Optimistically Cautious

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Expectedly Uninspired: Chili's Grill & Bar

I believe I was still wearing white jeans and listening to Hanson the last time I ate at Chili's (or was that last weekend? Haha). In any case, it has been a while.

Bettina and I ended up at the Whyte Avenue location (8217 104 Street) tonight for a pre-Fringe show supper. The restaurant is surprisingly clean (not sure why I expected otherwise), and the decor features the stone and wood accents that are rampant in eateries associated with the word "grill." I agree with Bettina's assessment that Chili's has done well in revamping its image in an attempt to compete for the lounge crowd, but for this branch in particular, it tries too hard to cater to all diners, from families to the after work and evening patrons. Quality seems to be the first casualty in chains that stretch themselves too thin.

Nothing on the menu was particularly intriguing, but all I felt like eating was a simple burger and fries, so it didn't matter too much. I ordered the Bacon Burger (maple-smoked bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles) with a side of fries, while Bettina chose the Lettuce Wraps.

The service was quite attentive throughout, so I couldn't complain about the wait staff, but the food was less than impressive. My burger and fries were warm, as if they had been left standing on the counter for some time, and unexplainably they had only decided to toast only the top half of the bun. Bettina's said her dish was all right, but the portion wasn't worth the $12.99 charged.

With the exception of Cafe Mosaics (and Dadeos to some extent), there seems to be a dearth of good dining available on Whyte. It may be worth going elsewhere (like the nearby Route 99 Diner), for a bite to eat after drinks.

Restaurant interior (second floor)

Bacon Burger

Lettuce Wraps

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