advertised on a chalk board almost every day, which would reduce the $8 – $9 lunch to $5.99. I’m on the lookout for ribs to show up on the chalkboard, because I really did like the Q.

    And not to rain on the parade, but when Meg and I got the butty rolls, I didn’t think they were too spectacular (and the portion was pretty small). The pulled pork in them tasted re-heated or store-bought or too finely shredded or something. It made me a little concerned for the quality of the main dish pulled pork to come, but then, what came on the main dish was authentic, clearly home-made, and tasty.

  2. thanks for the review. we have been curious. my husband and I went to the Grayson House for special occasions here and there–it was usually hit or miss. . .
    do they serve beer by chance? last time we went they did not–only wine.

    sounds like the decor hasn’t been changed much from when it was The Grayson House.
    they might do better to “unfancy” and have some live music out there, they could draw a crowd!!! 🙂

    we will have to give it a try!

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