Chain Restaurants That Don't Suck


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Continuing the discussion from The Waterloo Dark Ale Status Thread:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @rc4 said:
    I mean the former. And what Podunk part of the US do you live in?

    I love in a part of the US which has actual salt water where you can buy actual seafood caught earlier the same day by actual fisherman at actual seafood restaurants, few of which are chains.

    @rc4 said:

    Around here the Red Lobsters are pretty decent.

    Where's that? Mars?

    Not all chain restaurants are crap. Here are two exceptions:

    • The Keg
    • Pappadeaux


  • Ruth's Chris steakhouse.



  • @antiquarian said:

    Pappadeaux
    +1



  • Seconded on Pappadeaux.

    The Melting Pot is quite good, if you like fondue. If you don't, well, you wouldn't be going there because that's all they have.

    Exactly one year ago today, I went there with my father for my birthday, and they had a seasonal special of a lobster bisque in fontina and butterkase for the cheese course. It was tremendously delicious. I think we had the bananas Foster fondue for the chocolate course, too.

    Filed Under: at those prices it had better be good



  • Nowhere near WA. FAIL.



  • Scotty P's is good if you like hamburgers.

    Fun fact: I always get the fried chicken tenders at Pappadeaux because they're the only place I know of that uses light, thin breading.



  • Chili's. Usually.

    Baby back ribs are great, but liable to put you to sleep. Salmon and Chicken Margarita each also delicious.



  • @redwizard said:

    but liable

    Is there something terribly wrong with me for reading that as 'butt labia'? Eww.

    Filed Under: I'm pretty sure those swollen things aren't lips



  • Apart from the post I am replying to, I have never heard of any of the chains mentioned in this topic before.


  • sockdevs

    @ScholRLEA said:

    @redwizard said:
    but liable

    Is there something terribly wrong with me for reading that as 'butt labia'? Eww.

    Filed Under: I'm pretty sure those swollen things aren't lips

    i'm more concerned with my misreading of

    @redwizard said:

    Salmon and Chicken Margarita
    as Salmonella and Chicken Margarita



  • @accalia said:

    @redwizard said:
    Salmon and Chicken Margarita
    as Salmonella and Chicken Margarita

    Sounds as :chicken: :doing_it_wrong:


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    @NedFodder said:

    Ruth's Chris steakhouse.

    I have never liked their food. Their steaks are unremarkable at best. The side dishes are the best part of their menu.



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    Is there something terribly wrong with me for reading that as 'butt labia'?

    I'm gonna go with "Yes. Yes, there is."



  • @Polygeekery said:

    @NedFodder said:
    Ruth's Chris steakhouse.

    I have never liked their food. Their steaks are unremarkable at best. The side dishes are the best part of their menu.

    Yes, they're overrated. You can always find a steakhouse with better steaks. But for a chain restaurant, I'd say Ruth's Chris is still really good.



  • @antiquarian said:

    The Keg

    I vehemently disagree.

    @NedFodder said:

    * steakhouse

    Never been to one that can cook a steak better than my poor-man's dry age and cheating-sear method.

    My list of non-sucky chains:

    • Five Guys. About the only hamburger places that makes proper hamburger-- 60/40 sirloin / chuck split. Salt. pepper. That's it.

    • St. Hubert. Chicken. Unfortunately, in the past couple decades, they've scaled back to be pretty much Quebec only. All we're left with is Swiss Chalet-- where you too can overpay to have someone serve you a quarter of an overcooked pigeon doused with salt.

    • Nando's. Portuguese chicken. Admittedly, I've had little to no experience with Portuguese chicken outside of Nandos, so I don't have a baseline. But the food's tasty, portions good, and price is not bad.



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    I've had little to no experience with Portuguese chicken outside of Nandos

    But it was a cheeky experience, right? ;)

    @Lorne_Kates said:

    Five Guys. About the only hamburger places that makes proper hamburger-- 60/40 sirloin / chuck split. Salt. pepper. That's it

    Agreed, but Fatburger and Smashburger are pretty good, too.



