Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tales From The Bar Side #2: Texas Roadhouse

Methuselah is more than an Old Testament figure. I give this name to a friend and colleague of mine who is (slightly) over thirty, still quite active, and continues a never-ending quest for Quality and Value. Since Day One of this blog, he has chided me from time to time about never having visited Texas Roadhouse, one of his favorite places to dine and (he assures me) quite good and affordable. In the past, I demurred, because until now, the closest location to Mi Casa was Mesquite. The memory of our conversation was still fresh in my mind when my lovely bride the Rock Star pranced into the room the other day, planted herself square in front of me, hands on hips, and proclaims, "Guess what restaurant opened a branch just a couple of miles from our house? Right, Texas Roadhouse! So, when do you wanna go, huh?" Or something like that. In any case, before I knew what hit me, we were on our way to this brand spanking new restaurant, determined to reprise our Bar Adventure that had worked so successfully at The Keg just a few short weeks ago.

Okay, so the interior may be best described as Corporate Tex. What do you expect from an Indiana-based company that has succeeded well enough to expand successfully to 44 states? (Outback must be shaking in their boots at this.) Still, the polished wood and stereotypical Texas murals connotes fun, and unless you are a total curmudgeon, you will probably like it as well. In short order, we proceeded to the bar where the peripatetic Mindy took charge of us, taking our drink orders quickly and asking if we would like menus. Wow, no prices over $20, not even for the T-Bone steak! Right away, the Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs caught our eyes, particularly when Mindy assured us they were cooked for three days to assure tenderness. We promptly ordered those and the Grilled Shrimp. Those ribs, when they arrived, proved to be very tender baby backs with such good flavor that we decided there and then to return for the steaks at a later date. Smokily delicious and toothsome, the ribs brought some skin-on fries with them to the party, and all were devoured quite happily. The grilled shrimp were good as well but rather bland; much better was the garlic toast they were served on, buttery and crunchy. We made a nice dinner on these and on the first-rate complimentary bread served with honey butter. (Honey butter always puts me in mind of the late, lamented Nickerson Farms roadside restaurants of years gone by; that chain featured home cooking and an actual colony of bees working in glass hives at each location.)

In short, we filled up quite nicely, declined the offer of a brownie for dessert (I would like to investigate either the brownie or the Granny's Apple Classic on a return visit), and made our satisfied way home. Website is so you can investigate for yourself if Methuselah is right and a bunch of Hoosiers can indeed whip up authentic roadhouse cuisine. Investigate soon, and, yeah, yeah:


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