Friday, July 06, 2012

Bowie Restaurant Project: (53) Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

Red Robin at Bowie Town Center
For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.

For a list of all the Bowie Restaurant Project reviews, look here.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, 15650 Excelsior Dr
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 07/01/2012
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 2
Pre-Foursquare Visits: No
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I like a good burger joint. My favorite place in the world to get burgers is Bare Back Grill in San Diego. Grass-fed beef, properly cooked, good beer, and at the Pacific Beach location a beach -- what more could you want? In Maryland, you're not going to get that, but in Hyattsville, near where we used to live, you can find Franklin's and Hank's. I give the edge to Franklin's, but both do a good job.

The first time I got food from Red Robin, I was confused about what type of place it was -- I didn't realize it was a sit-down restaurant. So I ended up picking up my order at the bar from a very nice employee. They have a selection of interesting ways to prepare the burgers, but they didn't offer me how they wanted it cooked, so I ended up with a well-done burger. A well-done burger can be an enjoyable experience (as I'm reminded whenever I end up at Wendy's), but it's not going to be great. After taking my meal back to the office, I found out that people said you could specify how you wanted your burger cooked, but you had to make a point of telling them.

I didn't have an opportunity to try this out until recently, when the power outage sent us fleeing to a local hotel and much of Bowie to the restaurants that still had power. A 40-minute wait seemed reasonable under the circumstances.

I ended up ordering another burger, this time medium-rare. It showed up well-done, but was otherwise tasty. Christina, having had a burger recently, had the fish and chips, which she enjoyed. The twins had selections from their fairly extensive kids' menu. Christina and I both had their endless root beer float, which was tasty.

The service was somewhat spotty. Some of that may have been due to the power-outage-related rush, but probably not all of it. I only got one refill on the endless float, because it was hard to flag down our waiter, who also forgot items here and there.

So the bottom line is that I can't rate it too well as a burger joint. I don't think the burger I had was appreciably better than one from the nearby Five Guys, although the choice of toppings is more interesting here. Burgers tended to run around $9, so you'll pay for that variety. If I'm by myself and I want a burger, I'll save a few bucks and head to Five Guys

On the other hand, you'll get a sit-down experience and more options for entertaining the kids. We had a nice enough time. But with the disappointing nature of their signature dish and the many other options in the immediate vicinity (DuClaw, Uno, for example), I can't rate this any higher than 2.5 stars.

Bowie Restaurant Update

Today marks the anniversary of my first review. I managed a once-a-week average in the first year. I thought I'd do better, but I have run out of a little bit of steam once the list narrowed to sit-down restaurants, many of them uninspiring. It's pricey dining out, it's time consuming, and with kids it can be exhausting. I'm still planning to finish the project, but I am not in any particular hurry.

That leaves 26 restaurants (3 of which are not open yet). So I need a pace of one restaurant every other week to finish by next July.

About a month ago, there was a fire at the Jersey Mike's sub shop under construction, reported Bowie Living. I'm not sure how that will impact their planned opening.

Despite the fact that they told me three months ago that they'd have online ordering in 30 days, the online ordering page at Bang Bang Mongolian Grill still says "coming soon". It doesn't seem a great dine-in place for two-year-olds, so I'll probably wait until they have that option, or I can convince someone to do lunch there.

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