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Review of Texas Roadhouse, Kingston, NY

Recently opened, Texas Roadhouse is part of a chain, with 300 restaurants around the country.

My favorite Tex-Mex restaurant is closed on Mondays, so I visited the new store (located on Route 9W near the Kohls department store) last Monday.

My first impression was that they were really pushing the steaks hard as you walk in the door, asking if you want to pick out your piece of meat and have it started on the grill before you sit down.

My second impression was the loudness of this place. This is not the place to have a conversation. Lots of whooping and hollering and very loud country and western music ("I like both kinds of music: Country AND Western!") and during one song (I suppose that it is a signature song) they have even more wooping and hollering and extremely loud music while the waitrons (dressed in denim and T-shirts) did line dancing in the aisles between the tables. They had a huge number of staff, on a Monday night numbering at least 50 or 60 waiters, waitresses, servers, hostesses, cooks, etc.

Since I was there to eat, I decided to try a "Country Fried Chicken", with mashed potatoes and country gravy, having lived in Texas and in Oklahoma in a past life. For a drink I had sweet tea (iced tea that is already sweetened.) The meal was delivered to me after about a 10 minute wait, during which I observed the festivities, including a person in a large armadillo mascot outfit (with the big floppy hat and all!)

After having eaten chicken fried steak and country fried chicken all over the southwest, I have to say that this had the weirdest taste I could imagine in a CFS. The gravy had a sweet taste to it, almost like they had added sugar to the gravy as it was cooking. The chicken was breaded and cooked well, but the gravy is an integral part of the combination and the taste put me off. (Of the other chains that do CFS, I tend to prefer the Chili's rendition, although they only have steak and not chicken.)

The website of the chain is http://www.texasroadhouse.com, and you can look at the menus from around the country, where you will discover that they charge more (as much as an extra dollar per item) in New York for most of their meals than they do in other locations.

Overall, I give this particular restaurant location a C, but if you just want to get rowdy and drink and make believe that you are in Texas, you might just end up giving it a B+.

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  1. George,

    Thanks for the hot tip. I typically avoid all chain restaurants, but I've been hearing good things about a chilpolte grill? I know there's one down 9W in Saugerties, but I don't think it's part of the national chain.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dropdeadcookie

      Yep, that "Chipotle Grill" is definitely not part of the chain. I have driven by the place on 9W, but haven't stopped yet... I now have a reason to...

      gb

      1. re: dropdeadcookie

        Me and my family eat at chipotle grill in saugerties all the time. Its definitely not part of the chain. Its full name is chipotle steak & seafood grill. I would highly recommend it, excellent food at very reasonable prices.

      2. Chipotle Grill is a chain and owned believe it or not by MCDonalds.
        All the dancing and stuff you mentioned must be for the grand opening, as they don't do any of that at the one in Live Oak ,Tx. by me.It does sometimes get loud,but that's more from the customers.Mine does have very good food, and I'm going there for my birthday Monday.

        4 Replies
        1. re: HollyDolly

          Chipotle Grill is definitely a chain, but has not been owned by McDonalds for a couple of years - complete divestment was in October of 2006. Not that that makes it any less of a chain, per se, but no relation to the golden arches any more.

          1. re: HollyDolly

            alot of the chains(Joes Crab Shack, Texas Roadhouse, etc) that have the line dancing as their schtick, do it when the kitchen gets "in the weeds", and needs to buy some time for the kitchen. I was told this by a former line cook at a couple of these spots.

            Texas Roadhouse is what it is. Cheap steaks(quality and price), and cheap drinks. Chipotle on the other hand is one of the worst chains around in my humble opinion

            1. re: swsidejim

              We have Joe's Crab Shack here too in the San Antonio area,and have never seen them do the line dancing schtick at all. Maybe they do that in certain areas of the country cause the natives get restless,but have never seen it here.

              1. re: HollyDolly

                I eat at TR fairly often. At the one I go to, they don't do line dancing. There is no one walking around dressed as an armadillo(or any other type of mascot.) There's a steak display near the entry but no says anything to you about them. The "happy birthday" song they do is annoying enough--I hope they keep the rest of that stuff in NY or wherever else they do it.

          2. Have to say - all the TRs I've been to were LOUD.
            most of them have stopped doing the line junk tho... but unfortunately not all.

            1. i live about five minutes from the one in ashland, ky, which is supposedly their top earner. i imagine it's because there are a lot of people around here who are obsessed with those rolls, and the tastes around here tend to lean toward meat and potatoes more than anything else. personally i'm not a huge fan, but they please their clientele. the place is always packed.

