Texas Roadhouse

“They must be worried someone might notice the food.”

I was sitting in a booth at Texas Roadhouse tonight when this thought came to me, attempting to tune out the dozen or so flatscreen televisions, the blaring “jukebox,” the clapping, line-dancing waitstaff, the constant yelling (not singing, yelling) about this or that person’s birthday and focus – however briefly – on what the fuck was on my plate. It was impossible. The seven year-old was staring at something on tv – could’ve been SportsCenter, the North Carolina basketball game or the Iowa basketball game or any of half a dozen other things – and mindlessly shoveling chili into his mouth. The four year-old – who cannot hear anything right now and is getting tubes next week as a result – was complaining about the noise. My wife an I were just working our way through our steaks, occasionally yelling this or that fragment of conversation at each other.

About those steaks. They’re not awful. Mine – a ribeye – was seasoned with no more than salt and pepper (fine by me) and arrived medium rare, as ordered. It was serviceable. The ribs, which they inform you upfront are dreadfully overcooked, really are dreadfully overcooked. So too the broccoli and machined carrots that came alongside. The “Texas Red Chili” has beans but no heat and seems to only have been seasoned as an afterthought, perhaps even on the way to the table. The most interesting venture is the cinnamon-spiked butter that comes out with the rolls as diners are seated.

Our service was unimpeachable. Matthew, as promised, “took care of us,” filling water glasses, quickly delivering the bill and generally proving entirely less douchey than the surroundings might suggest. He was a keeper.

So maybe I should give the place credit for being exactly what it says it is. It’s not like they promised subtlety or anything (“Legendary Margaritas!” “Legendary Bar!” “Legendary Spirits!”). It’s not a restaurant, it’s a circus with steaks. Steaks and enough neon, noise and cheer to keep you distracted while you amble through their instantly-forgotten food. And naturally, it’s packed to the rafters.

Texas Roadhouse
2005 West Worley Street
Columbia, MO 65203
Phone: 573-445-5910

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

11 thoughts

  1. Well, I assumed one of us would go at some point. After years of restaurants and retail in college, I just can’t handle noise and distraction like that. And the food, like you said, must be entirely forgettable. My coworker raved for no less than 20 minutes last week about line dancing and birthdays during her visit, but said nothing of the food. At least it sounds like the less of two evils in a game of “would you rather.”

  2. A circus with steaks. Nailed it.

    Went in EARLY (a few seconds before opening time because we had 4 year old with us) and met friends for early supper.

    The noise level! OH MY (sorry, I haven’t been able to talk in normal tones since that night.) Screaming at one another whilst discussing the church canvass was not only unseemly but hurt my voice box half way through the bread course.

    My steak was passable, at least it was rare like I asked and I agree – the bit of salt and pepper was enough.

    The “smothered” sweet potato was a feat of heretofore unbeknownst accomplishment – how they could take something that is so healthy and turn it into a steakhouse version of a twinkie is beyond me. The MOUNDS of browned marshmallow covering a thick, caramel layer of dissolved brown sugar swimming in a pool of melted butter. The only thing missing was the wrapper.

    You covered the broccoli and carrots nicely. The green beans were lukewarm with bits of overcooked bacon (? we think?) and inedible.

    Yes, I know it’s just a steakhouse, but this was a meal we were expected. Not a performance.

  3. From everything I’ve heard about this place, I have no desire to eat there. I can’t hear as it is (what?) so I definitely wouldn’t go to a place that diminishes my ability to have a conversation even more. I like food, not entertainment, when I go to a restaurant.

  4. You know, the other restaurant that does the same thing is Joe’s Crab Shack. And it too has forgettable, overgreased, overcooked food.

  5. One of my waiters is working there two days a week and your impeccable service came via a 3 table section. Other than dancing and yelling, he doesn’t have anything else to do! hehehe

  6. Want a circus (or a zoo perhaps)? Go to Golden Corral on any Friday evening. It is complete chaos. The last time we went, I first had to watch a guy lick some sort of food spill off his shirt and then I was in line at the end of my meal waiting for the ice cream machine. The woman ahead of me in line was licking her bowl clean in an attempt perhaps to get it ready for the next load of ice cream.

  7. Does anyone really expect a fine dining experience with the words “roadhouse” or “corral” in the name?

  8. I just could not depart your site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors?
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