This week, we’re at the relatively new Texas Roadhouse in Ithaca’s southwest. This steakhouse themed chain restaurant features several cuts of beef, plus chicken, ribs, and plenty of sides for the meat and potatoes lover.
Let’s be clear, Texas Roadhouse is for carnivores. Other than most of the sides and the mac & cheese kids meal, everything is meat — or seafood. The official vegetarian option is four side dishes. No, there’s no veggieburger. But meat is what they do well.
Not counting the everpresent signature warm rolls, served with cinnamon honey butter, we started our first visit with the Cactus Blossom, a battered and fried onion appetizer that reminded me of the onion loaf at Billy Bob Jack’s! Also not so different from the Bloomin’ Onion at another steakhouse chain.
Fried pickles and rattlesnake bites are good choices — the rattlesnake bites are battered, fried jalapeño and cheese balls.
Entree choices include steaks from six to 20 ounces and beyond, with sirloins and ribeyes and filets to choose from. The bone-in ribeye is tender and flavorful, and it goes nicely with the optional sauteed onions and mushrooms.
Not into beef? There’s BBQ chicken or grilled chicken topped with an excellent portobello mushroom sauce. Fish and chips or grilled salmon. Pulled pork sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, and burgers round out the menu. Kids get to choose from a range of meals like chicken tenders, “steak bites,” and that mac & cheese, complete with side and soft drink, for $4 and up.
Plenty of opportunities to mix and match, like the BBQ chicken and ribs combo, a half roasted chicken with a mini rack of ribs. This meal’s got plenty of chicken to save some for the next day’s lunch, especially since each meal comes with two side dishes, though a half rack of ribs would be nice to see! It’s the only thing I’ve felt was skimpy at Texas Roadhouse.
They’re proud that all of the side dishes, gravies, and dressings are made from scratch, and that does make a difference compared to some chains. Those include chili, mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables, generous and well-topped salads, or a sweet potato you can get with their signature cinnamon honey butter.
The full bar has plenty of large TVs around it for those who’d like to catch the game, and a decent selection of beer that included a Southern Tier draft and an Ithaca Beer tap on a recent visit. Happy hour deals include the usual selection of low-end beer, well drinks, or margaritas for a low price.
Lots of friendly faces on the staff at Texas Roadhouse, including familiar faces you’ll recognize from other eateries around town. Plan on spending $12-30 per person on a meal, or slide in before six Monday through Thursday for a choice of eleven entrees for ten bucks.
Peanut allergy? This isn’t the place for you. There are buckets of roasted peanuts everywhere you look, and a bin right by the front door.
Find Texas Roadhouse at 719 South Meadow Street or texasroadhouse.com, open weekdays for dinner from 4-10pm, lunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays, or give them a call at 607-272-1621 and tell them you heard about them here.