Man oh man, is this place busy. The listed occupancy says it can hold 400 people, and after we were seated, I noticed only one unoccupied two-person booth. Every other table and booth was filled to capacity, including the bar stools and high-top bar tables. We thought, “Oh no, we’re going to wait an hour.”
And yet we had our drink order taken within 2 minutes, our appetizer order taken and delivered within 6 minutes, and our entree orders taken and delivered within 15 minutes. Unbelievable.
And all through the night, there were never more than two to three tables empty at a time, and those were filled up almost immediately.
So, you say, “The service was great, how was the food?” It was very good.
Billygan’s is a roadhouse, with a casual, rustic, comfort food, happy barroom, family-get-together kind of feeling. After all, the customers eagerly consume 250-plus pounds of peanuts every week and drop the shells on the hardwood floor. Hey, it’s encouraged.
The seating is a mix of booths and two-top to 12-top tables, with a roaring fireplace in the main dining room, and a glass wall so that you can watch the cooks grill up your steaks or burgers. The bar and adjoining, smaller dining room sports wide-screen TVs on every wall.
The list of appetizers attests to the informal, good-eats feeling with selections like The Great Onion, quesadillas, nachos, onion rings, chicken strips, wings and mozzarella sticks ($7.99 to $11.99). The Loaded Potato Skins ($10.49) caught our eye. Six ample skins with a chargrilled flavor were filled with crispy bacon pieces, Jack cheese, sour cream and chives, and came with a ranch dipping sauce. The filling was soft and moist.
We noticed that trays of burgers, fish and chicken, Philly cheesesteak, Reuben, BLT, shaved steak, and pulled pork sandwiches ($10.99 to $14.99) seemed very popular as they passed by. You can get them with fries, sweet potato fries or onion rings.
Lest the veggie-minded folks go wanting, Billygan’s does have a number of salads including BBQ Chicken, Shrimp Louie, Cozumel Chicken, Shaved Steak, Chicken Caesar, Cobb and Salmon, ranging from $13.99 to $16.99, with a wide choice of housemade dressings. There are daily soup offerings as well, with cups for $4.99 and bowls for $5.99.
Hand-cut beef dominates the entrees with top sirloin in several preparations and sizes, with ribeye, filets, T-bones and New York cuts as the main acts; standing in the wings are prime rib, country fried steak and pot roast selections. The least expensive is a 6-ounce top sirloin ($16.99), the priciest a 16-ounce T-bone ($29.99). Understudies are full- and half-rack baby back ribs at $18.99 and $24.99 respectively.
We gave the Country Fried Steak ($13.49) and the 8-ounce Slow Roasted Prime Rib ($22.99) a try and both were quite nicely done.
The steak was crisp on the outside, not at all greasy, and soft and tender inside, mainly because we asked the white gravy to be served on the side so it could be added as my guest desired. That way the breaded coating wasn’t soaked and soggy. A lesson learned.
The prime rib was cooked just as I’d asked — nicely medium rare. It was fairly well marbled, and easy to cut with a regular knife. The cook could have used more of the “Billygan’s Own Blended Seasonings” as it certainly wasn’t overspiced. Perhaps a small ramekin of those spices could be served on the side? But it nevertheless vanished. The baked potato was, well, baked, moist inside and served with butter and chives as I’d asked. I must mention the complimentary yeasty soft rolls and honey butter. OMG. You can get more if you ask. Ask.
Dessert was an extremely messy affair.
We had passed on the bread pudding and apple crisp but absolutely couldn’t resist the Messy Sundae ($5.49). Holy Willy Wonka, they weren’t kidding. What arrived was two mountainous scoops of ice cream in a very large sundae dish that was filled to the brim with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Actually it was way over the brim and was dripping rivers of chocolate and cream all the while we dug into the gooey mass. I have to admit it was fun, silly and quite delicious — and way too much for two people after a full dinner.