Smothered with Affection

Texans have had such a long love affair with chicken-fried steak that it's practically our official state meat. Just one bite of the smothered steak at Alfreda's Cafeteria [5101 Almeda, (713)523-6462], though, would convince any right-minded Texan that this round steak also-ran deserves the title. Unlike the other soul-food plates at Alfreda's -- weekly offerings such as chitterlings or oxtails -- the dish is served up daily for just $3.50. That buys a heaping helping of tender beef slices, all dredged in flour, braised for hours and smothered in homemade brown gravy. Many of the beef bites truly melt in your mouth. Your tongue will be so thankful that it may lobby the legislature to get the lowly meat a little state-sanctioned respect.
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Melanie Knight