It’s no secret, especially when you look at my blog, that I’m not the healthiest eater. It’s hard to have self-control at a restaurant, especially if whoever I’m with is eating something really good. And it’s become so easy to say “its for food blog research”. When I cook at home, on the other hand, I actually control it very well. I look for recipes that are delicious but not super heavy, and substitute healthier items as much as I can. I also meal plan, which helps me balance what I’m eating.
Last week I was in OKC running errands all morning and afternoon, so eating lunch at home was out of the question. I go to OKC about every 6 weeks or so, and hit all the stores that we don’t have in Stillwater. There’s a vicious rumor going around that we’re getting a Sam’s Club in Stillwater which would be awesome, especially because it would go literally 2 minutes from my house. But for now, I have to drive to OKC or Tulsa.
Before I even go to OKC I’m thinking ahead of what to eat for lunch. The first few years I would always go to one of 3 or 4 places, but once I began the food blog, I had to branch out. I realized that the next new restaurant would be #200, which means I needed something epic. But I couldn’t come up with anything worthy of that. And then I remembered I could get my free birthday burger from Red Robin. Not epic, but delicious no less.
I don’t think I’ve been to Red Robin since I began the blog. About a month ago I saw a post from a fellow blogger that the restaurant had gone through a revitalization of their menu and interior. So I figured this would be a great opportunity to check it out.
The location in OKC on N. Memorial hasn’t changed it’s interior at all from what I could tell. There’s a good-sized waiting area as soon as you walk in, a large open kitchen taking up most of the left wall of the restaurant, a bar section to the right, and the main dining room takes up most of the rest of the space. There’s also an outdoor patio in the back, and the whole place is very kid friendly. Since it was college football Saturday I sat in the bar area so I could watch games. The bar area is a combination of high top tables, regular tables, and booths.
One change I did notice when I sat down was an electronic tablet at each table. You can call your server, order another round of drinks, and pay your bill all from there. I know there are a couple of other chains that are doing that, and I think that’s a great idea, especially in this casual type of restaurant. My server came to the table a couple minutes after I sat down, and came back to check on me a few times while I was thinking. When I asked her if I should press the call button when I was ready she said no, I should just flag her down. I’m wondering if they get dinged on that by management as not being attentive enough.
When you join their Red Robin Royalty program, you get a free burger during your birthday month. I’m sure there are other rewards, but I couldn’t even tell you what they are. It’s the free burger that sold me.
As I browsed the menu I noticed they have added some items to the standard menu since the last time I was there, and they’ve also added several premium burgers. Of course, the premium burgers don’t count for the free burger, but that’s okay.
They have a ton of burgers on the menu, as well as chicken sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups, and even a few entrees. They also have a really big drink menu. In addition to soft drinks, they’ve got a selection of lemonades, iced teas, and a full bar. I wasn’t sure if the chicken sandwiches would count for the free option, but I was on a burger mission so I didn’t even ask. And of course I couldn’t decide which burger to get, because there are literally 15 different ones. Since I was starving, I decided to try their new mini wedge salad while I thought about it.
This salad was so good! And larger than I expected for just $3. So often restaurant salads are over-dressed, but this one was just the opposite. I momentarily thought about asking for a little more dressing, but decided to save the calories. There were huge chunks of bleu cheese, the lettuce and tomatoes were ice cold, and the onion straws added a very nice contrast in temperature and texture. I savored every single bite.
I couldn’t decide between the Bleu Ribbon, Whiskey River BBQ and Banzai burgers. After some help from the server I finally decided on the Whiskey River.
I’m not normally a big fan of BBQ sauce on a burger, but this one was excellent. The sauce was both sweet and tangy, and lent great flavor. The meat was cooked more medium well than my requested medium, but it was still very good.
Red Robin is known for their bottomless steak fries. They’ve since added sweet potato fries and broccoli to the options. But who’s going to eat bottomless broccoli?? The steak fries were just as good as I remembered. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and served scorching hot. They start you out with less than they used to, but that’s not a bad thing because the fries don’t have time to get cold. And if you want more, you just have to ask. I do like that the first batch is served it a little metal container, which is a big step up in presentation from the previous basket.
Did I need more fries? Of course not. But I wanted to try the sweet potato, so I asked for some
I was really disappointed because they weren’t hot, and had obviously been sitting for a while. And I got them in the basket rather than the cool little container. However, they had amazing flavor. Had they been hot, they might—just might—have been better than the regular. Maybe it’s a good thing they weren’t hot, because it kept me from eating more than just a few.
Yes, of course I will continue to eat here. Probably not much more often than during my birthday month, but that’s only because I don’t need bottomless fries very often. And I have no self-control to not get more than one serving.