This full-service chain restaurant has that '70s look — “hodgepodge lodge,” a la TGI Friday’'s — and a cheery crew. I went around noon and was seated immediately; by the time I’d finished eating, the line was out the door. A waitress I asked told me the wait this past weekend ran over two hours.
From a long list of burgers, my favorite was the spicy, juicy char-grilled turkey burger, served on a whole-grain bun with chipotle mayo, lettuce and tomatoes. The signature “Whiskey River” BBQ burger” featured a grilled beef patty (which they’ll only cook “with a little pink” – i.e., medium – or “with no pink” – medium well) crowned with barbecue sauce, Cheddar, fried onion straws, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo.
Wish I could have gotten mine medium-rare, since it wasn’t all that juicy. Still, with all those toppings, did it matter? Accompanying "bottomless" (free replenishment) steak fries were the previously frozen variety. A much better side was mac ‘n' cheese (an extra 99 cents), crusty on top, the corkscrew pasta al dente.
Another nice surprise: a competently done Cobb salad, which I got with pretty decent ranch dressing on the side. But a chocolate malted wasn’t nearly chocolate-y enough.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is at 125 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, 516-248-3700
Above, "Whiskey River" barbecue burger at Red Robin, Carle Place