Sunday, November 8, 2015

What Happened to Chili's?

I recently visited Chili's. I hadn't been to one since 2007 in Santa Clara, but I knew what they were all about; a slightly upgraded version of Denny's with a baby back rib signature dish.

After experiencing a below par dining experience and feeling lost on their menu, all I can think is...WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO CHILI'S??? Guys, what is going on here? 

First of all, let's get one thing out of the way: Why in the HELL is prime rib on the menu at Chili's? What's next? Roasted grizzly bear? When did Chili's go all fine dining on us? Their menu is seriously suffering through a major identity crisis and Chili's has no clue what it's trying to be other than a "one stop shop" for anything and everything. It's like the AM/PM of the restaurant industry. Want a burger? Check. Steak? Oh yeah! Mexican? Absolutely! I guess I can understand this identity crisis as Sizzler has tanked and I'm not sure how good TGIF is doing since I don't hear much about 'em anymore. I guess they had to expand their menu to stay competitive.

But wait! If the food tastes good then who cares if their menu is a little confused? Well, that's the problem: their food sucks, at least at this location. On this particular day I was starving and opted for a ribeye steak...yeah, yeah, after trashing about them about the steaks I go and order one. I'm an asshole, I get it. The steak came with an order of two sides from a list of about six uninspiring selections. The result? The steak experiment didn't really work out:

Ribeye steak, beans, a butter lugey, and crusted mashed potatoes

So I usually order my steaks medium and more times than not they're served to me well done. Today I decided to live dangerously and ordered the ribeye medium rare. Because I had little faith they'd cook it correctly anyway, I figure it'd automatically cook to medium. The plan backfired. The steak came back rare, not the biggest issue in the world, but just, like, why the hell can't anyone properly cook a steak? Gordon Ramsay must be rolling around in his lamb sauce. 

The mashed potatoes were a disaster. Too much butter, not enough seasoning, and for some reason they were topped with this crusty cheese shell thing. Like everything at Chili's, it's just butter, cheese, and salt. That's it. Even the frickin' steak had a glob of butter on it, but it was still okay (despite the wrong cooking temperature). The potatoes? Awful. Since I make the greatest mashed potatoes in the universe, I was especially insulted by their incompetence. 

For an appetizer we ordered nachos, but instead what we got were, like, cheese chips:

Let's just add cheese onto everything to mask the fact that we don't know what we're doing anymore

The last part I'm gonna share is the dish from the other member of my party who ordered a chicken club sandwich thing. The problem? It had so much lettuce on it that even a vegan would complain. Check it out:

The San Diego version of Fangorn Forest

Note the lettuce on the plate; that was actually TAKEN OFF from this half of the sandwich. I DIDN'T KNOW THIS SANDWICH CAME TOPPED WITH A SALAD, CHILI'S! YOU SHOULD UPDATE YOUR MENU ACCORDINGLY! 

The baby back ribs, the original Chili's specialty, now just randomly appear in the menu. It's just very strange how this place has evolved but if you're looking for junk food I'd check out Denny's instead.