My culinary hero, Anthony Bourdain, has been known to knock chain restaurants. Even though he has confessed to a fondness for KFC's coleslaw, Bourdain essentially rights chains off as being soulless purveyors of mediocre food, and places where no "serious eater" would visit.
Taking a cue from my idol, I refrained from reviewing chain food, on this blog, for a long time. That policy was a mistake for three reasons.
- Some chain food is friggin' delicious. Seriously, most recipes, used by chains, have been flavor tested and tweaked countless times to make sure it's something you'll rave about at work the next day. Even chain restaurants depend on positive word-of-mouth for sustained business.
- Chain food is the food I share in common with many of my readers. Readers from California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey will probably never eat at Tasty 'n Sons or Richie's Taco Truck in Portland, but they can visit their local Olive Garden or Applebee's, and have roughly the same eating experience I had.
- I'M NOT ANTHONY BOURDAIN! I'm not a wealthy chef who can eat at Michelin ranked restaurants on a regular basis. Most of the places I eat at are chain restaurants. When I exclude such places, I drastically limit what I can write about.
First up is Applebee's Citrus Lime Sirloin, a grilled 7 oz. cut of sirloin steak topped with; a Latin Chili sauce, chopped cilantro, and lime juice; served alongside a mound of potatoes, zucchini, and green beans for $14.99.
I didn't have my camera with me, but you can click link above to see a copywritten picture of the dish on Applebee's own server.
The kitchen at 1220 N.W. 185th Avenue in Beaverton, Oregon got the steak to my table medium rare, as I ordered it, and hot in a timely manner. The sauce was pleasantly sweet and spicy without being cloying or tongue searingly hot. Beneath the balanced sauce, I could taste the tender succulent well seasoned beef.
The veggies were adequately seasoned and maintained a semi-crisp texture, but were nothing special. My meal included a hefty portion of them though. Their inclusion as the steak's side, rather than fries or onion rings, allowed the meal to appear healthier, even if, at 570 calories, it doesn't quite qualify for their 550 Calorie Menu.
All things considered, I give Applebee's Citrus Lime Sirloin 7.5 out of 10 stars.