Wednesday, November 09, 2011

French Fry Diary 299: T.G.I. Friday's

A while ago I was seduced into reviewing T.G.I. Friday's by my buddy Ray raving about their new menu and especially their new Steak Fries. Now the prospect of a new menu at Friday's doesn't phase me so much as it seems like they change their menu every other week, but new Steak Fries, yeah, I had to see that. And so we went.

Usually T.G.I. Friday's is one of my favorite restaurants but the customer service varies and sometimes ends making us avoid the place for months at a time, until we get a craving for something there, or have forgotten how badly they treated us last time. They have a lot of meals I like, but also a constantly changing menu, so sometimes they don't stay around for a while. Notably, over the years, I have loved their steak on a stick, Jack Daniels chicken and burgers, and the onion rings. Half of those items are currently gone from the menu, for the record.

The night we went we had a very enthusiastic waiter, who was very eager to sell me on the then-new fries when the option of sides came up. He described them as "KFC potato wedges, only fresh." So, right out of the starting gate, before they even came - I knew they weren't even steak fries, but potato wedges. Talk about false advertising…

As encouraging as the waiter was, the service really wasn't. The salads came with uncooked bacon and no fork. We were not off to a great start at all. Of course all of the wait staff had vanished. We finally flagged down an employee in a dress shirt (a manager?) sans flair, who promised to fix things and after a short wait, did.

Friday's has a variety of fry options currently. The usual fries are of the natural cut type and really nothing special. When dipped in the Jack Daniels barbeque sauce, they are amazing, but as far as I'm concerned, anything dipped in that stuff is amazing - I love it. They also have the Crispy Green Bean Fries - flash-fried green beans - not really fries, but actually a nice interesting treat.

They also have less than satisfying beer-battered onion rings. Friday's seems to change their onion rings/straws once a week just to flummox me. They never have the kind I want when I want them. They used to have very crispy thin onion rings and onion straws that were to die for, but seemingly not anymore. I guess I'll have to wait for another menu change.

My meal finally arrived, and it came wrong. Instead of the Jack Daniels Chicken I ordered, I got the chicken and shrimp. Again, after a short wait, the right dinner came. Remember what I said about customer service? Anyway, on to the favorite fried food. The regular cut natural cuts came hot, and were salted and peppered, with way too much salt actually. And when I say too much salt, you know it's waaay too much salt. And then there were the "Steak Fries." Our waiter was dead on when he described them as KFC potato wedges but I would actually give KFC the win on this one. They were not hot, and as opposed to the regular fries, these had too much pepper. They also come with the option of parmesan cheese.

The customer service continued to drain me. While our waiter was friendly and cooperative, he was no so good in the execution of his job. He was not only slow with the utensils, napkins and drink refills, but hard to find when we needed him. And he spilled hot Jack Daniels sauce on me too, not his fault, but it didn't help.

Now my correct order came far too late for me to enjoy it with my dining party, so I ended up taking most of it home. The chicken and the regular fries are always good later whether nuked in the microwave or heated up in the oven. The potato wedges did not do well in either area, and were trashed.

A few more words on the Jack Daniels barbeque sauce - I love this stuff. I love it so much that I have tried on occasion to recreate it at home from online recipes. It's never quite the same. Our waiter was cool enough to give me two small containers of it to take home with my chicken and fries. It's darn good on other fries, burgers, steak, etc. as well. It's one of my all time favorite dipping sauces for the favorite fried food. Friday's, if you want to do something right, bottle that stuff.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: