“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.
2005 West Worley Street
Columbia, MO 65203