Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reviews: A Restaurant and a Movie

Texas Roadhouse

We ate, with two other couples, at the Texas Roadhouse for the first time Saturday night.  So if you've never been there, you may like to know our unanimous opinion:  we don't ever plan to go back. 

The Texas Roadhouse has the best steak I've eaten for at least 20 years (with the possible exception of David Bate's steak).  That's important, of course, especially if you are a steak lover.  And the prices are reasonable, too.  But for us, the whole experience was a severe mismatch.

The first problem was that the restaurant has a highly misleading "call ahead" policy; you call an hour before you plan to arrive and tell them you're coming.  It's not a reservation, but we did suppose it was worth something.  Wrong.  We waited more than another full hour before we were seated, and even then, only after we let our displeasure be known and said wwe were leaving if we weren't seated within 5 more minutes.

The second problem was the noise.  If you are in the twenty-something crowd, the music might have been just right for you; maybe even if you are thirty-something.  As the manager put it, lots of energy going on in there.  But if you're a senior citizens it's just noise, and far too loud at that.  Because everybody has difficulty conversing with that stuff blaring, everyone has to shout to be heard, so the noise level from all the talking alone was terrible, unless you like that sort of thing.

The wait staff stops everything once per hour and stands in a line and  performs some sort of silly little line dance for you.  They seem to be encouraging everybody else to do the same, but nobody does.  For one thing, there is no space wide enough.  Meanwhile, of course, nobody's order is being taken, nobody is being served. 

And then the servers have a nasty little habit of asking, for example, whether you'd like onions and jack cheese on your steak without telling you it costs extra, or whether you'd like your baked potato with anything more than butter, also without telling you sour cream, chives, and bacon bits are extra. 

If it's your birthday you get to sit on a saddle atop a sawhorse, and the staff lifts that up and rocks you around a bit while singing something awful.  Your small children may enjoy that.

But for us, the whole evening was an ordeal and we were glad to depart as soon as we had finished eating.

Iron Lady

We have long been Margaret Thatcher fans, so we looked forward eagerly to this film about her.

The movie consists of a series of episodes from Mrs. Thatcher's career as remembered through the dementia of her old age.  I would rather have had the story presented through the eyes of someone not demented.   It lacked coherence.  I also would rather have had more details about her career than the gloss-overs this movie provided.   So as a story or as a documentary (take your pick) I rate the film a "C", as did the others with whom we watched it.

But my first reaction was, "That was SOME great piece of acting!"  Meryl Streep's performance is simply superb.   It's definitely Academy Award calibre.  And that makes this film worth watching and worth the price of the ticket. 


Julia Bate said...

David and I agree with you about the movie.It was well produced and acted but we felt it cruel to depict Margaret Thatcher with dementia while she is still alive.
David is flattered by your comments about his steak and is looking forward to giving you both a repeat performance when you are next in Ormskirk