Coming to the end of our long journey, we had just perched for the night in Livingston, TX, about an hour out from Houston. This was our last night on the road together for the coming month, and we were going to make it count...by finding a really great restaurant.
Thing is, though, Livingston in the dark is not a very promising-looking place, and Urbanspoon wasn't coming up with a lot of places to try out. There was this one listing downtown, though, for a place called the Blue Duck. There were no photos of the food, just an exterior and what appeared to be a window with the restaurant's logo. Though we were tired, we were up for the challenge, we thought.
After parking on the street (the Blue Duck is on a block close to the county courthouse), we ducked the rain and found our entry point, a four story building that had apparently received recent care. Inside, we walked through a small dining room where a single group had gathered, and were ushered further in by a hostess.
We didn't feel much better when we saw the menus, which were often-dampened printed sheets slid inside a report cover. In fact, this really, really screamed "bar food" to us.
But at the next table, a family was being asked what they wanted for dessert, and one of the options happened to be a strawberry cheesecake brownie. I looked at Grav and shrugged and he shrugged back. It was close to eight in the evening. We were tired. We weren't going anywhere else.
We finally got up the gumption to order. I was curious about the steak-filled potato, which our waitress insisted was a winner. Grav ordered a pork chop, and we put in for an order of fried mushrooms.
Everything changed at that moment. Thrilled with the prospect of an actual decent meal, we found ourselves salivating as we shot and then downed these magnificent creations. Both of us took to cutting them in half to prevent the inter-oral explosion of hot mushroom juices between our teeth. They were huge, and they were delicious.
What made my cravings worse was the long ramekin packed with macaroni noodles in bechamel sauce, topped with Cheddar cheese, I was allowed a taste of this and almost ordered my own... but with so much food, it would have been a waste.
Red River Cafe, was nothing short of amazing. We even craved, and got, a piece of Boston Cream pie to share betwixt us. It was moist and sweet and custardy and Grav let me have the last bites because he is awesome like that.
We walked out feeling very fortunate, excited still about the meal we had just encountered. This pretty little restaurant served up some great food, despite a rather gnarly menu. So, yeah, don't judge the restaurant by its menu cover.
410 N Washington Ave.
Livingston, TX 77351