Texas Road House

Yes, it’s true – Texas Roadhouse is a chain.  Why review it?  Well, the first reason is because someone asked us to do it.  The second reason is because of what happens inside.  If you’re looking for a steakhouse, you might consider going there because it’s close by, easy to get to, has plenty of parking, and really. . . can they ruin every steak they serve?

_IGP2754Are there other steakhouses in Central New York?  Certainly!  But deciding whether TRH is worth going to – that’s what this review is all about.

Texas Roadhouse is a party destination.  TRH is on Erie Blvd East, near the old Hechinger Plaza, across from the plaza with PetCo and Charney’s.  It’s big inside, and it handles a big amount of people, all seemingly celebrating something.  When I was a kid – back when we all rode dinosaurs – eating beef was nothing special.  Now, apparently, you only do it on special occasions.  Birthdays, anniversaries, starting a job, leaving a job. . . whatever.  And you go to the rowdiest place around to do it.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Unless you’re the first one there, or the last to leave, you’ll find a line at the door.  They have waiting rooms with benches built into the walls on either side of the door as you walk in.  You’ll most likely be there for a while.  TRH doesn’t take reservations, but they do have “call ahead seating” that’s supposed to keep you waiting less.  Once you make it past the hostess, you’ll see (part of) the kitchen on your left, along with a display case of meat.  Supposedly you can pick your own steak here if you want, kind of like choosing which lobster will grace your plate in a seafood joint.

BUT WAIT! If you’re allergic to peanuts, don’t go.  They’re everywhere.  There’s even a big sign on the outside door warning you about them.  Big barrels of them await inside the door, and in buckets on most tables.

I find the layout of the place labyrinthine, cut into smaller passages with sharp right angles.  This does give you a number of smaller tables spaces, but you’re probably headed to the back or side of the place, where the larger tables are.  If you’re only here for a beer (giant sized, of course), the bar is smack dab in the middle.

The dress code here is decidedly casual.  Jeans and tee shirts are sported by the wait staff, and some of them even wear cowboy boots.  As an aside, I really don’t like it when someone who’s been no further south than Cortland greets me with a fake Southern accent.  I haven’t been here more than a handful of times, but at least a couple of the waitresses have tried to pull that on me.  Anyway, if you show up in a business suit right after work, no-one’s going to call you on it, but you will be overdressed.

They do have some good appetizers, and a selection of salads.  But don’t fill up on these, or the baskets of rolls they deliver to your table.  Choose from a selection of entrees that include steak (Duh!), but also chicken, ribs, and even a couple fish dishes.  They even have “country meals” like pork chops and sirloin tips.  Amazingly enough, there’s also a “vegetarian” meal: just side veggies.  I guess if you’re a vegan and get dragged into a steakhouse, they’re gonna want some of your cash as well.  They also have burgers, and a couple chicken sandwiches as well.

The last time I want, I was part of a group of almost 40 people, including 30 Japanese.  Thankfully they’d been to plenty of other American-style restaurants during their trip, and they were almost ready for this one.  The place is loud, especially on weekend nights.  I had to shout at the people next to me to be heard.  And the portions must have seemed elephantine to them!  I can only imagine their dismay.

I ordered a smaller (8 oz) sirloin, with green beans and applesauce for sides.  But if you want meat, man do they have it!  New York strips, porterhouse, bone-in ribeye, T-bone, filets. . . even chopped steak and kebabs.  If you’re anemic after you eat here, you’d better check yourself in to the hospital.

Let me be blunt: eating here is not about enjoying the food.  Oh, it’s good, and all.  My steak came out medium, just as I asked for it.  But it’s about great honkin’ amounts of beef and beer, with the waitstaff going to tables every two minutes giving the canned “Let’s hear it for Jimmy – YEEEE HAAWWW!” cry for someone’s birthday or other special occasion.  It’s a place for you to enjoy the kitsch on the walls and the peanuts on the table (I eat them shells and all – more fiber that way) before you wind up face down on the floor.

My mother, a genuine Southern lady, would not have even made it in the door because of her sensitive hearing.  If you can’t stand loud noise or raucous behavior, this is not the place you want to go to enjoy a steak.  If you are looking for massive amounts of beef, however, you’ll find it here, and it’s not bad.  Not the best in town, but not bad.

They are only open for dinner during the week, and lunch & dinner on the weekends.  I spent around $25 for just myself, but if you want a larger steak, or one of the more flavorful cuts, be willing to plunk down about $40 each, including tip and a softdrink.  If you start drinking those big beers, don’t blame your outsized bill on me.


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