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Surprisingly good meal at Texas Roadhouse

We were down in West Virginia this past weekend visiting my grandmother and since her area isn't known for its food, we opted to eat at Texas Roadhouse one night. Not having a location near me and thus never having eaten there before, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was.

The rolls they give you when you sit down, along with the cinnamon butter, were so good I ate one for dessert later. The salads were fresh (hubby got the Caesar and grandma got the house) and both were quite good. The Caesar dressing had real anchovy and garlic flavor and the house had pieces of perfectly cooked hardboiled egg, which was a nice touch that elevated the salad above the usual lettuce, tomato and carrot.

I got the pulled pork sandwich and asked for my fries to be chili cheese instead of the regular (an addition that only cost an extra 99 cents) and was surprised to see the nice, normal portions. My sandwich was quite good, with tender pork and tangy BBQ sauce. The fries were amazing - well seasoned and the chili had chunks of tomato and bacon in it. My husband's steak was well seasoned, cooked to a perfect medium rare, and not at all fatty. My grandmother got the half slab of ribs and the meat was falling off the bone. I didn't try her mashed potatoes with gravy because those didn't look very good to me, but she was happy.

Service was exceptionally good as well. All in all I was impressed. I don't know if quality varies by location, but I'd eat at this one again the next time we're down visiting.

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  1. I always like Texas Roadhouse, I find their food better than most chains, and the $2 Coronas are not bad either. I typically get the sirloin steak, cup of chili, and the mashed potatoes with the "brown" gravy. The steaks are always cooked to order, and the sides are good as well. I have sampled the ribs when my mom orders them, and they are ok, not from a smoker so I wouldnt order them for myself, but as you said tender.

    I have gone to the Texas Roadhouse in Joliet, IL, and in Naperville, IL. and thought they were both good, with the Joliet location being better.

    1. I went to a Texas Roadhouse about a week ago and was also somewhat impressed. I was a little worried with the barrel of peanuts in the aisle and the faux-Texas decor, but the warm rolls and cinnamon butter were a good start. My dinner was the chicken fried chicken with chili and loaded sweet potato (caramel sauce & toasted marshmallows). It was very good and filled up the plate - about two smashed breasts - with tasty breading and an excellent country gravy. The chili was OK, but the sweet potato was excellent. Order the loaded version and let it cool while eating the entree, it makes a good dessert!

      My companion had the grilled sirloin with regular baked sweet potato and green beans. The sirloin was very tasty and cooked right with the sides also being above average. Service was a little too intrusive, but ours was a trainee that night. I will try the fries next time. Overall it is a pretty good addition to the usual suburban chain landscape.

      1. We love Texas Roadhouse in southern NH. I love the rib eye and ribs. Service was excellent, those rolls are really good. I can't remember the sides but we were really impressed, the location is always very busy and long waits.

        1. I think it is one of the best chains you can go to. We can feed 3 of us for under $50.00 which is a great deal when it comes to a steak house. We usually order prime rib and ribs. I also like to order the small slab of ribs and fries off the appetizer menu as it is only $6.95. Not a bad deal at all.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kari

            My husband always orders that appetizer. That with a soup could be a meal though. TR is one of our favorite places to eat (we live very close to one) when we are just having a relaxing evening.

          2. I'm in full agreement- Texas Roadhouse is way better than it has any right to be. I get their fall-off-the-bone ribs (they really do fall off the bone, I know some of you don't like it that way) and steak combo just about every time I go, and I'm always extremely satisfied. Sometimes I wish the place wasn't so very loud, but it's worth it.

            1. I had the unfortunate experience of dining at a Texas Roadhouse yesterday.

              I was babysitting two kids, and we ordered the chicken fingers. It was 80% fried batter and 20% actual chicken. The fries were salted beyond recognition. We also asked for two chocolate milks, and they brought them out in cups with lids and straws. That was a really good idea- except the cups were 16 ounce cups!! What a waste- and I had to dump 1/2 of it out so that the kids didn't get stomach aches!

              I had the Chicken salad which reminded me of something that would be served at McDonalds. Again, the chicken pieces were all fried batter and no chicken. My friend had potatos and steak which looked pretty good, but I didn't try it. The absolute worst part of the meal was the sweet potato side we ordered. Instead they brought us a sweet potato that was slathered with some syrup and marshmallows!! It was so offensive, we asked the waitress to bring us another sans all the syrupy goop.

              No wonder American's are obese!

              5 Replies
              1. re: blondie60614

                That's too bad Blondie! We have one close by and love it. They are very accommodating when you make special requests, and we always enjoy it. My only problem is the peanuts - I hate to toss them on the floor, but love to eat them. If I'm not careful I will fill up on peanuts!

                1. re: blondie60614

                  Texas Roadhouse has gotten a lot of good reviews here, which is unusual for a chain. It sounds like your problems may have been due to different expectations. TR is not by any means a healthy place, and it sounds like you may be expecting more than they are used to. They are really good with special requests, and getting more than you expect is usually a good thing. The menu states that the sweet potato comes with marshmallows and syrup - but they can probably make it without upon request.

