Monday, June 16, 2008

Restaurant Review - Texas Roadhouse, 1150 Blackwood Ave, Ocoee, FL

Texas RoadhouseWell, pardner, there's a new steakhouse chain in town and it's called Texas Roadhouse. There are locations popping up all over Central Florida. And, of course, the home base for this here restaurant is in... Indiana. Yeah, not Texas. So don't get the chili on the menu expecting good ole' homemade Texas chili with all meat and no beans. Because there are plenty of beans here.

And plenty of peanuts as well. Just like the other "Roadhouse" restaurants in town, Texas Roadhouse has roasted peanuts in the shell everywhere -- barrels of them while you are waiting for your table and then bucketsful on each table while you are waiting for your food. LB was particularly pleased about this part of the restaurant and now refers to Texas Roadhouse as "the peanut place".

I did like the different way Texas Roadhouse sets up the waiting area, which is huge, by the way, all covered, with inside spaces and outside spaces, benches, and the barrels of roasted peanuts, shells on the floor please. There is also a box of toys for the kids to play with. The most unusual thing is that you are not handed a beeper like in other restaurants; you are handed a card with a number on it. Then, you wait for your number to be displayed on the electronic boards throughout the waiting area - kind of like waiting in line at the deli. You can also call ahead and be placed on the "virtual waiting list", which is nice. We usually call when we are leaving the house and only have a few more minutes waiting time when we arrive.

Inside, the decor is all light wood, cacti and armadillos. In one part of the restaurant is "Willie's Corner" with Willie Nelson memorabillia - turns out Willie Nelson is part owner of the chain. Didn't know he hung out in Indiana.

As soon as we sat down, our servers produced a baskets of rolls, and took our drink orders. The rolls were wonderful, hot and fresh and yeasty served with cinnamon butter. By the time she came back with our drinks, we had to ask for another basket of rolls.

The menu is much like you would expect with salads, steaks, ribs, chicken, some seafood, and Country Dinners such as Pulled Pork and Country Fried Sirloin. There is also a coloring children's menu. One thing I really liked about the children's menu was that there are two sizes of kid's meals - Andy the Armadillo size for younger kids and then Ranger size for heartier House Saladappetites. Andy kid entrees are $2.99 - $4.79 and offer a hot dog, mac-n-cheese, mini-cheeseburgers, chicken strips, or sirloin bites. Ranger kid entrees are $5.99 - $6.99 and offer a larger size chicken strips, a 6 oz sirloin steak, or ribs. All kids meals come with a drink and a choice of a side: apple sauce, green beans, veggies, fries, mashed potatoes or baked beans. LB got the mac-n-cheese off the Andy part of the menu ($3.29) with green beans on the side, and BB chose the Ranger Ribs ($6.99) with fries. Another nice thing about the kids' menu was that the offerings wereKid's Ribs with Fries also listed on the adult menu, with prices. I don't know how many times I've had to pry the kids' menu from my little one just so I can read the menu while he is trying to color something. This way was much easier. I ordered the 6 ounce Dallas Filet ($14.99) with a house salad and loaded baked potato on the side (extra 99 cents for the loaded -- comes with sour cream, cheese and bacon bits). Apparently, there is not much vegetarian on the menu, including the sides. The house salad comes with hard-boiled egg, the green Kid's Mac-n-Cheese with bacony Green Beansbeans have bacon pieces (as I found out later) and, get this, the sweet potato jackets are cooked in bacon fat. Really! I originally wanted the sweet potato loaded instead of the baked but I found out that a loaded sweet potato at Texas Roadhouse is not brown sugar and cinnamon butter. Here, a loaded sweet potato means marshmallows and caramel. Bleech - I hate marshmallows and I thought the caramel would totSirloin Beef Tipsally drown out the sweet potato (of course this is my own opinion, you may hear marshmallows and caramel and think "Oh yeah, baby!"). Grandma got the Country Fried Sirloin with fries ($9.99) and Grandpa ordered the Sirloin Beef Tips on mashed potatoes ($9.99).

One strange (annoying?) thing is that every half hour or so, the whole staff will line dance to a country song in the aisles. I hate when Johnny Rockets does it, I hate when Joe's Crab Shack does it and now I hate when Texas Roadhouse does it. To me, it just clogs the restaurant and makes it hard to find a server if you need something.

When the food came out, EVERYTHING was huge. The plate of mac-n-cheese (Kraft) was large. LB tasted one bite of the green beans with bacon and declared that they tasted nothing like green beans and didn't eat anymore. I was worried about that. Grandma's sirloin was covered with a slightly spicy country gravy and the steak filled her whole plate. She also got anoCountry Fried Sirlointher plate with the large order of fries. She said the steak was excellent and was just like chicken-fried steak. Grandpa liked the Sirloin Tips and that was a big serving as well. BB's ribs were fantastic. Lots of meat, smoky-tasting, and literally falling off the bone. BB exclaimed, "Mom, these are the best ribs I've ever tasted," and we Dallas 6 oz Filet with Loaded Baked Potatohad to agree. Grandpa decided he would get the ribs next time. My food was good as well. The house salad was so generous that I passed the rest onto BB as I didn't want to get too full. The loaded potato was cheesy and bacony and oh-so-good. The filet looked absolutely tiny especially sitting next to the baked potato but it was done perfectly and actually filled me up. It was pretty thick so that must have been why.

Texas Roadhouse is family-friendly and a good value for the money. We will definitely come back (ya'll).

Texas Roadhouse on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

We just visited the Texas Roadhouse last night (in WI, not FL) and had the loaded sweet potato. It was really decadent, truly more like a dessert item with the sweet caramel sauce and marshmallows. Really yummy! If it's your birthday (or even close to it), you'll get ice cream with hot fudge and they'll bring over the saddle for you to ride! Yee Haw!

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