              1. I have always had good experiences with Texas Roadhouse, especially with the regular steak and Chicken Fried Chicken. Since the place is new, do not judge it too much since the staff and kitchen are still trying to learn everything. My guess is that the extra noise is only temporary during the Grand Opening phase to keep the customers happy while the kitchen is learning the ropes.

                1. When I was in my mid twenties I visited Louisville KY and Pembroke Pines FL and thoroughly enjoyed Texas Roadhouse at both locations. Fast Forward ten years. My wife 2 yr old and I decide to go to Kingston NY Texas Roadhouse. We wait the obligatory 60-90 minutes to get a booth( there are no tables per se), hear the history of their hard sell steaks, and they proceed to offer my obviously pregnant wife an alcoholic drink. We are excited about the ribfest so after they come back with our drinks (non alcoholic), we order ribs. Oops.....they just ran out. After we settle for our second choices a manager type individual apologizes for the lack-o-ribs. My Caesar salad arrives with 1 crouton on it. At least they didn't run out of croutons. As our entrees arrive the server ( this is the only job of this individual) apologizes, but they just ran out of mashed potatoes. She tells us that it is busier than they expected, hence the lack of mashed potatoes. About five minutes later she arrives with mashed potatoes. So I'm thinking that someone left theirs and we got em. You can kind of see where this is going. So while I'm at the table I call national customer service (their # is on the menu) and leave a message. The food was ok, the flavor was strange. Not classic pulled pork taste, very sugary. I explain to my wife that we'll just pay for it on our credit card and then dispute the charge, claiming that we weren't satisfied with our purchase. Our waitress soon arrives and like she learned training day has the nerve to ask us how everything was. And as she hands us the check she says that her manager isn't going to charge us. So we lost two and a half hours of our day and got a free bad meal. Who says there no such thing as free lunch? We're still waiting to hear back from national customer service center.

                  1. This is my MIL's favorite place to eat, and since there isn't a location close to her home, we often take her out to our local Texas Roadhouse when she is in town to visit. They are a decent chain IMO.

                    I did not enjoy their country fried chicken, though I don't have enough experience with this dish to make any kind of comparison. Their ribs aren't bad, considering that they're not smoked. They use a pretty good smoky sweet sauce, which definitely has a good hit of molasses, or at least brown sugar. The sirloin kebabs are tasty, and never tough and overcooked, which isn't hard to do with such a lean cut. In general, the beef is pretty decent. It obviously isn't sitting around for long before it's cooked (why else do most people go to a steakhouse), they use an open flame, have a decent marinade, and know how to cook it. It's definitely not USDA Prime, but you would be unreasonable to assume so for steak at under $20 a plate. Basically, If you order any of the steaks medium/medium rare, you won't be disappointed. My favorite dish is their fried catfish, which thankfully, is farmed from U.S. waters and tastes the way that catfish is supposed to taste, not like that disgusting Vietnamese catfish commonly sold in U.S. restaurants, which has a heavy algae character.

                    I definitely consider this a value steakhouse which is worth trying out. I can only speak for my location (Alliance, Oh) though.

                    Oh, and they don't do any dancing at this location (as far as I know). Just birthday songs. Actually, we were there for my 2yo daughter's birthday, and there was a cute moment when they handed her the horse (fake stuffed animal horse's head on a short broomstick with reins) to ride, and she walked around with it for a few minutes, loudly saying "go horsey, GO!" LOL!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: madgreek

                      My husband and I ate at the Kingston, NY chain last Monday. Normally, we are "avoid chain restaurant" snobs but we decided to give it a try. We don't necessarily hate chains but since we are fortunate to live in the Hudson Valley, we have tons of excellent restaurant choices.

                      We were hungry early that night so we ended up checking out their version of early bird meals called the "Two fer". We were surprisingly impressed with the quality of their food. They served us fresh, warm dinner rolls and a bucket of peanuts as soon as we sat down. I assume the rolls to make us feel right at home and the nuts to make us chill out like we are in a good ol' texas bar...don't know. :)

                      Anyway, I ordered the 6 ounce sirloin steak with a house salad and fries and my husband had the pulled pork with a house salad and a cup of chili. BTW all of this food was only $15.99! I asked for my sirloin cooked med-rare and that is how it came and it was pretty good quality meat too. The waitress brought over extra BBQ sauce for the pulled pork without even being asked.

                      The service was very good. The only things that we didn't like is the constant attention from the staff, the line dancing, and the "Let's party like it is a big celebration" atmosphere. Overall, I would recommend it...especially if you want a cheap, easy dinner from 4-6pm. Oh yeah...most importantly...the drinks were extremely reasonable there too...my husband ordered a long island ice tea and it came in a nice size mug for $5 and I ordered a 10oz mug of their lager for $2!