If there’s one place that we know consistently turns out tender rib after rib and delicious steak after steak, cooked exactly to your requirements, it’s Texas Roadhouse. They are so particular, that in the United States, where this satisfyingly, hearty concept was first launched in Indiana in 1993, it is rare (pardon the pun) to launch something new on the menu. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” agrees Product Coach Brandon Everett, who has worked for the restaurant chain since he started washing dishes in one of the restaurant’s kitchens in Virginia back in 2002.
However, consistency of customer service is also what this chain is renowned for and that means reflecting in the menu what the customer wants, which here, is mainly change. “Most of our customers are locals, so we also want to inject local flavor into the menu.” Brandon continues, and explains that the first ever Texas Roadhouse lamb chops were offered here in the Middle East.
The hand-cut steaks and fall-off-the-bone ribs are the backbone of the business though, so how does Texas Roadhouse remain true to its calling together with delivering the newness that excites the customer in Kuwait, while not venturing away from the traditional menu? Keep the meat, and zhoosh up the topping! After fifteen years of the house classic BBQ sauce, Texas Roadhouse spent the last twelve months developing, tasting and testing barbeque sauces, to bring us the all new Mango BBQ Ribs and Campfire Ribs.
Now bazaar likes a lot of spice, but this is unusual to find in Kuwait unless delving into the fare of South East Asia or the Indian subcontinent, so the Campfire Ribs caught our attention immediately. The promise of tabasco and chili pepper made our mouths water, and we might as well munch on the mango BBQ too while we are at it. We excitedly headed along to the Grand Avenue Texas Roadhouse and were greeted with the familiar army of happy, smiling Roadies, ready to serve us a variety of made-from-scratch sides and freshly baked buns with cinnamon butter to accompany our ribs.
While the ribs are being prepared we speak with Brandon further about Texas Roadhouse. The role of a Product Coach is to maintain standards and “Roadhouse standards are very high,” he stresses. Food quality and imports also fall under this jurisdiction, and this is key, when it comes to the customer experience.
With over 450 restaurants in the US and twelve locations in the GCC there is every chance that an international traveler would want to go to what they know, so it is vital that each and every experience does not vary when it comes to that good ol’ Texas Roadhouse taste. Every Sunday, as most of us start our work week, you can see groups of US servicemen and women sitting at the tables. “There are other brands here that we know but this one really tastes of home,” they tell us. “It tastes exactly the same!”
All the beef available at a Kuwait Texas Roadhouse location is imported from the US, is USDA certified and grain finished for 120 days. This produces a very high quality meat and improves and changes the flavor profile of the beef. This is considered a worthwhile investment in the taste and therefore experience of the customer worldwide. As standard, the ribs chosen to cut are only the ones that sit second to fifth on the rack ensuring that each rib has a significant amount of meat on the bone, and they are all of a similar size.
Uniformity continues with the sides, and to make sure that the texture is the same, even the potatoes are imported from the US. Depending on the season, the potatoes will come all the way from Idaho or Washington, and we defy you to find a fluffier mashed or baked potato! The gravy that accompanies these sides is a beef roux with garlic and black pepper, so simple but so deliciously comforting when drizzled over hot buttery mash or a rib-eye steak!
A trio of Roadies start laying down dish after dish of the new rib menu and it is hard to believe just how much meat is on each plate! It is certainly a good idea to come hungry, with a group of friends, or at least prepared to take some home with you, if you are going to give this menu a good go. The Rib Platter features four chunky ribs, two of each of the new flavors. With the choice of two sides this is a great option for families as you get to taste a bit of everything, and come away full from the table.
As we already knew we were going to love the spicy option, we aimed our sights squarely on the Mango BBQ Rib which promised to be a bit sweeter, maybe less savory than we would like, but “save the best to last” they say, so we tried this one first. Wow! This is one of the best BBQ sauces ever! With flavors of garlic, ginger, red pepper and mango coming through, this is a much more robust and well-rounded, complex flavor combination than expected from a steakhouse. It turns out we saved the best for first, not last on this occasion. Sweet and spicy does not do enough to describe the taste with this option, so head on down to your nearest Texas Roadhouse to try it for yourself.
A full portion has two ribs, plated simply and placed in such a way that the serving looks humongous. “We’re not really about art, we focus on the product!” laughs Brandon, but be warned, you will relish each and every mouthful so much, that those massive ribs will be polished off in minutes, so make sure you don’t miss out on sides.
The Caesar Salad is crisp and fresh with crunchy croutons scattered throughout, nestled in the creamy dressing with generous amounts of gratings of Gran Padano cheese on top. A simple serving of sweetcorn, drenched in butter and seasoned with cracked black pepper accompanies both ribs and steak well, as you get a wonderful taste but don’t get too full, so you can continue to savor your meat.
The Campfire Ribs did not disappoint either, and do not let the claim of “spicy” put you off. There is less heat, and more flavor with this choice. A deeper warmth comes through as you continue to eat the dish and anyone can thoroughly enjoy this level of spice blend.
Finally, getting down to just the basics, we wanted to know what exactly is the foundation of a genuinely good BBQ sauce. Texas Roadhouse uses brown and white sugars and of course citrus sugars too in the mango reduction, as well as tomatoes.
Add this to a combination of spices (that Brandon kept to himself) and there you have it, the perfect BBQ base to play with. Rumor has it that we can expect another new flavor to be released soon…so keep an eye out to find out what it is and when this one launches. We already know and it is a doozy! You will love it!
Texas Roadhouse is located in Arabella Complex, Salwa (2221 4993), Sidra Complex in Mahboula (2208 1303) and Grand Avenue—The Avenues (2228 3117). Follow them on Instagram and Facebook @texasroadhouseme for more information and the latest updates.