Jimmy Mac’s Roadhouse

by KimHo on June 24, 2010 · 8 comments under: Food,Restaurant,Travel

Jimmy Mac’s Roadhouse
34902 Pacific Hwy South
225 SW 7th Street (Location visited)
Renton, WA
Jimmy Mac's Roadhouse on Urbanspoon

I have told people a couple of times that, when I am on a business trip, I have a meal budget (a topic which was briefly mentioned in Tuesday’s post of Shiro’s Sushi). While that is all good, truth is constant business travelling is not as glamorous as a lot of people believe it is – specially not in North American airports. Sure, some expenses are paid for; however, you still have to deal with a lot. For example, security check-in, customs checks, dealing with different time zones and then there is the travelling itself component (delayed flights, among a long list of things that can go wrong…). In my case, depending on the customer’s hours and the project itself, I can be out of their office as early as 4:00 p.m. (mainly because all the office start work early due to commute) and as late as 9:00 p.m. (needed things done). That is why, a lot of times, I do research of places I want to go ahead of time as well as backup plans. On one day, I had to stay in the office until late because, well, it was a case of things needed to be done and didn’t leave until it was close to 8:00 p.m. At the time of my visit to Seattle, it was technically spring but it was so close to the solstice (which was this past Monday), that, having still that sunlight gives you some desire to go outside and venture. However, rather than venturing to Seattle as previous nights, I decided to go to the areas near the hotel, namely, Renton. Alas, a couple of wacky turns lead me to nowhere and, when I finally found the place I wanted to go, it was sort of a disappointing looking fast food restaurant. It was a mixed blessing as that gave me an out but, at the same time, that meant looking for another place to eat. That’s how I spotted Jimmy Mac’s Roadhouse and just went in for something to eat…

Jimmy Mac's, Roadhouse, Renton, Tukwila, steakhouse, peanuts

After walking in, this space reminded me right away of Lone Star Steakhouse, a mid-end steakhouse in New Jersey. Open space, a cooling fridge with what seems to be a butcher on-site, peanuts shells on the floor (though no peanuts were offered this time – damn, that sounded strange…; I guess I should have walked somewhere to grab some…) and… Why the hell I was seated in the darkest corner in the restaurant?! OK, I mentioned I wanted a table but, c’mon, you didn’t have to hide me. I have absolutely no shame for hoarding a table for myself! :P (OK, I didn’t want to seat at the bar because there were too many intimidating guys in that area and not sure if they would have appreciated my SLR…) As a result, I apologize for the subpar pictures.

Jimmy Mac's, Roadhouse, Renton, Tukwila, steakhouse, peanuts, yeast, roll, bread, honey, butter

When I was walking to the restaurant, the waitress grabbed a basket with bread and some butter. Sigh… C’mon, did you really have to serve all this??? I mean, I was by myself and I am sure I could have eaten all that but you didn’t have to bring it all at once! Anyway, these are their “homemade yeast rolls with whipped honey butter” was actually what was promised it would be. If was really airy (if you have had certain buns in a Chinese bakery, you will have an idea), fluffy, soft and buttery (it was partially “glazed” on top). Didn’t taste much of a honey component of the butter but, regardless, the rolls were actually quite good due to that fluffiness. But, the Chinese in me hit me with the “c’mon, you are going to get full eating bread!”. OK, me eating more than one of these would have been overkill – there is a limit on how much bread I am willing to eat on a daily basis.

Jimmy Mac's, Roadhouse, Renton, Tukwila, steakhouse, peanuts, crawfish, chowder

Jimmy Mac's, Roadhouse, Renton, Tukwila, steakhouse, peanuts, crawfish, chowder

Moving to the “appetizer”, and that might be a stretch, I ordered their crawfish chowder. there were some chunks of what seems to be crawfish; however, because it was quite dark, I couldn’t really tell if that was indeed the case. The texture was quite creamy but wasn’t really smooth. Depending on how you like your chowder, it could go both wasy. However, one thing turned me off: a salty aftertaste. Now, I understand there is the need for sodium but in this case it was overkill…

Jimmy Mac's, Roadhouse, Renton, Tukwila, steakhouse, peanuts, mushroom, sauteed

Jimmy Mac's, Roadhouse, Renton, Tukwila, steakhouse, peanuts, baked, beans

Moving to the entrees, here are the two sides I chose to along with the main. In this case, sauteed mushrooms and baked beans. The beans were actually quite good and, other than some excessive sweetness, I could be eating bowls and bowls of this. The mushroom, though… Not sure if sauteed will be the best description; instead, it felt similar to the ones you from the canned version. Furthermore, that saltiness issue I had with the chowder was observed here as well. Ouch.

