Last week it was rainy (like it is now) and Shane felt like eating a burger. So we opted for a place from the past, the Red Robin near Lougheed Mall. It’s really from Shane’s past ‘cause he actually used to work at a Red Robin when he was a teenager (which is funny because he can’t really cook meat – everything is well done with him). I used to go there a lot back in the day, but both of us haven’t been for a couple of years (mainly because the couple of times we tried, we were waiting to be seated and absolutely no one came to greet us, so we left after about 5 minutes).
Anyway, as soon as we stepped in, it was like traveling back in time; all the fixtures were brassy, there was the same old Red everything, the wildly colourful carpet and the crazy patterned fabric in the booths. We arrived around lunchtime, and surprisingly, the place was hopping—lots of kid’s birthday parties, teenagers, and families.
To drink, Shane opted for the strawberry ‘freckled’ lemonade, which, like all their pop at Red Robin, was bottomless. I find this awesome, even though of course I can usually only manage a couple of rounds. The beverage itself was a little too sweet, but as the ice melted and diluted the drink, it became pretty nice and refreshing. The strawberries were not fresh, but rather soggy and macerated; however it did give a subtle strawberry flavour to the lemonade.
I chose the Red Robin Bacon Cheeseburger (with pickles! This was 10-11 bucks). The burger arrived with “bottomless” steak fries, and it was big. The tomato and lettuce were fresh, and the patty was relatively juicy, though the meat needed more seasoning. The bacon slices were so pitifully thin that I could hardly taste the bacon, and they were so generous with the mayo that it was all I could taste. The mayo made the burger a big, soggy mess. I like messy burger, but it's not so nice when large squirts of mayo drip from it as you bite the burger.
The fries were quite good: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Now, on to one of the best things about Red Robin: their Buzz sauce (hot sauce) that they put on their wings. It’s vinegary, salt, hot, and different from the usual Louisiana style hot sauce. Really good with the fries.
Shane ordered the Guacamole Bacon Burger, and he had the same issues as I did – the lack of meat seasoning, the thin slices of bacon, the way too much mayo. Of course, his burger was extra soggy because of the guacamole, but that’s Shane’s own fault really.
Alas, we were too stuffed to even order a second helping of fries, or even get dessert. I remember Red Robin used to have the greatest banana splits, with pineapple, strawberry and chocolate sauces and an entire banana in a huge oblong metal bowl. I’m sorry to say that particular item has been off the menu for years now....
Red Robin’s burgers are generally pretty good based on our previous dining experiences, so I’m guessing maybe they had an off day. Those burgers are not the same calibre as Vera’s or any of the gourmet burger places of course, but there is something cool about Red Robin’s history and their huge portions (and ‘bottomlessness’ !).
We’ll probably won’t be back for a long while, but we’ll be back...eventually.