You wouldn’t guess there was a recession going on, judging by the crowd at the cavernous new Texas Roadhouse, a Kentucky-based American cuisine- barbecue chain.

Me, I’m at a loss to figure out why it was so hard to find a parking space. Other than a big bucket of peanuts at every table (gotta love those nuts), I found the food downright mediocre.

An appetizer of crisp fried pickle chips was mouth-puckeringly salty. A friend’s rib-eye steak, thin and overcooked, had to be sent back; the rare replacement was neither juicy nor flavorsome. Roast chicken tasted reheated. Best were ribs, which had some smoky overtones; they were tender in some places, hard and crusty in others.

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Servers were cheerful; a few started spontaneously line dancing. Cute, but not enough to lasso me in for a return visit.

Texas Roadhouse is at 2571 Hempstead Tpke., East Meadow, 516-520-7427.