Jimmy Mac's, Roadhouse, Renton, Tukwila, steakhouse, peanuts, sirlon, steak

Jimmy Mac's, Roadhouse, Renton, Tukwila, steakhouse, peanuts, crab, cake

Finally, then entree. In their menu, they make mention of steaks and crab cakes so that automatically means I will be ordering it. Fortunately, I had the option of make my own “combo” by choosing two different options, like sirloin, crab cakes, baby back ribs, chicken, shrimps, et al. When it arrived at the table, the waitress asked me to cut the steak to ensure it was cooked the way I wanted (medium rare). Now, again, I wasn’t sure how I would be able to determine how pink it was because there was barely enough light but I wasn’t in the mood of sending it back so I told her it was OK.

Jimmy Mac's, Roadhouse, Renton, Tukwila, steakhouse, peanuts, crab, cake

The steak wasn’t that bad considering the $$$. It was as tender as it could be and it was juicy enough. Not sure if they really let it rest because there was a lot of liquid/juices flowing the plate after that first cut. Again, by the price, it wasn’t that bad, if not for one factor… That one common detail that has plagued this meal: A heavy salty aftertaste. (sigh). As for the crab cake, that was the one single component that I can say was good (based on the restaurant) without too much complain. It had a good ratio of crab/non-crab meat/fillers and crispy enough.

After settling the bill, I noticed the other customers were having a good time. I guess this is a place for gathering, not necessarily for the food. Instead, the food is the excuse. As for me, it is the type of restaurant you can expect and, while it worked because I was hungry, I think I can do better. If you are in the area, though, and don’t want to drive to Seattle, at least it is an option.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LotusRapper June 24, 2010 at 9:19 pm

How much was the steak ?

Coincidentally we *are* going down to Renton this weekend (like we did regularly for the past 10 yrs since we have friends there) but we’ve never ever eaten *in* Renton. We’ve always drove back to Seattle, U District or just Bellevue or Kirkland. Renton is, well, Renton … wut u see iz wut u git. Maybe this time I’ll actually wander by JM’s.

(last month when we were down

2 KimHo June 24, 2010 at 9:27 pm

LR, the steak + crab cake was ~$20. Other steaks are between $20 and $30 (including primer rib). But, yeah, Renton is Renton. Given the network of highways there, you might as well go to Seattle or the other places you suggested.

3 LotusRapper June 25, 2010 at 2:57 am

You been to the Triple X Diner ? It’s at Issaquah. A fun place, esp. if you happen to be a car-nut like me:


4 KimHo June 25, 2010 at 5:50 am

LR, 3:00 a.m.? I haven’t been there mainly because it would be a major detour of I-5, where I usually drive through. However, if I go to, say, Bellevue, well, I will keep it in mind!

5 trisha June 26, 2010 at 1:49 am

it’s my fault she served you that much bread. i would eat it ALL… and not even notice. and then i would eat 10 crab cakes before moving onto dessert. the crab cake looks pretty good, all things considered. i’ve had some really sad crab cakes in vancouver. :(

6 KimHo June 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

Trisha, for some reason, I can believe you can eat THAT much (after all, I have seen Mijune eat!!!). It is quite interesting most crab cakes here sucks, as I have had my share of crab cakes as well and most of them have been fail.

7 LotusRapper June 27, 2010 at 9:57 pm


[Renton report]: the only meal out we had this past wknd in Renton was at Torero’s, at North Benson Center. Total gringo food, made worst by the wait staff’s perfunctory “Amigo, this, Amigo, that ….”. Yikes. First time there, and it will also be my last time there. I didn’t have the privilege to suggest to our hosts another option :-(

8 Jay Butnett December 23, 2010 at 5:25 pm

AJimmy Mac’s is one of the best places for going out on a reasonable budget that I’ve found. On top of that, the poeple that work at the Jimmy Mac’s in Renton are all, without exception, the nicest folks I’ve met in a long time. Yes, I eat there a lot. No, I don’t have an ownership interest in the place…but I’ve been a customer of their’s for more than a year and a half and can’t recommend them highly enough.

And I’ve never been their either in the dark or when there weren’t enough peanuts to satisfy anyone’s need for protein.

So go, and when you get there, tell them Jay sent you.

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