Vegetarians look away. No really, I mean it because this post is all about meat. Or more specifically, ribs.
When you sit down in the impressively large but family friendly restaurant to peruse the menu, the page displaying the various rib options has this across the top: This is the stuff legends are made of. How right they are because Tony Roma’s is very much famous for their delicious, American cuisine of ribs and other delicious food items. The servings here are huge; the prices slightly expensive but not too bad when you consider just how big the portions are.
Since I’m off to Rottnest tomorrow, Jeremy offers to take me out for dinner to make up for our Friday apart. Any excuse will do to spend time with him over a yummy bite to eat. We already know we want ribs for dinner, and after previous dining experiences here, entrees just cannot be tackled in conjunction… even though the onion loaf looks incredible.
So to be fair to our stomachs we order a main each; our smiles wide as our friendly waitress takes our orders chirpily. For me, I’m going for the signature TR dish – the Original Baby Back Ribs in a regular slab size ($38.50). It’s tender, lean pork loin meat, basted with Tony Roma’s original BBQ sauce. With it comes two sides out of fries, mashed potato, baked potato, corn, brocolli, salad, coleslaw, rice or beans. I choose fries and corn on the cob, with a serving of honey mustard sauce (which wasn’t at an additional cost to my surprise!).
I’ve had this before and as always, it tastes great. The ribs are meaty; the sauce sticky and sweet and oh so satisfying. The chips are crunchy and just lightly starchy. It’s pretty filling for me, and the only reason I’ve chosen to one up my normal half slab order is so Jeremy can pick away or we can take it home with us (they do take away if you can’t finish!).
I get full pretty quick; though it’s no wonder since I chowed through the complimentary bread slices while waiting for our mains to come out. The bread is warm – soft in the centre and crunchy on the crust. The butter is garlicky and generous in the serving size. It’s even better because it’s free. Yes, that might sound stingy but we all know it’s true. The best things in life really are free at Tony Roma’s! (Oh bread, how I love thee…)
Jeremy and I order a couple drinks to accompany our mains. For me, I opt for a Fruit Tingle mocktail ($8.90) which the waitress tells me is the most popular on the menu. It’s orange, grenadine and a few other swirly ingredients which create this sunset looking beverage.
For Jeremy, he’s chosen the chocolate milkshake ($4.50), which is frothy, flavoursome and comes with a nice mountain of cream and syrup on top. And a cherry that he kindly offers me since they’re one of my guilty pleasure snacks.
Jeremy’s main is huge. He’s gone for the St Louis Ribs in a full slab ($40.50). They’re a larger, meatier cut of pork that has more natural marbling and is coated in Caroline Honeys BBQ sauce which is described as a mellow blend of real honey and molasses. He chooses fries and coleslaw as his sides.
I can’t lie. Mine was delicious – but his is twenty times better. The pork is cooked so perfectly and is so tender that it pulls off the bone clean! The sauce is sweet but has a nice kick to it; and it just seems to stubbornly cling to your fingers no matter how hard you try to eat carefully.
I will definitely be ordering this type of ribs next time I’m back here.
The service at Tony Roma’s is on par with the quality of food. The restaurant is bustling and full of happy faces enjoying a cheap drink while they wait for their impending assault on meat. The smells remind me of the days Jeremy and I laze around watching Man vs Food where everything just seems to be barbeque focussed and so unlike what is generally on offer in Australia.
It’s a restaurant that might not be fancy, but it gets it right everytime. If you love meat, or you love ribs in particular, this is the place for you.