Tucked away right next to the bandstand in downtown Yeovil is a culinary haven so good it’s been the talk of the town since it opened.
Since Texas Rocks served its first meals in 2018, it has established itself as one of the places hungry diners must try. The themed Jack Daniel’s steakhouse may look like something more in keeping with the Old West than a quiet Somerset town centre, but there’s a reason it has a five-star rating on TripAdvisor and locals keep going. flow.
And that’s because for all its quirks like a brazen throwback to the days of spaghetti westerns and desert shootouts, the food, service, and decor are exquisite.
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A friend and I went for dinner before heading to a comedy concert, and although it was no later than 5:30 p.m. on a Thursday night, the place was already busy, which justified my decision to book at the advance rather than attempt a date.
Inside, the place looks like a Jack Daniel’s advertisement, with no surface exempt from the bourbon giant’s branding, whether on the booths, the guitars on the wall or even the giant cowboy cactus tucked away in a corner.
Diners are seated at traditional tables or on JD-branded barrels, which adds a real touch of authenticity to the whole Texas-themed concept and transports you to a setting that could very well be downtown Houston. This goes hand in hand with the fact that the staff wear attire befitting their workplace, where you could be forgiven for thinking you’re ordering your dinner from cowboys.
It’s not only in the decor that Jack Daniel’s dominates, with a cocktail menu dedicated to the famous drink. While not the biggest bourbon fan, I conclude that it would be rude to leave without at least paying homage to the name this restaurant is based on.
So I tried the Tennessee Cooler, which mixes whiskey with honey and apple juice to create a wonderfully refreshing drink.
When it comes to food, and like everything else you’ll find in the United States, things get big. Whether it’s the burgers, the steak, or the ribs, you better work up an appetite before you walk through the doors, because once your meal is served, you’re going to have to work to polish it.
Steaks can be customized by the ounce, with standard options from six to 16 ounces, all the way up to the Man vs Food challenge, in which a contestant must finish 75 ounces of meat, presumably for some sort of prize.
Although tempted by the steak, we both opted for the burgers. I chose the Pig & Cow, combining Cajun pulled pork and BBQ beef brisket with sweet chili sauce on a beef patty, while my friend chose the Louisiana Chicken Melt, a southern fried chicken breast topped with mozzarella, bacon, avocado, onions and garlic mayonnaise.
New releases at Texas Rocks aren’t just limited to whiskey bottles. Some of the dishes on the menu could be described as quirky to say the least, and neither are the spicy Cajun alligator bites. That’s right, breaded alligator served with a sweet chilli sauce and pickled shallots. These were quickly added to the order as a side dish to share.
Service was quick and our mountains of food came out. The burgers were phenomenal. Branded with a toasty Texas Rocks logo – because why wouldn’t you want to brand something so delicious – you could tell this wasn’t the chef’s first rodeo. The burgers were melt in your mouth, while the fries and onion rings that came with the food were also to die for.
And what taste, you ask, does the alligator have? The best description would be a kind of “fish chicken”, combining the taste of a cod with the texture of a nugget. It may be an unusual food, but it works wonders in this setting.
The whole concept of Texas Rocks is big, bold and bright, and since opening it has really carved out a niche for itself, and location, in my opinion, is a critical factor in its success. While places like Bristol, Bath and Exeter may have its fair share of new places to eat, it’s a restaurant that’s completely unrivaled anywhere near Yeovil, and it’s so well run it’s no wonder it’s racked up such a large clientele.
This was actually my first visit since shortly after it opened in 2018, but it won’t be nearly that long before I return. Texas Rocks is a must visit for anyone in Yeovil, and long may it continue.