Saddle Up

The Wild West lives at HiFalutin, with good food and friendly service to boot.

If you are like me, the only thing that has kept you from dropping in on HiFalutin Rapid Fire Western Grill is the name. I don't know. A western grill on North Oracle Road? It just struck me as silly. For months I was convinced that HiFalutin was not the type of place I wanted to dine. Well, I am happy to say that the folks at this restaurant have proven me wrong.

A little over seven months ago Shari and Jay Garrett, along with co-owner John Murphy, opened the doors of HiFalutin. The Garretts, owners of Baggin's gourmet sandwich shops, have had the idea for this type of western flair restaurant for 16 years now.

After a few visits to HiFalutin they won me over. If you were wondering where the cowboys are, I found them. They work at HiFalutin, and may I say, a fine looking bunch of cowboys--and cowgirls--they are.

It's a little shocking to enter and see servers dressed in western wear and topped with cowboy hats. Hard to take seriously at first, they all were very professional. The smell of mesquite from the wood-fired grill filled the air.

Our ranch-hand server immediately greeted us and suggested trying the house margarita for lunch. We took his suggestion, and he quickly returned with an icy margarita and an enormous bowl of HiFalutin Clam Chowder ($4.95). The menu claims it is "positively the best." I would have to agree. Swimming with giant pieces of clam, the soup was rich with heavy cream. This bowl is definitely enough to split, which was what the server recommended.

J. Garrets' Pot Roast Sandwich ($6.50) and the Pima Canyon Grilled Vegetable Pasta ($7.25) arrived soon after our chowder. The sandwich was as tender as the menu promised and dripping with juice in each bite. The pasta was packed with julienne vegetables, but void of any taste of the soy poblano sauce mentioned in the description.

The open kitchen gave us the opportunity to see the cooks in action. (I like to see who is touching my food.) Even in a busy restaurant, they were cranking out plates with ease. On a dinner visit our Sweet Corn and Salmon Fritter Cakes ($6.96) were served along with a happy-hour special, Chipotle Poppers ($5.95). The cakes were drizzled with a zesty Thousand Island-ish sauce and served with a handful of mixed greens. They were golden in color with a sweet flavor. The poppers were a success at the table as well. Smoky red peppers stuffed with cream cheese and breaded with a spicy pepper combination, served alongside everyone's favorite dipping sauce--ranch.

The appetizers were quickly devoured, and before we had time to order another round of margaritas, our dinners arrived.

The attention to detail is worth noting. The plates were well presented. The Overland Pass Chicken Potpie ($7.25), served in phyllo dough layers, was rich and delicious. Filled with chunks of chicken and a vegetable here and there, it was capped with a mashed potato crust. Another suggestion from our server was the General's Favorite Chicken ($8.95). The General and I obviously have a lot in common. It was my favorite too! The curly noodles were drowned in a light, creamy pesto sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Cassidy's Mexican Barbeque Chicken Salad ($8.95) was piled high with tortilla strips, but not as full of chicken, corn and beans as it should be. And who could pass up the Ranch House Meatloaf ($8.50) at a place like HiFalutin? The loaf was thick and juicy and smothered in gravy, though the basil mashed potatoes lacked a little basil.

And, when you think you couldn't possibly eat anything else ... Lady Jane's Banana Pudding ($3.50) was nothing special, but there is always room for chocolate cake, especially if it is The HiFalutin Chocolate Whiskey Cake ($4.95), covered with Jack Daniels chocolate sauce. The best dessert on the menu is probably the Hot Caramel Apple Crisp Cobbler ($4.95).

A warm and cozy atmosphere, friendly service and the margaritas will keep people coming back to this one-of-a-kind rootin' tootin' HiFalutin Rapid Fire Western Grill.