I’m not a huge fan of chain-restaurants, that being said, I do like TGI Friday’s… the food is always fresh, and most importantly, you always know what you’re going to get.
This Saturday a few of us went to grab a bite at the Friday’s in Bethel Park before seeing a movie. We arrived at 5:30 pm and the place was already packed. The hostesses were friendly and accommodating- they had our party seated within 5 minutes.
We started with few drinks- a Blue Moon (served with a fresh slice of orange) and a mojito. The beer was fine, but the mojito was made with far too much simple syrup.
I couldn’t decide between the Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Caesar, and the Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad. “You don’t want that (in regards to the Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad) our server said, it’s no good.” Um, OK.
I opted for the Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Caesar Salad, and asked for a side of anchovies. Our waiter looked at me like I was nuts- “We don’t have anchovies anywhere in the kitchen.” I ordered the salad anyway, and hoped for the best.
We also ordered Chicken Fingers, Friday’s Shrimp, (deep-fried shrimp served with French fries), and the new Skillet Garlic Shrimp (risotto style rice served with garlic marinated shrimp with creamy Alfredo sauce). The ladies at the table all ordered sides of sweet potato fries.
Our meals arrived in a timely manner. The chicken fingers looked good- large chunks of deep-fried goodness served with crispy French fries. Friday’s Shrimp were golden brown and flavorful. The side of sweet potato fries that accompanied the dish were elusive- I counted 12 pieces, and they were mostly end cuts- c’mon!
The Skillet Garlic Shrimp looked good, but I didn’t have a chance to sample the dish.
My Caesar salad was disappointing. The romaine leaves were drenched and soggy. I requested a side of Caesar dressing which didn’t come with my salad. When it did finally arrive, it looked more like a Caesar-vinaigrette- clearly it was not made in-house. The grilled chicken tasted pre-packaged as well. And what’s up with the balsamic glaze? Talk about non-traditional.
Our server decided not to check in on us during the meal.
A lot has changed since I was last dined at Friday’s. It seems as if a lot of corners have been cut, and more of the once fresh food now comes cryovaced (pre-prepared foods sealed in air-tight plastic bags and delivered via food vendors).
I’ll probably visit Friday’s again in the future, but it won’t be anytime soon.
Chef Chuck Kerber