I’ve had good luck with Chili’s, but bad luck with their ribs. But I guess that’s like going to Waffle House for a steak. (It’s best to go to Waffle House for a waffle and a steak house for a steak.) It’s hard to go wrong with Chili’s burgers and chili, however. I usually just visit for the chili, which I consider very good, as does the Dallas Observer:
A few round of Alton Brown shows and its impossible to not think of science. From him and some other shows (and my own booboos), I’ve learned a lot about undercooking things, letting things cool, etc. when traveling with food.
Here was a lesson I learned on my own about 12 years ago when I first started venturing into desserts and baking:
For a party, I decided to make brownies. To add some presentation, I made my own fresh whipped cream topping, then shaved a Ghiardelli chocolate bar segment over the top.
Well, I was running behind. The brownies were a bit warm when I spread the whipped topping and shave he chocolate over the top. I covered the pan and headed to the party.
I arrived 15 minutes later and opened my brownie pan. The toppings were gone! For the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. "Where the hell did my toppings go?" Well, one bite and it was answered. I had successfully melted the topping and chocolate right into the brownie. It made for the richest brownie to date.
On the one hand, I was upset that my presentation was ruined. On the other hand, they were a big hit, and no one seemed to care what it looked like.
Science lesson #1 in my cooking life was learned. Subsequent picnic near disasters and a few Alton Brown shows later, the science of cooking is no longer completely lost on me – although I still have my wrecks on occasion.
I’ve never been to a Chili’s, but I have noticed that at least three of them in the Columbus, Ohio area are boarded up.
I just used a Chili’s gift card myself. I had the hamburger and it was actully very good.
Like Roossy said, the 1st Chili’s was decent. It was on Greenville Ave. in Dallas. They had good burgers and a soft chili taco that I liked.
I have a Chili’s gift card. They gotta have something besides the salad that is OK. Any sugs???
I agree, I think Scorereader nailed this. Some things don’t travel well. I have thought about using their drive up service but then I started having the same thoughts, will this stuff travel?
Scorereader, I should have thought of that… it would have saved me several bad experiences! Basic science. Works every time.
Like any of this genre of chains, they have to keep toying with the menu to keep it "contemporary." I loved their Alpine Burgers, but they don’t have them anymore. We go now for the chips and salsa and a salad. Even the chips are different – they’re getting thinner. So much for chains.
It seems like Chili’s, like so many other chains have had their run, and are slowly becoming passe’…
I remember when they used to be packed late nights, but nowadays, its hard to find one open past 10 or 11…
One thing I know, don’t eat the chili at Chilis..
I ate in one of the first ones in Dallas back in 1980.. It was decent then. I used to love their hamburgers…..In fact, I cant remember the last time I had a decnt meal there, and thats probably why I dont even think of them when I want to go to a chain.
MBrooks, I do think you hit the nail on the head…
I finally tried Chili’s recently after they had been touting their ribs for so long and what a major disappointment!
I’ve had good and not so good experiences at chili’s. But, I would never order something like country fried steak. When I think of Chili’s, I think of chili, burgers, sandwiches and apps.
I won’t defend Chili’s, but I will say that steamed vegitables that are still steaming when put in the to-go box, often continue to cook in their own recirculated steam and turn mushy. Potatoes, can get sticky in the to-go box as well for the same reason, and the country fried part of the steak often gets soggy due to it’s own heat trapped in the box, and often loses any similarities to anything that was fried.
Certain dishes are better for to-go scenarios, like pasta, pizza, soup, and anything cold, like sandwiches and salads. Boxing up hot food presents its own problems, which often can take perfectly fine food, and turn it into mush.
Certainly, there’s the possibility that the food started off bad (like your gravy), but I’d also give credit for the poor quality to the boxing up of hot food. It’s always better to box food after it stops steaming. It ends up being a tad cooler but the food won’t steam itself while trapped in the box. Any place that uses foil as part of the wrapping up of hot food, defintely brings soggy and sticky food into the mix.
As a general rule, when ordering food to go, I usually stick to either baked items or cold plates.
Are you sure you didnt eat at Cracker Barrell?
I just picked up lunch at Chili’s and brought it back to my office for lunch.(Worker bees don’t get very long lunch breaks)
It was about the worst lunch I’ve ever had; in fact, I threw away most of it.
The country fried steak was terrible. The potatoes were glue, the vegatables (steamed brocolli and peppers) were cooked to mush, and the gravy was vaguely pepper-flavored library paste.
I’ve had this meal there before and enjoyed it. Do you think it was a bad day, or has Chili’s gone way down hill?
Maybe I’m just super-picky when it comes to ribs. I was disappointed with Longhorn’s ribs, too.
My wife used to enjoy the country fried steak dinner from there when we ate in but had the same experience as the OP when she got it to go one time. It always used to puzzle me why that item was on the menu as it seemed so out of place with rest of the menu, now I see they have a Texas connection and understand. I believe it’s mandatory in Texas to have that on the menu although I thought it was called chicken fried steak.
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