Test Your Manhood

If you're planning to order the chicken-fried steak ($9.95) at Hickory Hollow (101 Heights Boulevard, 713-869-6300, and other locations), the only decision you have to make is what kind of man you'd like to be: a Rancher, a Hired Hand or a Plowman. Any confused-gender males could also choose to be a Cowgirl; just make sure there's no one within earshot when you order one. The Rancher's steak, with all the meat, batter and gravy, feels like it weighs at least a pound and a half. The steak has been pounded and tenderized and dipped in batter and fried crisp. It covers most of the 12-inch round aluminum platter (which looks like the flat pans used to make pizza), leaving little room for the outstanding mashed potatoes. All the steaks come with endless trips to the salad bar as well as "river bottom gravy," a thick, brown sauce, to which has been added copious amounts of black pepper. So, if you're a real man, you'll know what to order.

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Paul Galvani