Americans have become much more discerning with the quality of their meat over the past few years. Beef in particular has come under the microscope for myriad reasons, and with public awareness at an all time high of where our food is grown, how it is raised, and the process it takes to get to us, educated consumers are starting to dominate the market. Plano’s latest butcher and restaurant, BAR-Ranch Steak Company is looking to satisfy that market by putting quality products onto the plates of Plano residents.
Nestled in the heart of Downtown Plano’s 15th Street between Lockhart Smokehouse and Urban Crust, BAR-Ranch Steak Company is a small location with big intentions. Sporting a compact dining area and modest open-air kitchen, the space is dominated by the 2,000-cubic-foot custom dry-aging room, complete with a Himalayan sea salt brick wall. Owner and operator Lane Rainwater claims it as the space’s pièce de résistance.
“Our focus is dry-aging beef; it’s the heartbeat of our place,” he stated. “We wanted [the room] to be visible from the street. We wanted for people to come in and see it, to have an experience unlike anywhere else.” With decorative stained wood framing the glass that looks into the dry-aging room, it feels more like staring into an art gallery than it does a room full of beef.
With dry-aging being the focal point of BAR-Ranch, Lane had to invest an enormous portion of his time into nailing each and every aspect of it down. For as simple as it sounds, the process is much, much more complicated than just dehydrating a slab of meat.
“When I first got into dry-aging, I read a lot about different aging rooms,” Lane stated. “Our room is modeled after the older way of doing things. It gives it a different flavor profile.” By taking inspiration from local chefs such as John Tesar of Knife, as well as iconic examples such as Gallaghers in New York, Lane’s system is a combination of old school concepts supported by new age tech.
“It’s the same thing they had back in the ’30s and ’40s,” he explained. “Except we have done everything possible to keep it all at a precise temperature. We have UV light to kill off any bad bacteria, and our environment is created for a particular type of mold that grows on the beef. Over time you’ll get different kinds of mold. You’ll get different flavors. Your dry-aging room will develop its own living mold.”
Much like Boudin Bakery in San Francisco with its 160-year-old living sourdough starter that gives bread a one-of-a-kind flavor, Lane and his specialty room aim to make the perfect living, breathing ecosystem for the perfect steak.
A Cut Above
Everything at BAR-Ranch is cut to order from the primals of the cow – massive sections of beef out of which individual steaks or cuts are made.
“We are a craft butcher shop, with whichever piece of protein we are cutting that day,” Lane said. “We will have items ready for walk-ins, but we want people to call ahead so we can have everything ready for them.” With an ever changing selection making its way through his shop, customers can find simple everyday USDA Prime cuts sourced from Texas ranches, all the way up to opulent A5 Wagyu imported directly from Japan.
Despite being a butcher shop first and foremost, BAR-Ranch Steak Company will be open for dining in. With a custom-built Argentinian wood-fired grill and rotisserie, Lane isn’t neglecting the lunch and dinner nature of a good steakhouse. He plans on offering sandwiches, salads and of course steaks, custom cooked to order. Customers will be able to order a balsamic strip steak salad and Akaushi Wagyu sandwich with garlic and thyme butter, as well as a strong selection of local and domestic wines.
Alongside the usual lunch fare he also plans to offer an A5 Wagyu burger, without any of the usual fillers that many other shops use to stretch the premium cut of meat. Coming in at an eye-watering $230, Lane stated that the burger is intended to feed a group of four, and that it comes dressed simply, alongside a freshly made bun delivered from a local Bavarian bakery.
Along with lunch and dinner, the restaurant is slated to be open for specialty events as well. Lane said he intends to host private dining on Saturday nights, where each person pays a set amount for a full-course meal. He has also tossed the idea around of hosting cooking classes, wine pairings as well as wine and Wagyu tastings once a month.
He is aiming high with this location. “We want it to be an experience on par with anyone here,” he said. “Texas has a lot of great steakhouses; it’s a high bar to reach.”
BAR-Ranch Steak Company officially opens Oct. 14.BAR-Ranch Steak Company >