1120 Shapiro Dr.
Last minute choice.
It was Sunday, I’d just awoken from a heavy, fitful nap. My mind was a bit fuzzy, it had been all day. I suffer from a common disease called "career IT system administrator". The side effects are occasional bouts of sleepless nights and long weekends. IT system admins can only work on big, important systems when the actual users are not using them. This weekend was a scheduled task, to move a big, important server from one piece of hardware to another. Lots and lots of details, lots and lots of things that can go wrong, and of course we couldn’t start the six hour or more task until Saturday at five P.M. Knowing this ahead of time we lunched on Saturday at our newly-discovered favorite place, Cool Beans Java Cafe in Hillsboro. We had their barbecue steak sandwich on pretzel bread. Awesome good.
The server move went fairly well, I work with experienced pros, but it still took a long time. I drove in to the workplace to speed up the process, my home internet connection is not really ideal for real-time support for many things. Driving in actually saved time and frustration. We finished about eleven thirty, I got home after midnight.
Going straight to bed wasn’t really an option, so I had a snack, watched a little TV and popped the cork on a new box of wine to wind down.
I got to bed about two A.M. which, if I were still in my twenties, would not have been a problem, but surprisingly, aging has affected my tolerance to lack of sleep and even disturbances in sleep patterns.
Sunday started late and was, in my head, foggy. I managed to take care of some chores, mechanically, one of those days were I went to Walmart with a short list and returned with only those things on the list. This is rare. I mean, it’s Walmart.
I got home and took that nap. I woke up with a headache and still fuzzy. It was like I’d flown to Japan. Getting old sucks.
Near the Lowes, overlooking I-55.
It was pretty busy, always is. A large group in front of us got seated before we did. We were led to the left of the salad bar. Several families were seated and in various stages of their meals. Directly across from us was a young mother and father with three small kids. One of the boys was jumping up and down in his seat, something his mother scolded and begged him to stop, only to be rebuked with a nasty “No!” from the little snot-nosed brat. This went on for a while. I was able to tune it out. On this day tuning most things out was not my problem. Tuning them in was difficult.
We scanned the menus, I wasn’t looking for anything new or adventurous, so I pretty much stuck with the same thing I usually get.
Angel was in a mood to try something different. We scanned the menus, me not really paying much attention, just checking to see if the petit sirloin was still available. It was, and for a couple of extra bucks they’d add a lobster tail.
The salad bar at RT’s was a forgone conclusion. It’s the reason I was after a ‘petit’ steak. RT has the best salad bar in the known universe. It’s always freshly stocked with dozens of options. My only complaint about it is that the plates are too small.
We ordered our drinks, tea, Diet Coke and Coke. They arrived with luscious cheesy biscuits, another reason to go there. The tea was fresh and clear, it actually had flavor. RT’s usually makes good tea, not always, but usually, this was a good night.
I ordered my petit steak and lobster tail, with the salad bar and a side of mashed potatoes. Angel surprised me by asking for the French Quarter Gumbo, a dish that is apparently related to New Orleans cuisine.
I’ve been to New Orleans, had some Gumbo, I don’t think I’ve ever asked for it again. It’s just not my thing.
Adam ordered the Asiago Sirloin Steak with green beans and mashed potatoes. No salad bar for him, though it was guaranteed that he would be caught filching those dark croutons off his mother’s plate. She always gets extra croutons because she knows she’ll be sharing them.
So we dashed to the salad bar, once again it did not disappoint. I piled my little plate high and slopped on some dressing. Angel did the same.
We sat back down and dug in. The little boy next to us was acting up again. His mother was explaining to him that they would be going to bed early since they were up so late the night before and had not napped. “No kidding.” I thought. The little boy screamed ‘No!’ a few more times, so she kept debating him.
The salads and biscuits hit the spot, we had time to finish, or surrender, a few minutes ahead of the main courses. RT doesn’t always get this part right, the timing of the courses, but this night they were spot-on.
The small plate with my steak and lobster tail and mashed potatoes was clean and sparse. I didn’t mind, I don’t need a lot of garnish and flourish.
Angel’s gumbo came on a larger plate and looked just like gumbo. Adam’s steak was larger than mine, but size isn’t everything.
Angel snorted her plate in an attempt to clear her sinuses. I carved into the steak and thought it a little tough, or maybe they just gave me a dull knife.
No, it was tough.
The lobster was tough too. You just can’t get a properly fresh and cooked lobster in the heartland. I knew it would be overcooked when I ordered it, it always is and not just at Ruby’s. Red Lobsters in the area can’t even cook lobster right. The thing was though, I wanted the taste of lobster regardless, even a chewy one. An overcooked, chewy lobster is still a lot better than no lobster. Lobster is kind of like sex that way.
I only finished about two thirds of my small steak, it was just too tough. The lobster only had about four bites in it, so I finished that, and the mashed potatoes were really good.
Angel had to give up on her gumbo, too spicy after a while, also she claimed to have lost some of her appetite when the mom at the next table kept asking the rowdy little boy if he was pooping.
We had a coupon so our meal was ten dollars cheaper than it could have been, coming in at forty seven bucks.
The service was all pleasant and efficient and timely. As a dining experience except for the family at the next table, it was exceptional. The food was pretty good, well the steak was too tough, but the first few bites were good.
The salad bar, of course, makes it all better. Why we don’t just order a salad bar and biscuits and be done with it, I’m not sure.