Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Red Robin

Fresh off our skydiving adventure, we were in Virginia and starving from the adrenaline rush. I steered our merry band of plane jumpers to Red Robin in Falls Church. Red Robin is a casual chain serving burgers, bottomless steak-cut fries, and tasty drink concoctions. It's loud, brightly colored, and generally packed with kids.

Full disclosure: this post is biased by the fact that I grew up eating at Red Robin regularly. I have no idea if I'd like it as much if it didn't bring back fond memories.

One of my favorite parts of the menu is the drink section. From the root beer floats to the strawberry "freckled" lemonade, there is a lot to smile about. No, these aren't "craft" cocktails with "housemade" ingredients, but who can resist an umbrella and cherry in your drink?

When I was a kid, I always ordered the clamstrips or clucks and fries (chicken tenders). I've matured slightly past the fried basket of fried friedness. Slightly. I still giggle when I see the BLTA sandwich on the menu. I remember my sister ordering it without the "T and A" and drawing quite a chuckle from the waiter and my Dad. The joke went way over our heads twenty years ago and still isn't that funny, but it brings me back to my childhood.

Somewhere around college I discovered the Whiskey River BBQ chicken wrap and it became my new favorite. Don't let those slices of cantaloupe fool you, this is no healthy dish. The tortilla strips and ranch dressing that are nestled in the wrap may not be on anyone's list of health foods, but they're yummy!

B loved every bite of his Burnin' Love burger featuring a mouth-blistering combo of fried jalapenos, salsa, and pepper jack cheese. I stole one sizzling bite and loved the crunch of the jalapenos. While not quite Ray's Hell Burger, this burger compared favorably to Ray's New Jack Zing.

Red Robin doesn't have the best burgers on the planet, but is a reliable choice if you find yourself wandering suburbia on an empty stomach.

Second Thought from B

There are several levels of burger joints. The bottom rung is occupied by our friends with the drive thru windows. Nothing fancy, good for you, or even recognizable, but they are fast, filling, and tasty. At the top would be the burgers found at "tablecloth" restaurants that are putting a modern or sophisticated twist on America's sandwich. Here you'll find artisanal cheeses and exotic meats. Red Robin is in the group somewhere in between, and for whatever reason, has proven itself to be our go-to celebratory location.

Maybe it was the rush of having jumped out of a plane just hours before, but my first bite produced an eye popping, "Wow!" Similarly, just the mention of Red Robin now produces a melodic, "yuuuum" from our friend and Red Robin first-timer, Chris, as if he were trying out for a Mel Brooks movie. Sure, that's the company jingle, but this is heartfelt yummage.

Could our response be driven by the adrenaline? Maybe so... even, probably so. Consider this: a few hours after getting engaged on the top of a mountain, J and I celebrated with her parents at, you guessed it, Red Robin (yuuuum!).

So what is it about this place? Frankly, I have no idea but as they say, the proof is in the pudding. I don't know what that means but I think it has something to do with going to Red Robin (yuuuum!) when you want to celebrate with reliably good food and good friends. Throw in bottomless freckled lemonade, and I'm there!
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers on Urbanspoon