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    Nando's.

    :+1:


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @NedFodder said:

    You can always find a steakhouse with better steaks.

    I have yet to find a steakhouse that can make a better steak than I make at home.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @redwizard said:

    Chili's. Usually.

    Applebee's generally has pretty good food, for the price. Too bad their beer selection is absolute shit.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Lorne_Kates said:

    my poor-man's dry age and cheating-sear method.

    Care to share?



  • @Polygeekery said:

    @Lorne_Kates said:
    my poor-man's dry age and cheating-sear method.

    Care to share?

    1. Buy a steak suitable for grilling. T-Bone, tenderloin, rib eye, etc.
    2. Pat it dry with paper towel and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
    3. Wrap it in a layer of paper towel. Put it in fridge-- on a plate works, on a drying rack is better.
    4. 24 hours later, remove paper towel. Replace with a fresh layer.
    5. Repeat 24-hour-wrapping for up to 3 days

    The steak will now be dry-aged. It won't be as watery, and the meat flavor will be concentrated. There will be a nice dry crust on the outside, perfect for searing.

    Cheaty-searing

    • Preheat oven to 500f. Put a cast iron pan inside there
    • While oven is heating, take out steak and leave on counter for 10-30 minutes, to bring it up to room temp
    • Rub gently with veg oil (or grapeseed, or any other high-temp, low-flavor oil). Season with a bit more salt if desired.
    • Remove cast iron from oven. Wear a fucking glove, idiot. Put it on stove on high.
    • Sear steak, 30-seconds to 1 minute per side.
    • Put pan back in oven. Cook 1-2 minutes per side, depending on thickness and desired doneness.

    Remove from pan. Let sit covered loose in foil for ~10 minutes.

    Done. Perfect steak. Meaty, tender. Crisp on the outside. Cooked so fast (and from room temp) that it will reach the desired doneness all the way through (rather than a huge layer of well-done, and a thin layer of edible in the middle). Whatever juices are left over on the plate can be used in a reduction sauce, or fed to the dog.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Lorne_Kates said:

    Wear a fucking glove, idiot

    +1


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Lorne_Kates said:

    Five Guys.

    They're good. They do their thing, and they do just that. Expertise in a bun.



  • I've only ever seen one Five Guys here - the one in Solihull (I know there are more) but it was too near proper restaurants so it didn't really appeal.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @loopback0 said:

    Five Guys

    I've never been but I just looked at their menu. A pound of fries seems a bit excessive.



  • @antiquarian said:

    I've never been but I just looked at their menu. A pound of fries seems a bit excessive.

    Order the smallest fries they have. Then share with another person or two.



  • Subway's not bad. It's relatively cheap and the pizza sub is nice.



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    Order the smallest fries they have.

    QFT

    @Lorne_Kates said:

    Then share with another person or two.
    Since I rarely have anyone with whom to share them, I usually end up throwing at least half of them away.

    @loopback0 said:

    it was too near proper restaurants so it didn't really appeal.
    There was one across the street from where I used to work. Needless to say, it was a popular place to go for a quick lunch.



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    @antiquarian said:
    I've never been but I just looked at their menu. A pound of fries seems a bit excessive.

    Order the smallest fries they have. Then share with another person or two.

    When I'm sharing with another person, I order the largest fries. They fill up the fry cup, usually dump another big scoop of fries in the bag on top of everything (fries go in the bag last... of the food, anyway; I can't remember if napkins go in after fries or not), and I still wish they'd give us more.

    Filed under: They're fried in peanut oil, Healthy calories don't count



  • @Choonster said:

    Subway's not bad.

    Wrong.



  • @anotherusername said:

    @Lorne_Kates said:
    Order the smallest fries they have. Then share with another person or two.

    When I'm sharing with another person, I order the largest fries. They fill up the fry cup, usually dump another big scoop of fries in the bag on top of everything (fries go in the bag last... of the food, anyway; I can't remember if napkins go in after fries or not), and I still wish they'd give us more.

    They do that with every size. Last time I ate at one, I made the mistake of getting a medium order of fries.



