Friday, May 9, 2008

More Mid Range Chain Restaurants . . .

More reviews of Fort Worth's medium-priced restaurants, as before, we're following the lead of Sunday's New York Times reviews.

Red Lobster: There just something about Red Lobster that keeps me away. It is moderately priced, and the foods not too bad, then again, it's not that good either.
Score: 5 of 10

Pappadeaux: Another place I don't get, though, I haven't always felt that way. Years ago, when the DFW area had only two Pappadeaux restaurants, Dallas and Arlington, my wife and I frequented the Arlington restaurant often. It was very good and on the upper end of middle range. Table cloths, cloth napkins, sharply dressed wait staff, and the seafood was as good as you could get at the price. Two years ago I went to the Pappadeaux on University and I thought I was in Red Lobster. Haven't been back.
Score: 6 0f 10

Outback Steakhouse: Good not great. They have the informal atmosphere- good food niche. It's a matter of taste, but when I pay good money for a steak I don't want to sit on a picnic bench. Plus, the bloomin' onion, Aussie thing bugs me. Whoopy-frickin-do, you can deep fry and onion and get it to bloom.
Score: 7 0f 10

Logans Roadhouse: I can't eat anywhere that reminds me of the '80's Patrick Swayze movie of the same name. Sorry. Besides, if I can throw peanut shells on the floor I better be watching baseball or drinking massive quantities of beer.
Score: (you tell me)

Saltgrass Steakhouse: I like them. If I am out for lunch or dinner, and near one, I'll often choose Saltgrass. I think their food quality is very good. Priced about the same as Outback but I prefer the atmosphere.
Score: 8 of 10

PF Changs: I like them, too. The food is good, if a little on the expensive side. The atmosphere is pleasant and the wait staff are helpful.
Score 8 of 10

Not chains, but places I like in Fort Worth in the same category: Seafood? I'm probably going to Zekes for a fish and chips or Daddy Jack's downtown for seafood in a dining atmosphere. Steaks, in the mid-price range? Charlestons is very good, even if I do raise the median age of diners by 10 years (and I'm 55). Asian? Pei Wei on 7th is good for the price. Casual atmosphere, good, hot food, fast service. Walk along the river afterwards with a coffee from Starbucks.


Andrew said...

I have to say that Outback excels in one thing: consistency. You get the same service and the same quality of food every time you go. The steaks aren't great but the 11oz Outback Special (Sirloin) is only 14 bucks and is a pretty decent hunk of beef.

Francis Shivone said...

Good point. I agree.

Jake Good said...

Would agree with your assessments... Btw, stay away from the sweet potato pie at Pappadeaux, it's just a simple pecan pie with sweet potato filling... gross!

Haven't tried Zekes or JJs yet, but want to... Tommy's fried catfish wasn't bad at all... I like Pei Wei, but I'm into the spicey noodle kinda thing...

I want to add Hoffbrau's... I give it a 6 or a 7, only for their Dr. Pepper BBQ Jalepeno stuffed shrimp... steaks are just *ok*...

Daddy Jack's was pretty good... not bad at all... Cantina Laredo wasn't as good as I had hoped for...

Loving the food posts... maybe there needs to be an ultimate meta aggregation of the food + fort worth blogs? :) a fort worth food battle...

Francis Shivone said...

Jake -- I forgot about Hoffbrau's. I used to go there for lunch and get their fresh potato chop fries. Very good. Since I can't eat those any more, I haven't been back.
Many readers comment that they like the "food posts." I read many Fort Worth blogs, including yours and LHL's and think someone ought to do a comglomerate opinion on the food servers.
Always appreciate the comments.
Also, believe me, Pappadeaux at one time was one of my favorite restaurants. No more.

Rambler said...

A friend told me the catfish strips at Hoffbrau are the best he's had - tender inside with an excellent breading. I'm not a catfish person, but there it is.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I've seen a decline in Pappadeaux also. Went there about a week ago, and the only way I could describe the gumbo and the crawfish etouffe (sp?) is.... watery and thin. I think they've changed a lot of the recipes.

Red Lobster simply is what it is.

The Logan's peanut thing is best experienced with a large group.

Zeke's is wonderful, but I can feel my arteries clogging with each bite.

Francis Shivone said...

TWS -- All good points. Actually a very good point as concerning Red Lobster. I don't criticize places like Red Lobster because they are what they are, as you say. I don't like it, so I don't go. Others obviously do. Now, places like Pappadeaux I do criticize because they once were good and now they aren't. The reputation and the reality are not the same. I put La Madelaine in that category, as well.
Thanks for the comments.
Great comments about spoons and forks, by the way.

Rambler said...

A friend calls it Dead Lobster.

With which I agree. Take me and I'll go. Give me a choice and not.