We used to live at the very northern edge of Durham, and there aren’t a whole lot of good restaurants up there. Texas Roadhouse was the nearest restaurant with consistently good food, so we used to stop by quite often. Since moving to Cary we don’t get around this area much anymore, but my husband really wanted to go to Texas Roadhouse last weekend.
I called ahead and let them know we were going to be there in about 45 minutes, so when we arrived we didn’t have to wait at all. I would recommend always phoning ahead before stopping by Texas Roadhouse.
When you’re first seated, they bring out a small basket of rolls with some cinnamon butter. My son loves the rolls and will usually eat 2 or 3, neglecting his “real” food. I think they’re pretty tasty, and the rolls are endless, so if you eat all of them they’ll keep bringing more out, without even asking.
The drink and food menus are already at the table. Texas Roadhouse offers some beer selection, but it’s mostly the same old Coors/Bud/Miller you’ll find anywhere else. They do also have a Blue Moon, which I like, but it’d be nice if they tried to offer a few more kinds of beer if they’ve got the saloon vibe going already. Most of the mixed drinks are also pretty foo-foo. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
My husband ordered the fried pickles as an appetizer, despite there always being twice as much food as you really need in an entree. At $3.99 thought it seemed like a cheap and fun way to start the meal. My son got the kid’s hot dog with applesauce, and his chocolate milk was included in that too, all for only $2.99. That’s a pretty decent price for a full kid’s meal.
My husband ordered the hearty sirloin steak, smothered (covered in mushrooms and onions), with a side Caesar salad and steak fries. The Caesar salad came out soon after we had finished off the fried pickles. He said it wasn’t great, there were a lot of large stems included, and not enough leafy bits. The steak was perfect though, medium well, exactly how he ordered it. He probably wouldn’t get it smothered again though – too many onions. He would have preferred mushrooms and cheese. I think expecting cheese is a bit silly, but Bearnaise sauce would probably be awesome with the mushrooms.
I ordered the half rack of ribs which is reasonably priced at only $11.99, and that also included 2 sides. I was disappointed they don’t offer coleslaw as a side with the ribs. I could have sworn they used to. Instead I decided to try the fresh vegetables side and some baked beans. The “Fresh Vegetables” ended up being steamed broccoli and baby carrots. Eh, corn would have been a better match with ribs, but I guess I’m swimming against the tide trying to order anything but fries here anyway. The baked beans were good, and went really well with the ribs. And what wonderful ribs! They had so much delicious, tender meat on them, and they were so soft the meat just fell off the bone. Even a half rack was a huge meal though, and I ended up taking half of it home with me for leftovers the next day.
The waitress asked if we wanted any dessert, and I don’t think I’ve ever saved enough room to eat dessert here. Besides, the sweet cinnamon butter on those soft rolls makes for a good dessert anyway.
Texas Roadhouse has a few flaws. Their presentations are simple and sloppy, not looking like high-quality food. The waitresses have always seemed a bit distracted every time we come visit, forgetting things, giving people the wrong orders, refilling drinks by pouring from other glasses. I guess maybe it has something to do with the noise level of the restaurant, and being called over to clap or dance for certain songs, or having to go sing birthday songs to people. And it is SO noisy here! It’s hard to hear people at your own table. Still, the meat is consistently good, and the prices are pretty decent compared to other places like Outback and Firebirds.