For years, a stylized oil derrick marked one of Texoma’s favorite dining spots, the Rig One Grill. Then the restaurant changed hands and embarked on two highly unsuccessful transformations into Cajun eateries, under two different owners. Now, it is back to the derrick and once again the restaurant, now christened the North Rig Grill, is proving a popular place.

I had not been to the North Rig since it opened under the current management, so I met a friend there for lunch recently. We were seated quickly and perused the menu to consider what to order.

The grill is a full-service restaurant with a bill of fare offering burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads, steaks & seafood, sides, and everything in between. They also have daily lunch specials, and that day it was meatloaf with pinto beans and cornbread.

I consider meatloaf a good test of any place, and so that was my choice. I substituted broccoli for the beans, even though broccoli is often under or over-cooked and either tough or mushy. My friend, who was a regular, had the chicken fried steak with mac and cheese.

The service was fast, and when our orders came, we dug in. I got a big slice of meatloaf with a squiggle of tomato sauce on top and a large serving of broccoli. The meat loaf was good, perhaps a little less juicy than I like, but it had good flavor. The broccoli was very good. Too often you are served big chunks of unpeeled stems which are tough, along with the florets, but this time the vegetable was properly cooked, fresh tasting and tender.

I usually manage a bite of my companion’s entree just to see what it was like, but this day I was too slow to act, and he finished off the chicken fried steak and the mac and cheese with gusto before I got around to asking for a bite.

For dessert, we split a slice of cheesecake. It was good, moist with a sour cream top layer, and not too sweet. It was a good finish to a good lunch.

One area the grill staff could improve on is the presentation of their dishes, at least the ones I saw. The lunch special presentation was quite plain, just the meatloaf and the side, as was the chicken fried steak. A touch of greenery or a small salad would have made for a more appetizing look and rounded offering. What we see influences our perception of food almost as much as what we smell and taste. Small things can make a difference even if we do not realize it at the time.

The service was excellent. Our waiter was quick and unobtrusive. He brought my friend a fresh glass of soft drink without being asked and kept the water glasses filled. When we mentioned that we were going to share the cheesecake, he cut the slice in half and delivered it on two plates. Nice work.

All in all, North Rig Grill proved a pleasant choice for lunch, and I will be back to try something else.

Texoma dining notes: Congratulations to MG’s on its new digs; also, Crazy Thai Rice & Noodle Restaurant, Texoma’s latest entry in the Asian food field, is now open for business on Texoma Parkway. Keep an eye out for a review soon.

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