Last visit: October 2013 (Dallas)
Other locations: Austin (2); Houston (1); Florida (4); California (1)
June 2013 update: Adding the Dallas location, that is also mentioned in the original review below. We recently had a business dinner there, with a fairly large group (there were 7 of us). Mrs. RJG joined us as well. The food was great, as usual. Probably the biggest hit amongst the group was the lobster bisque, which is truly sublime. Everyone seemed to authentically enjoy the meal. However, it probably wasn't the ideal spot for this get together, as this particular location is very loud, and it wasn't easy to hear everyone. That's a testimony to the quality of the food, and its continuing popularity (it was a Wednesday, generally a slow night elsewhere) - and not really a complaint. Just not the right venue for what we needed. The Southlake location would have been better for that, but most of the group was attending a downtown convention. Now I know better!
Typically Mrs. RJG and I travel on our anniversary, but this year we decided to stay home. As such we went for a "splurge" meal to celebrate. This blog is named the Regular Joe's Guide for a reason, and that's because we both really, truly (to repeat: really truly) prefer regular restaurants to the fancy ones. So it is mainly in my business life that I will end up at these restaurants. Again, I would prefer more down-home places myself, but I'm clearly in the minority with my peers on that front. In any case, it is no surprise that my first two visits to Truluck's were for business. The first goes back to my former job in 2005 at the McKinney Avenue location - and about 3 years ago, a vendor came into town and we dined at the Southlake store. Obviously I enjoyed it enough to suggest to Mrs. RJG that this would be an excellent place to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
And Trulucks did not let me down. Though it is, without a doubt, a pocket drainer.
Mrs. RJG and I both know that ordering a bottle of wine is the real culprit at these places. The markups on wine are ridiculous. However, neither of us felt like a beer, and we usually enjoy wine with our meal - so we went "dumb" and ordered a very nice bottle of Chardonnay from Oregon (for $60 - online price $30). Certainly it was an excellent wine, and is worth all $30 (wheez). They provide homemade bread (a darker cranberry bread, and a more traditional Italian white, with sweet made butter), both of which were delicious. As an appetizer, the hot n' crunchy shrimp proved to be a good choice. A tempura styled fried shrimp with hot chile flakes in the mix. 4 huge shrimp came out, and had to be considered a highlight of the meal. For dinner, Mrs. RJG started with a garden salad - which is the classic "backyard" mix of greens and a sweet honey vinaigrette. And I had the Lobster Bisque, which was stunningly good. So rich and creamy. For entrees, we each went with the Chilean sea bass. Hers was the Miso glaze with crab fried rice, and mine was pan seared with rice pilaf. Along with swordfish, Chilean sea bass has to be at the top for flavorful thick white fishes. Both of our dishes were expertly prepared, and delicious. Since the waiter figured out we were on our anniversary, something we weren't going to advertise, he gave us a free chocolate cake with a hot cherry jubilee. It was super rich - very good - but ultimately too sweet for us to finish. But it was extremely nice of the gentleman, and the restaurant, to do that for us. Mrs. RJG finished the evening with an Irish Creme. I usually don't comment on the service, one way or the other, but our server this night was exceptionally professional. Superb.
Overall, a sublime meal. Worth $240 (after tip)? Probably not, because I'm just not sure anything at that price is. Some of the best meals I've ever had came in under $20 after tip (for one). But if someone else is paying, or you are on an elaborate (i.e. Sales) expense account - then Truluck's is a must. I consider it better than most places in this category.