Texas Roadhouse’s humble beginning 25 years ago in Texas, United States is a perfect example for one to never give up. Despite the struggle at the beginning of its establishment, Texas Roadhouse has beaten the odds and naysayers. Today, Texas Roadhouse has no less than 250 restaurants worldwide, a large percentage of which are in the United States, recently the Middle East, and there will be new stores opening in Russia, Egypt, etc.
|The famous Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs|
As stated on its website, Texas Roadhouse is famous for 4 things: their Hand-Cut Steaks, Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs, Made-From-Scratch Sides and Fresh-Baked Bread. And they're committed to provide larger portions so customers get more food for their dollar. And they also claim to provide 'Legendary Experience' from the friendly service, line dancing, the signature jukebox, etc. So, on my recent trip to Dubai, I and a handful other foodies from Indonesia went to see for ourselves if all these claims were true and if Texas Roadhouse would be appealing enough for Indonesians.
|Daily fresh hand-cut steaks in the display|
We went to Texas Roadhouse at The Dubai Mall on a Thursday evening, which is essentially a Saturday evening for residents in Middle East, so the shopping mall was packed like a night market literally. The waiting list at Texas Roadhouse started to form from as early as 6 pm and even as we left at around 9 pm, the queue didn't seem to be receding. As the largest shopping mall on earth, The Dubai Mall is more than abundant with restaurants / eateries, so a waiting list is a clear sign that something really good must be going on at Texas Roadhouse.
My first impression upon entering the restaurants was mildly amused, firstly because of the very 'Texan' interior, stuffed moose, jukebox, country & cowboy themed decor, etc. The staff assigned to us would bring a tray of fresh-baked bread to our table, where there already lies a huge pot of giant roasted peanuts on the table. I must admit that the bread is so deliciously soft and quite unique with the honey garlic butter. I had to put the bread basket away to stop myself from getting second helping! Haha...
The menu of Texas Roadhouse is considerably focused compared to the other direct competitors that I've tried in Indonesia. But Texas Roadhouse has some interesting one-of-a-kind items too, such as the pickle chips for appetizers. It's something that Indonesians have never seen or ate before and it actually tasted really good! I was sold by the bun and butter on the very first bite and I expected some fantastic dishes to come out from the kitchen.
|My kind of perfect standard of 'medium well', still juicy, but not dripping red and well seared on both sides|
|The Award-Winning "Blue Ribbon" Fall-Off-The-Bone Beef Ribs, slow cooked with seasonings and signature BBQ sauce (cooked to medium well) (AED 79 / 109 | half / full portion)|
|I was told that the ribs were slow cooked over a small fire for 12 hours and while it was quite impressive indeed, the ribs didn’t quite taste as tender as the one I had previously at PF Chang’s the night before (see this link)|
Grilled Salmon - a filet of salmon steak, grilled & topped with lemon pepper butter served with tartar sauce (AED 69)
This is actually my next favourite dish after the Bone-In Ribeye. I like that the fresh salmon has the buttery texture, crispy surface and tender middle. Again, problem with the seasoning, it was a tad too salty for me.
|Jalapeno Burger -fried jalapeno & spicy mayo on 8oz (225gr) fresh ground burger with lettuce, tomato & onion (AED 55)|
|After my first and unforgettable experience at ShakeShack earlier, my expectations for burger has become very unreasonable! We requested the beef patty to be cooked to medium well, but guessed we should've asked to be cooked to medium instead. The medium-well grilled patty ended up becoming too dry (see photo above) and the potato wedges were quite salty unfortunately.|
|Big Ol’ Brownie - baked brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce (AED 28). The brownie's too sweet for me, unfortunately.|
While I like the idea of Texas Roadhouse's authentic Texas-style restaurant, the very friendly service and knowledgeable staff, fresh ingredients, made-to-order food and not to forget to mention the incredible Bone-In Ribeye steak, somehow I didn't enjoy my meal at Texas Roadhouse as much as I'd expected, or even as much as the other 3 restaurants that I visited during this food tour. It might have to do with my and my dining partner's choices who chose our meat to be cooked to medium well. It also probably had to do with the overly strong flavours of some of the food & drinks, which were either too salty, too sweet or too sour.
The current price is not going to be well received by Indonesian customers, because local competitors are serving similar menus at at least half or 2/3 the price here. Then again, this is Dubai, so most likely the price will be adjusted with the currency when it enters Indonesia. Other than the price, the seasoning has to undergo quite a major adjustments too, because while Indonesians love MSG as much as we love our rice, we won't fancy strongly salty or sweet food, especially those food that we don't eat together with plain rice.
So, will Texas Roadhouse be a successful venture in Indonesia? Given the existing competition in Jakarta that also fall in the same category of Texas Roadhouse, it would be a rather challenging feat for Texas Roadhouse, but it’s not an impossible one to overcome. I’m sure some Indonesian would be ecstatic to have Texas Roadhouse come & open in Jakarta. It may create the hype at the beginning, but to survive in Jakarta, it takes more than just social media hype, but also highly unique menu, as well as adjustment to the taste profile to suit the general Indonesian palate.
*) Prices quoted are in United Arab Emirates Dirham
**) Exchange rate: 1 AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) = IDR 3,900 (Indonesian Rupiah)
Texas Roadhouse @The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall (B1 Floor, Near The Waterfall)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Facebook: Texas Roadhouse Middle East
For other store locations in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait), click here.
Texas Roadhouse international website: www.texasroadhouse.com
For live and regular updates,