  • ITYM "regular". They come in little, regular, or large.

    And yes, they do dump more on top. You still get more fries if you order a large, otherwise there'd be no point. The only mistake would be paying more if you were going to get the same amount of fries either way.



  • @Dragnslcr said:

    They do that with every size.

    A small would be more than enough for me, even without dumping in the extra. Just the extra they dump on top is as big as a small order of fries at another fast food restaurant.



  • If I'd already eaten a cheeseburger "all-the-way"+jalapenos and a regular fries, then a small fries would probably be more than enough for me, too.

    Oh, peanuts. A couple of little trays of peanuts. Don't forget those.



  • @anotherusername said:

    A couple of little trays of peanuts.

    Meh. I know the burger and fries are more than going to be as much as I want to eat, or more, so I don't nibble on junk while I'm waiting.



  • @anotherusername said:

    And yes, they do dump more on top

    "Imma go to Five Guys and get a bag of fries". =)

    Oh, also, you may want to order "lite salt". All they do it shake the fries in the tray to pick up the remnants of the salt from the last order. It's still enough. Unless you're a horse and haven't had your salt lick for the day. In which case, NaCl away.



  • Either we have vastly differing opinions about salt, or they salt fries really heavily in the Five Guys restaurants around where you live (and don't in the ones around where I live).



  • @anotherusername said:

    Oh, peanuts. A couple of little trays of peanuts.

    :vomit:



  • @Choonster said:

    Subway's not bad. It's relatively cheap and the pizza sub is nice.

    I disagree about what they call pizza, but I like them for sandwiches. I especially like the huge array of veggies I can top a sandwich with. Other places, which may be better-tasting for what they serve, don't give me the option to make a sub with all the stuff I like on mine.



  • @David_C said:

    I disagree about what they call pizza, but I like them for sandwiches.

    I agree that it's not really much like a pizza, but the lunch meats are nice with the tomato sauce1 and the bread.

    1 Pizza sauce, not ketchup (which we also call tomato sauce in Australia)



  • How about Outback?

    I've only been there once actually (bought there by ex-colleague to persude me going back to that company), they cook the steak in front of you like when you're sitting in front of bartender and ordered cocktail. The steak served is okay as in neither overdone nor too raw. Since I only order black pepper steak, no comment on the seasoning.



  • @cheong said:

    How about Outback?

    I like their steaks, but don't care for anything else on their menu. Side dishes are all bland. Never been to one that cooks in front of you, but I don't know if that's enough to move it out of the "chain restaurants that suck" category...


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @loopback0 said:

    proper

    Don't let @boomzilla hear you say that



  • I like Carl's Jr.



  • I haven't been to a Benihana (or any teppanyaki restaurant for that matter) for some time. I wonder if they actually as good as I remember them being, or if it was mostly the flashy presentation.

    On an unrelated note, if you like Chicago style pizza, My Pi was always good, though I understand that most of the chain closed down in the 1990s for some reason. I gather that they've been expanding again lately, though.

    To go on another tangent, I rather like Fuddrucker's burgers, though they are only good, not great.



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    Fuddrucker

    :wtf:
    rukken = wanking



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    To go on another tangent, I rather like Fuddrucker's burgers, though they are only good, not great.

    I thought Fuddruckers was very good, but they moved out of the Buffalo area ten years ago, so I can't give them my support.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Lorne_Kates said:

    Done. Perfect steak. Meaty, tender. Crisp on the outside. Cooked so fast (and from room temp) that it will reach the desired doneness all the way through (rather than a huge layer of well-done, and a thin layer of edible in the middle). Whatever juices are left over on the plate can be used in a reduction sauce, or fed to the dog.

    That is almost exactly how I prepare my steaks, when I have the time to do so.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @ScholRLEA said:

    I wonder if they actually as good as I remember them being, or if it was mostly the flashy presentation.

    It was the presentation. Their food is usually edible, but not exceptional in any way.



  • Yeah, it's dinner and a show. Which doesn't suck, so it fits here.


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