                  1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                    I was kinda thinking the same thing. Although a really good restaurant should make all of their menu items well, I would not be surprised for Texas Road House to have mediocre or even bad chicken fingers and chicken salad.
                    They are known for really good affordable steaks, ribs, and burgers. Give the steak a try - it's not to shabby and well worth the price.

                    1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                      They can - I got mine with just some of the tasty cinnamon butter stuff.

                    2. re: blondie60614

                      That's unfortunate. I have always ordered the chicken crispers at Texas Roadhouse and never been disappointed. Perhaps you got a bad batch, as I've never noticed a problem with too little chicken too much breading before.

                    3. We went to a TR in suburban St. Louis - the food was OK - maybe even good, but the place reminded me of a college frat party.

                      Blasting music - some were line dancing but no one was able to talk - you had to yell. At a table near us someone had a birthday so they brought out a saddle on a stand for the B-day person to sit on as the servers screamed (sang??) at the person.

                      I guess I am an old fuddy-duddy, but no way we return!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rich in stl

                        I ate at one last night. Delicious food. Service was good, but they try a little too hard to sell you on the whole experience.

                        Rich - I'm 22 and we sat in the bar. As dumb and cheesy as the dancing was... I was mostly miffed I couldn't talk to anyone at my table for 5 minutes. Let me ignore the dancing, turn the music down. Goodness.

                      2. Ive never been to a Tex Roadhouse and I am wondering what on the menu is recommended? I have worked in food service, and tend to have a very dim view of chain restaurants.

                        I looked at the PDF menu and noticed that they have a very limited BBQ repertoire. I had hoped to find brisket or sausage, but neither are listed. How is their CFS?

                        Is it worth a 45 minute drive?

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Kelli2006

                          In my only visit to TR (none in my area), I had the CFS. It was great. I am pretty picky about CFS, and there are very few out there that satisfy. The one at TR was seasond well, and seemed to be a decent cut of actual steak instead of being cheap cube steak or grisly flank/skirt steak. I would go back just for the CFS. If only they would open in LA . . .

                          1. re: Kelli2006

                            I had the chicken fried chicken instead and liked it very much. The chicken took up the whole plate, and the gravy was nearly perfect. The baked sweet potato side was an excellent dessert with the rolls and peanuts as a nice touch. Their steaks and BBQ are also very good.

                            1. re: Kelli2006

                              They're more of a steakhouse, not a bbq joint. Their steaks are good, even the ground steak "Roadkill." It's been my experience that TR cooks their steaks on the done side-- medium being closer to medium-well, rare being closer to medium-rare, etc. Don't know if all Texas Roadhouses are that way but I take it into consideration when I'm ordering at my local TR. Pork chops are good. Burgers are good. CFS is pretty good but always sits on my stomach like a lead weight. BBQ ribs are good although they aren't true barbecue. Not a fan of their bbq chicken. Mashed potatoes and gravy are good. Green beans are probably considered overcooked by most people, but they're fairly true to the way I grew up eating them in the south and I like them. Rolls are very good. Chili is good. The fried chicken items are okay. The only thing I've had from TR that was disgusting was the shrimp skewer--I've only had it once so it might have been an aberration, but I won't be ordering it again to find out. My biggest complaint is the noise, but I still go to TR anyway.

                              1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                I agree with your post, and have found the same thing regarding the temperature of their steaks. I find that most places that are not high end steak restaurants tend to have an issue with getting the proper doneness for steaks. The ribs as you mentioned are ok for oven baked ribs, but are not true bbq, and I also like their mashed potoatoes, and gravy.

                                The $2 coronas, and corona lites are not bad either.

                                For a inexpensive steak I can handle TR, probably one of the better chains around.

                                1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                  CFS is a disaster at the roadhouse if you've ever tasted the real thing at holes in the wall in Texas. More pepper in the batter doesn't make them better, nor does gravy that's buttermilk based.
                                  Mr Shallots likes their salads (the eggs are their big selling points).
                                  Their rolls are good, but the margarine and cinnamon aren't a good addition.
                                  When we go, we try to avoid the loud times.

                                  1. re: shallots

                                    If I could change one thing about the Texas Roadhouse it would be those rolls.Yes they are good but the sugar is a turn off.I like their Ribeye steak,its a little thin but maybe thats a good thing considering the young kitchen staff doesnt really have the doneness thing down.I like the way they are proud to say that the chili doesnt have beans and I often get a cup.(And they leave the cheese off of it when I request it so.)I'm not too crazy about their onion-flower appetizer,I'd much prefer an onion-loaf like at Red Hot and blue.
                                    The thing about the local TR is it took over the building owned by a much-loved local restaurant.They blew out the cozy fireside dining room and made it into a big airy space.I dont hate the old owner for selling out,everybody gives it up at some point and he was well rewarded.But I guess I was suspicious of the new place and maybe a little harsh the first times I was there.I like it now,and at this local one there is never a wait on weeknights.I get my moneys worth there.But the sugar on the rolls has to go.

