The Texas Roadhouse chain promises "legendary food" and "legendary service" with every meal. That might be overstating it a bit, but on a recent visit, our family found the food was good — and plentiful — enough to make us want to return. Plus, the casual atmosphere ensures that any family can enjoy a meal even if a meltdown ensues. That turned out to be handy for us.
My husband, Joe, and I went to the Texas Roadhouse recently with our children, Sophia, 5, and Spencer, 8. We took advantage of call-ahead seating and were happy we did. Calling at 5:24 p.m. on a Saturday, there was already a wait of an hour and 15 minutes. When we arrived, a long line stretched outside, but we gave our number, sat in the "corral" and snacked on complimentary peanuts. Just five minutes later, our number was up.
The hostess escorted us to a booth and gave us rolls with cinnamon honey butter. The kids got crayons and Andy Armadillo paper menus with activities to keep them entertained. Our waitress immediately took our drink order. Sophia colored, and Spencer was instantly glued to the three TVs he could see from his seat.
Both Joe and I ordered the sirloin. I chose the 6-ounce steak, while he opted for the 11-ouncer. Spencer picked the Chicken Critters Ranger Meal, and, as usual, Soph copied her big brother.
In addition to the TVs, there were plenty of things for the kids to look at while waiting for their food, including walls decorated with mounted animal heads. "Is that moose real or fake?" asked Soph. Later, the staff brought out a saddle for a diner who was celebrating a birthday and invited him to sit on it as they sang, "Happy Birthday."
Our food arrived in good time, and the waitress asked us to cut into our steaks to verify they were cooked to our liking. Although Joe's was perfect, mine was still mooing. Our very apologetic waitress took it back to the kitchen.
The kids dove into their dinners of all-white-meat fried chicken strips. All was well until Soph knocked her drink under the table and began to cry. Not just a quiet sob, but an inhale, wait three seconds, then belt-out-a-wail meltdown.
I braced myself for the angry stares, but the music was blaring and no one shot me the "get your kid under control" look. We reassured poor Soph, and she recovered quickly.
The portions were generous; we took home leftovers for the next day's lunch. Also, our waitress was fantastic: When she dropped off the bill, she didn't disappear. Instead, she asked Joe, "Should I be in standby mode?" Yes, please!
We will go back to Texas Roadhouse: The food is good, and the venue is kid friendly, fast and affordable. The meals we chose might not have been the healthiest option — the phrase "coronary nightmare" comes to mind — but that's fine in moderation, and a fun night out is an acceptable trade-off. K