Sunday, July 29, 2012

Texas Roadhouse, Lakeland

It was my birthday a few days ago and Ed decided that he was taking me out on a date to mark the occasion. (Oh, and I got some nice Star Wars items for my desk, which was really nice.) I wanted steak, considered getting the free one offered at Texas Cattle Company here in town, but I was told that they a la carte you to death. While I'd have a free porterhouse, the sides and drinks would net us a $70 check. No wonder they don't have prices on their website! Now that I checked out the Urban Spoon reviews, I see that the feedback my friends gave me is similar to what other reviewers have to say.

So, I wanted steak. I perused the dozen or so birthday emails I'd received from restaurants, because I'm thrifty that way. For some reason, I thought I had one from Outback, but I didn't-but I did have one from Texas Roadhouse. One opened up on the other side of town in early spring, and we'd considered going, but a couple we know had complained about lousy food and service, two deal breakers for us. Still, I had the coupon, it was a weeknight, it was after dinner rush (8 pm), so we gave it a try.

Once we walked in the door, I realized I'd been in one up in Gainesville soon after moving to Florida. My boss back then had sent me several stores to be vacation coverage and I had 3 nights in town and a per diem for food. This vist, there were two hostesses, no one waiting, and we were taken to our seats immediately.

Yes, the place is one big room and it is LOUD. That said, we aren't bothered by a lot of ambient noise, so it didn't bother us. At one point, I heard a major commotion, and later found out what that was about...

Our server came over, Saw my birthday coupon and wished me a happy birthday. We selected their Blossom, because it looked like a Blooming onion. I'd taken off my glasses, so when the server suggested a birthday margarita and I explained I don't 'do' tequila, I didn't see that the alternative she suggested didn't have alcohol. It was good, but darn, missed my birthday drink!

We both agree we liked the Blossom much more than a Blooming onion. The batter coating this onion is much thicker and crispier. The best part is that it was not greasy at all. My complaint with a Blooming Onion is that many times, the bottom of it seems underdone-the Blossom is not like that at all. Completely crispy the whole way through. It reheats nicely, too.

Ed and I both went for sirloin steaks, mine an 8 oz, his a 10 oz. I ordered a sweet potato all the way and a side salad, Ed went for a loaded baked potato and salad. They make the dressings in house (like Outback), and I opted for the Ranch while Ed went for the 1,000 Island.

The salads come with lettuce, tomato, onions, cucumber, cheese, croutons, and egg on them. Fair warning, because I didn't know about the eggs. Server Brittany was very kind when I said I didn't realize they come with eggs and got me one without really fast. They were cold and crunchy and I liked the dressing.

Our steaks arrived before we were even finished with the salads, mine medium rare, Ed's medium. Both of these were very tender, with just a tiny bit of fat on each.
I wasn't sure what to expect with the loaded sweet potato, but it appears that it is some people's idea of the Thanksgiving side dish. More dessert like than side. I liked it, but I ate most of it the next day as lunch, because it was just too sweet to have with my steak. Next time, no all the way for me, just some butter, thanks.

Oh, that commotion I'd heard earlier? It seems they expect guests celebrating a birthday to saddle up and they hoot and holler. I was a good sport, I rode side saddle and braced myself by putting a foot up against the booth. My horse riding days are long over. Who knew five servers could make that much noise? Be warned, if you're going for a birthday, you will not escape riding the 'bronco'!

They'll reward you with a scoop of ice cream with homemade hot fudge. I was already stuffed, had two bites and it tasted like Blue Bell vanilla. Yum.

Overall, food and service were fantastic, it was noisy due to the open floor plan and no carpet to dampen the noise. Our check came to $35, which was less than we thought we'd pay, even without the appetizer.

One thing to note, they serve peanuts and have shells all over the floor-so those with allergies to peanuts should steer clear. Ed and I will definitely be back.

Texas Roadhouse on Urbanspoon

2 People talked back:

songbird's crazy world said...

I've been to the one in East Meadow. Good food for the price range. The servers do a line dance to entertain the patrons. Love the peanuts. Glad you had fun.

Kelsey Violet said...

Nice review! This was helpful. Going here tonight and wanted to get an idea of what the food looked like. Thanks!