                                    1. re: shallots

                                      Born in Texas and grew up eating the real thing at holes-in-the-wall in Texas and Oklahoma. For a chain restaurant, I still think Texas Roadhouse does a pretty decent job with CFS. Of all the chain places I've been, the only one I can think of that does better with CFS is the Black-Eyed Pea, but it is much better than TR's.

                                      1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                        I've never been to the Lone Star State.But the Black Eyed Pea had a store here for maybe 2-3 years.Their Chicken fried steak was indeed very good-much better than the truckstop versions I was familiar with.They were doing a rocking business,then one day I went there and it was gone-signage stripped off the building and dark inside.

                                2. It looks like our humble town of Williston, VT will be the new home of Tex RH. They will be joining Ponderosa (awful 20 years ago and I would imagine they still are), and Longhorn (my feelings are similar to most of the TX RH sentiments, better than expected). I wonder if both will survive ???

                                  1. We always seem to find a TR on our way up north to visit family. We have stopped at the one outside of Charlotte several times in our travels. It is always good. We have 2 kids who have had the chicken fingers. When one did not finish her dinner, I just had to take the leftover with us (even though we didn't have but a cooler)-I have never had a better kids chicken entree in my life. It was huge, not dried out and not all batter. Unlike Blondies post. They must vary certain items from resto to resto. Anyway-it is very good for a chain! We always try to time our dinner or lunch stop with a TR.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: chocchipcookie

                                      We have a Texas RoadHouse in Live Oak,up by the Regal Cinema.I like to go there.The steaks are reasonable,and they have always do it medium rare like I ask for.Because of the design of the place,due to acoustics they all seem to get loud.
                                      I like the ribs,haven't tried any chicken or porkchops yet.
                                      Blondie should try the place again,and order something different for the kids and herself.Just could have been the regular cook's day off,if you know what I mean.
                                      It may vary on the location because like all chains,much depends on the manager,help,tec.
                                      Another thing everyone,tell them you don't want any marshmallows on your sweetpotato.That's what I do.At home growing up,we might have had candied sweetpotatoes at times,but no dumb marshmallows.Most of the time we just roasted them in the skin and ate them with butter only.
                                      Another thing for everyone.The TR here in my part of Texas DOESNOT bring out a saddle for the birthday person to sit on. That must be some St.Louis thing they think the Texas places do. Don't recall shrimp on a skewer at mine.
                                      No they don't serve briskett or sausage,mainly just ribs.
                                      I like the rolls.I haven't noticed them as having sugar on top or too sweet.
                                      That is all.

                                    2. We just ate there a week ago. After weeks of every ethnic meal we could think of we just wanted steak and the rest. I love their salad... super fresh lettuce, tomato and egg..... I usually get their salmon with a baked potato. I prefer it to Lone Star.

                                      1. The steaks here are consistently good, especially at this price point. I appreciate the fact that they even offer 6 ounce steak on the menu, other places around here offer 8 ounce as the smallest size. Service is good to great 90% of the time. Ours is wait staffed by 18 year old girls, obviously encouraged to act 'perky,' which pleases some, less so others. They are very good at accomodating requests and specifically ask whether you'd like your order with 'everything on it.' They alsways ask me to cut into my steak to verify it is done to my liking, if it isn't it goes back to the kitchen. I only remember asking them to take it back once. My steaks are med rare.

                                        It can be loud but they try to accomodate requests to seat us at the quietest table available.

                                        My single complaint is that ginormous Indian bust painting, he looks like he's about to cry. They almost sat us directly underneath it, and I sincererly could not imagine enjoying my meal under his sorrowful gaze so I asked to be moved. The hostess laughed and said she understood. Do all of the locations have this painting?

                                        ETA: They serve their rolls with sweetened butter. They also serve real butter [not sweetened] on their baked potatoes. For me this is a plus.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: dishchrista

                                          There is a painting of an Indian in every restaurant but they are not all the same.

                                          1. re: dishchrista

                                            6 ounce offering is a big plus. I don't eat much, and rarely order steak. But I was almost able to finish the 6 ounce version. Nice size choice.

                                          2. We used to go to the one in Gainesville, FL all the time, and never had a bad meal there. We'd often get coupons for free appetizers, so between the wonderful rolls, a nice appetizer (like their version of the Bloomin' Onion), and an entree that often came with a side and sometimes a salad as well, we'd eat like kings for relatively little money. Their ribs were always great.

                                            Texas Roadhouse is one chain I wish we had locally!

                                            1. To me it's a typical midrange U.S. chain--not too different from eating at Outback, or Chili's for that matter, except for the faux-Texas trappings. I didn't have any complaints about the food at the one I visited. The noise level, on the other hand, is noxious.

                                              1. I just went this weekend. The best steak I've had in a long time. I don't like the typical grilled steak - hard and chewy/burnt on the outside and cold on the inside. They were out of prime rib so the waitress offered a ribeye cooked on the flat-top (diner type?) grill. It was soo good. Cooked perfectly to order, med-rare, and not burnt at all on the outside. i would definitely go back soon.