Applebee's: all quiet on the luncheon front


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J. Wohletz
Applebee's French onion soup and Clubhouse Grille sammie.
While I waited for my food, I had a few minutes -- precisely fifteen -- to fondly recall my time working in food service. There were many times that the work was hard, sweaty and unrewarding, but hanging out with my coworkers after hours with a lot of cursing and way too many drinks made the work far less unbearable. The Applebee's shakers of margarita were a smooth, nearly perfect blend of sweet, salty, sour and liquored, and I loved nothing more than to make that first cut into a juicy, Cajun-spiced steak and watch the blood run on to a mess of fried red potatoes and sautéed onions. It was all about the little things, and although Applebee's wasn't the finest restaurant in the world, it was a convenient little nook of pleasure wherein I could eat, drink a lot and be merry while not having to bring anything to anyone, cook anything, or clean up.

And this day, all I had to do was eat. My lunch arrived and I was glad I'd ordered the tacos: The crispy wonton shells, the salty but well-seasoned diced chicken and chilly, cilantro slaw topping were a good mix of textures, flavors and temperatures. The fiesta salad was another worthy choice, with a sweet, tangy cilantro vinaigrette-y dressing on the finely-chopped romaine, fried tortilla strips, diced chicken breast and corn-black bean salsa.

The lemon shrimp fettuccine looked like it had been benched for a bit while the other dishes were prepared -- the sauce had seized up -- and the grilled shrimp were far too salty, but the addition of fresh tomatoes and spinach to the cheese sauce made the fettucine tasty enough.

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J. Wohletz
The maple pecan blondie--the pecans are new.
The Classic Clubhouse Grille sandwich was just a regular club sandwich with Applebee's honey barbeque sauce added -- not bad, but not great. In American chain restaurants, French onion soup is rarely anything special: au jus-based broth with a dollop of moist onion slices topped with a white toast circle and a melted glob of what is usually either Swiss or provolone cheese. I this case, it was provolone, and the cooks had missed the final step of making sure the cheese cap was adequately toasted.

I'm relatively certain the maple pecan blondie dessert used to contain walnuts instead of pecans, but the swap was a welcome one, since I remember the profusion of walnuts making the sweet, dense cake square slightly bitter on the back end, and the pecans add a more buttery note. My server brought the maple butter sauce on the size, and since the cake, vanilla ice cream and sauce all come on a hot grill plate, it was seriously entertaining to pour the sauce over the whole thing and it bubble.

Again, it's the little things.

They added up to an enjoyable meal at Applebee's -- one I could appreciate in a sedate, sober fashion.



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3 comments
ten1111
ten1111

what is the point of these reviews?

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@ten1111 Why did you click on it?  I'm pretty sure you just generated some ad revenue for Westword, directly or indirectly.

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