Okay gang I’m starting a new power ranking series for the blog. It’ll be my top 3 and bottom 3 of a certain category. This weeks post we’ll be ranking popular chain restaurants. If you frequent any of the 3 in my top restaurants, you my friend have great taste for medium priced food. If you frequent any of the bottom 3 and what I say offends you and your sensibilities…. get over it. It’s 2018 now and the year to get offended was 2017 damnit. 2018 is about not taking life too seriously, having a laugh, and disparaging random chain restaurants. On to the rankings:
The Bottom #3
3.) McCormick & Schmick’s
Talk about over priced seafood and steak. McCormick & Schmick’s is the definition of disappointment for a price. I haven’t been here in a few years and the 3 or 4 times I went were because one of my old clients LOVED this place so after he got done berating us for 8 hours we stuffed him full of this garbage so he went back home and didn’t hate us as much. I am just glad I wasn’t flipping the bill for a lack luster $50 steak, sub par sides and seafood that is totally bland. I am not sure how many of these places are left as I think people are onto their game. No bang all buck for McCormick & Schmick’s.
2.) Red Lobster
I must admit Red Lobster, your commercials make your food look absolutely delicious. Unfortunately that’s the best part about it. Let me take you back to 17 and 18 year old Jay when you still had to flip your cell phone and T9 text. The reward for breaking your PR (personal record) on the track team was that coach would take you and anyone else who broke their PR out to Red Lobster to celebrate your big throw (I was a javelin guy). And man did we get excited because when your 17 or 18 crab and lobster might as well be the best thing ever and boy did we dig in to some Red Lobster. Then one of my fellow throwers and friend got a job working at the Reddest of Lobsters. We thought we had the hookup now. WRONG. Now all we heard were war stories from the kitchen. NOTHING and I mean NOTHING was fresh and per my buddy even edible other than the seafood pizza as they came in prepackaged. Then if you had butter fingers and accidentally dropped a lobster tail onto the kitchen floor you either bought that tail out of your own paycheck or you put that bad boy in the seafood chowder and let the soup boil all of that dirt off. Needless to say the next and last time coach took me to Red Lobster I got the seafood pizza and that’s it. Maybe things have changed 15 years later but I doubt it. Some memories last forever folks.
1.) Olive Garden
Okay as the resident greaseball at JustGrubbin’ I literally get offended when people say they like Olive Garden and god forbid if you have one spec of Italian blood in you and you like Olive Garden I will literally slap you silly. First I will give it to Olive Garden and that the all you can eat salad and breadsticks is a great play if you are on a cheap date with a new lady. Very economical and even Olive Garden can’t screw up that combo. HOWEVA if a cheap date isn’t the reason you are there then you are entering a world of tasteless knock off Italian food. If you live in the Philadelphia, Jersey or NYC area you literally have no excuse as to why you would pass up one of the 20 Italian restaurants in a 5 mile radius. Even Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen with the doors falling off is a better option. Now if you are from the South or Texas where they know nothing other than Olive Garden as Italians didn’t dare venture that far away from the east coast then I will give you a pass. But if you live near Philly and go to the garden then you are dead to me.
The Top #3
3.) P.F. Chang’s
I know I know P.F. Chang’s isn’t “real” Chinese food. Yea I get it but if you are going out to find reasonably priced Americanized Chinese food in a nice environment where you can also grab a beer then Chang’s is the place. They have cornered the market on the lettuce wrap game and the Mongolian beef is a gem. Real or not P.F Chang’s has a great atmosphere and there is a reason why there is always an hour wait on the weekend. Never had a bad meal there which is the true testament of a chain restaurant as its usually a 50/50 shot that you are getting a blah meal. Well done Chang. Well done.
2.) Bahama Breeze
Now I have to admit Bahama Breeze isn’t as great as it used to be but it is still a solid choice if you are going to hit up a chain. I never venture far from the Habanero Wings which are a personal favorite and have the right amount of flavor and kick to them. The menu overall has a lot of solid choices and a wide array of island style cocktails that make the experience a relaxing one. Never had a bad meal at Bahama Breeze.
1.) Bonefish Grill
Now Bonefish is more of an upper class chain restaurant where you are going to spend $25-$30 on a meal and for good reason. Everyone raves about the Bang Bang Shrimp which I do enjoy but the money maker is their Chilean Sea Bass. A solid go to if you like fish and they always have an enticing special or two. The steaks/filets are well priced for the cut and make the surf and turf option a good one as well. To me Bonefish takes the cake in the restaurant chain world. And if anyone should have beef with Bonefish its me as I tried to go there last Tuesday to use a gift card from Christmas and it was a 45 minute wait. 45 minutes on a F’in Tuesday. That’s wild. But kudos to them and next time I will make a reservation on a week day. Learning experience there.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my second edition coming out next week (unless I think of something else to switch it up). If you enjoyed this, check out more posts from the Just Grubbin team here! Also make sure to listen to The Just Grubbin podcast to hear us go into further detail about this and to hear all of our random irreverent takes on food, drink and whatever else.