There's a new Texas Roadhouse in town so we gave it a try. I think they have over 400 stores now, nationwide, and the stock has been a big winner.
You can't make reservations but you can call ahead to get on a list which supposedly shortens your wait time. Pleasant covered sitting area on benches outside where you wait with your beeper to be called. They pipe in contemporary country music to the waiting area. We waited 13.5 minutes to get a table at 6:45 PM having called ahead. The place is brand new, probably less than a month old, so they're very busy as people check it out for the first time.
You can pick out your steak from a glass case but we needed to study the menu first. There's a barrel of crayons and coloring sheets for the kids as you come in, which was good. They give you warm sort-of-sweet rolls with whipped butter. We got a far booth that was fairly comfortable. There is a bar area in the center of the place surrounded with a half dozen or so TVs high on the walls which we were blessedly away from.
Shortly after being seated the waitress came and asked us if we were ready to order. No, we had just sat down that minute. Later, we decided on the New York Strip (the boy) with house salad and mashed potatoes for $18.99, the 20 oz. Bone-in Ribeye (me) with green beans and mashed potatoes (with brown gravy) for $25.99 (recommended by my Twitter buddy, RaginCajun), and a BBQ chicken and ribs combo (baby and mother) with fresh veggies and green beans for $17.99. I drank unsweetened iced tea ($2.59, unlimited refills), the others had water.
The food didn't come out too quickly, this isn't fast food. This gives you the chance to fill up completely on the sweetish rolls and peanuts-in-the-shell (there's a bucket of them on the table) before it arrives. I asked the waitress how to log on to WiFi but she said she didn't know, and apparently couldn't be bothered to find out how.
There were potted cactuses (cacti?) and other southwestern plants placed around, which I appreciated. The rest of the decor is kind of corporate Texas kitsch, murals of Injuns, and woven rugs on the walls, and the required-by-law bullhorns. But there was a frantic quality to the place, the contemporary country music was a little too loud and the chatter of a full house really made for quite a din. And the air conditioning was on too high, it was chilly inside.
When the food came, it brought one thing to mind: salt. Salt City. Texas Saltmine. All the meat was over-salted. Maybe this is just because they're new and getting the hang of salting things, but I suspect not. My ribeye was the best (least over-salted) of the bunch, but everything else was like Wow, this is crazy salty. We each ate about a third of our meal and doggy-bagged the rest. The gravy on my mashed potatoes tasted just like the KFC formula, which I like. Maybe they source it from the same factory.
The grand total for the four of us with tax and tip was $83.
Some suggestions to management:
- Turn up (er, down) the air conditioning. Make it warmer.
- Turn down the contemporary country music
- Tell the waitresses how one can log on to WiFi
- Tell the cooks to reduce the amount of salt they use by at least half.
As I said, maybe this is all growing pains stuff and they'll work it out in time. I'll check back in six months to a year from now to see if they've implemented all my free advice.