Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., March 14
Warning: Red Robin Is Not for Date Night
M had never been to Red Robin before last weekend. A friend of his made the recommendation, and when M suggested it for date night, I was game. As a kid, I loved Red Robin hamburgers, and it had probably been 30 years since I last had one. I didn’t love the idea of eating at the Plaza Bonita mall, but the restaurant has its own entrance, so we didn’t have to go in the mall.
As soon as we walked in the door, M said, “This probably isn’t the best place for date night.” I had to agree. The bright lighting, and the number of kids in the place gave it a Chuck E. Cheese vibe, which no date night restaurant should ever have.
From the waiting area, I spied what looked like it might be a quiet, upstairs nook. I asked the hostesses if we could sit up there. When they said yes, we decided to stay. After a fifteen-minute wait, the hostess called our name. A young man led us up the stairs at a bizarre leisurely pace.
“He’s walking like he’s outside and it’s a nice day,” M said.
The kid-noise didn’t completely go away once we were upstairs, but it did fade a bit. By a bit, I mean a very little bit. M said, “Hmmm. It’s so loud in here that you actually feel like you have privacy.”
M ordered the French Onion soup and a Burnin’ Love Burger (jalapeno, salsa, Pepper-Jack, and meat spiced with cayenne). I had the Sauteed ‘Shroom Burger.
M said two things about his soup:
1) “They said it comes with bread.” (Funny because he gestured toward the tiny wedge of flatbread that, to him, hardly weighed enough to count as “it comes with bread.”) 2) “This seems like it will kill me. It’s good, but I feel like I’m eating straight sodium.”
Of his burger, he said. “It’s hot.”
My burger was underwhelming, as many wonders of childhood often are when revisited as an adult. But even still, I’ll take a loud restaurant and a boring burger any day, as long as they come with the company of my lovely, caustic husband.
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