My first impression on “The Texas Roadhouse” was entertaining

Melissa Puryear, Managing Editor

The Texas Roadhouse, with its new spin on steakhouse grub and entertainment, just opened its doors on April 9 in Bakersfield. Texas Roadhouse is conveniently located in the Valley Plaza Shopping Center’s northwest corner parking lot, at Ming and Wible and boasts of a spacious near wrap-around parking lot. This trend to move toward functional parking spaces really adds value for diners like me who like flexibility when eating out. I don’t like to feel pressured by eating time constraints in exchange for probable parking, which can be a problem at many restaurants in Bakersfield. The seating is another bonus that this steakhouse offers. With an approximate capacity of 250 people, that’s a lot of seating.

When I arrived, wait staff was already lined up at the entrance to seat diners as quickly as they entered. By 4:30 p.m. the dining was at or near to capacity and the wait staff performed their first signature line dance to “All Jacked Up” by Gretchen Wilson. Every aisle way had staff line dancing to choreographed moves. There are a total of three country songs with three separate choreographed line dances that are performed for diners each hour. The other two dances include Rednex’s “Cotton-Eye Joe” and Cowboy Troy’s “I Play Chicken with the Train.”

Each table includes a complimentary bucket of salty roasted peanuts. I was greeted by my waiter Shade, who took my order within two minutes of being seated. I chose the $9.99 – 16 oz. sirloin steak with two sides- a loaded baked potato, and macaroni and cheese. My food was ready in less than 10 minutes. The meal was served with endless made-from-scratch and fresh-from-the-oven dinner rolls.

One thing about steakhouses, based on so many personal experiences, I have rarely had a great steak experience. Usually my steaks are too tough, taste old, or are overdone. I wasn’t holding out too much hope to have a fresh-cut, cooked tender sirloin come to the table. To my surprise, my steak was just as I had requested. It cut smooth like chocolate cake and was as tender as filet mignon. Sadly, the mac and cheese missed the mark. It’s a Kraft’s boxed mac and cheese product, not the made-from-scratch I expected. This was my only disappointment. I did speak with the manager Jessica Rodriguez who said the mac and cheese dish is from then kid’s menu, which I found out only after my meal arrived. My waiter had failed to tell me this when I had asked about mac and cheese. It was a small hiccup, but I wish that they would have offered to exchange it for something more palatable, especially adult-palatable.

I tried one of their signature margaritas and I settled on the melon margarita, which came with a clear plastic shot tube of Patron that was placed inside of the margarita. Their version of the melon margarita to me tasted almost like a melon rainbow sherbert-liquored smoothie. It had a slightly thicker consistency than what an ordinary margarita would have, without the watery iciness. It reminded me of those sherbert push up frozen pops I used to love when I was a kid.

I did discover the secret to my delicious steak a bit later. Texas Roadhouse prides itself in serving only fresh meat that has never been frozen. Something else I discovered is they will serve up any size specialty-cut steaks and charge you based on its ounces. There’s an additional cost of approximately $1.69 per ounce, so you’ll want to inquire as to the total cost of your steak prior to placing your order to avoid surprises when the bill arrives.

Overall, I was really impressed by the quality of the meat, the price of my sirloin steak dinner and its taste. At $9.99 for the early bird special, which they run as a standard Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., it is quite a savings for the budget-conscientious spender and allows more spending flexibility to try a new drink you’ve never had and weren’t brave enough to try. I was also impressed with the entertainment and attention to service. This will not be my last visit. With a $9.99 daily special during the week and line dancing to learn, you’ll probably find me there.