Thursday, July 21, 2011

Texas Roadhouse: Not Jake’s Kind of Joint

“Texas Roadhouse's hand-cut steaks, fresh-baked bread, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and made-from-scratch sides will keep you smiling. With ice cold beer and legendary margaritas — what more could you ask for?”

I’ll tell you what: the ability to call ahead as advertised and actually be seated in a timely manner without a whole lot of run-around. 

We gathered at Texas Roadhouse for my nephew’s 11th birthday.  His choice, due to the famed ride on a saddle & wearing of a “hat” (a headband with two braids coming off it – for a BOY?!) while being “serenaded” by the surrounding wait staff and other customers.  An 11-year-old’s dream.

But standing around in elbow-room-only waiting areas for half an hour was not anyone's dream.  The fact that my sister-in-law called ahead for her party of 10, but was told only upon arrival that they wouldn’t seat the party until everyone had arrived was not a dream.  The fact that we have a “better late than never” family mentality about punctuality didn’t help.  (I was about 5 minutes late.  My brother was more like 20 minutes late.  My husband strolled in a half hour past, but that was expected due to a prior engagement.  That was actually earlier than I’d anticipated his arrival.)

Finally my sister-in-law had enough of the waiting around endlessly and inquired about the table again.  She didn’t even have to lie about the whole party having arrived - since they didn’t ask - and we were escorted to our table. 

I suppose the one small enchantment to waiting around forever is that the Roadhouse provides you with ample peanuts for your munching consumption.  And you can just throw the shells on the floor.  Which seems to be quite a walking hazard to me – especially for the multitudes of older folks that seemed to be frequenting the joint – but I’m no Department of Sanitation judge. 

Thankfully the servers bring rolls with them as they guide you to your table, so there is no waiting around for bread.  And normally I wouldn’t give two rips about rolls, but these rolls are indeed special.  Soft, chewy & sweet, they are just about the best bread item around.  Not to mention the cinnamon butter that accompanies them.  (Is that melted butter on top of the roll?  Yes.  Does that mean I shouldn’t spread more butter – mixed with delicious cinnamon – on top of the already buttered roll?  NO.)  And our table was doused with baskets of rolls.  Score one for the Roadhouse.

Since one Texas Roadhouse location is not too far down the road from our church (StoneBridge Christian Church – shameless plug!), they often drop off samples of rolls on Sunday mornings, sweetly enticing church goers to their eatery.  Smart, I say!  (It should be noted that the particular location we visited for this birthday bash was the Shadowlake franchise, though.)

When we finally got around to ordering our food, our waitress was abrupt but helpful and available.  That’s pretty much all I ask.  Friendly is nice, but professional works!

I ordered a 6 oz. sirloin ($9.95), cooked medium-well according to their menu’s directions (some pink); I deem this a normal “medium” but it arrived to my specifications so I was happy.  It was small, but probably the perfect portion for my size.  And it was delicious.

Along with the main course came a side salad (decent – chopped hard-boiled eggs was a nice surprise) and loaded sweet potato.  Heaven.  I love this treat.  Like a little pile of Thanksgiving right there on my plate.  See the picture below & tell me if your mouth doesn’t start watering?!  (Note that my potato wasn’t dripping with as much of whatever that is, but it was still darn good and topped with toasted marshmallows.  Ignore the rest of that dish; I just needed a good shot of the sweet potato.)
Jake ordered boneless pork chops, which turned out to be somewhat dry but paired with the accompanying peppercorn sauce were quite edible.  But the best thing by far on his plate was his side order of sautéed mushrooms.  I will never order a side salad again!  (The picture indicates how small a serving you receive, but they were piled fairly high in that small dish and the taste outweighs the size.  I think you can even see the carmelized garlic edges.  Mmm…)

When most of us had finished our food and were sitting around chatting and waiting for the birthday bash to begin, my husband leaned over to me and whispered, “I don’t think this is my kind of place.”  It was at that moment that I noticed the loud country music (and not the classic kind he’s amenable to) and the wait staff line dancing around the corner.  Not his kind of place indeed.


  1. I had never had a great experience with prime rib. I know many people would say that it is the creme de la creme of the meat world, I was never sold on it. Until I had it at Texas Roadhouse...amazing!

  2. Jake just had prime rib at Grisanti's the other night. NOT my favorite. Have to tell him that about Texas Roadhouse's version. I still hear the Pink Poodle in Crescent is the best around here.