We recently had the honor of joining our WCBIL (West Coast Brother-In-Law), David Ruttan, in his very special 62nd birthday celebration while on a family visit in Butler. Western PA had been experiencing about two months of almost-daily rain, and our trip there was no exception. But David’s birthday turned out to be an almost perfect summer day with temps in the low 80s, a gentle breeze, low humidity and soft high clouds. So with his wife (and Russ’ sister) Dee in tow, the four of us headed out to Moraine State Park for a pontoon boat ride on the lake, to pass some time before dinner.
For several days leading up to the special occasion, we Googled on our iPad for restaurant possibilities worthy of our high culinary standards—or more precisely, anything open on a Monday evening within a 20 mile radius! Let’s just say, there are slim pickens in that area on any given night, let alone a Monday…
But prevail we did, and the Texas Roadhouse, known for their “legendary experiences” was open and ready for our business—and an experience it was! Upon arrival, the five of us, which included Russ’ mother Mary, honed in on just the right table to satisfy everyone’s needs. Once settled, our perky waitress introduced herself and proceeded to rattle off a string of sentences so fast not a one of us could understand what she had just said, and it didn’t get much easier as the evening wore on.
A special of the house is there buckets—and barrels—of shelled peanuts which arrive at your table soon after settling in. And they were tasty!! (We mades sure to get a few bags worth on the way out.) And while we perused the menu, we ordered the FRIED PICKLES • Heaping basket of pickle chips hand-battered, golden-fried, and served with Ranch or Cajun Horseradish sauce for dipping—well we got a basket of each—tasty morsels, but WAY too much.
We like to brag about our Hand-Cut Steaks, Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs, Made-From-Scratch Sides, and Fresh-Baked Bread. Everything we do goes into making our hearty meals stand out. We handcraft almost everything we serve. We provide larger portions so you get more food for your dollar.
Now about those entrees… Russ ordered the 16 oz. Ft. Worth Rib Eye, which when first served was too well-done for the requested medium-rare, so it was sent back. Lynn chose the Dallas Filet smothered with mushrooms, the baked sweet potato without the cinnamon butter and a side of green beans. Well I won the prize for best steak which was a delicious, perfectly-cooked lean filet that melted in my mouth. However, my sweet potato had probably been cooked hours ago and they added a big glob of the cinnamon butter which I specifically told our lightning-mouthed waitress I didn’t want, and the side of beans was all but inedible.
Dee and Mary loved their choice of salmon topped with lemon pepper butter; and Dave’s 16 oz. choice sirloin, their most popular steak, appeared as though it was originally an 8 oz. steak that was cut in half horizontally, along with a loaded potato. Everyone but me had ordered a salad as one of their two side choices, which they truly enjoyed, and I regretted because I ended up with those god-awful green beans.
The replacement steak for Russ finally arrived cooked to a medium-rare as ordered, however, there was as much fat as there was meat! Well, he wasn’t about to send it back again, so he enjoyed the edible portion and we continued the meal until full, asking for doggie bags of the uneaten portions, then headed back to Mary’s house for the birthday dessert.
The day prior, Mary had made a wonderful fresh strawberry pie, so we added some candles, sang Dave the requisite birthday song, and let him have at it with the presents and cards. Too full still from dinner, the pie would have to wait another day…