Wednesday, 15 December 2010

T.G.I. FRIDAYS ~ Watertown NY, USA

Road trip! Two road trips actually! One to visit LJ in Ottawa, and then her and I took a day trip down to the US. Watertown New York to be exact. It was a last minute idea, but we both had our passports, credit cards and LJ had some American cash and we were good to go. The border guard didn't give us too much hassel, and it wasn't long before the day was spent shopping. All day. For so long. Lots of crazy sales I guess.

My happiest purchases? Cherry Coke, Cherry Coke Zero, and Dr Pepper Cherry (all drinks I can't get at home). Lunch was the mall food court Sbarro (yes Sbarro exists in Canada, but the mall was all chains we have back home except for a hot dog stand and a crappy Asian food place) plus the New York pizza looked and tasted so good. Shopping went on for several more hours, and then it was time for dinner. We went for a chain that we don't really have back home, and that meant T.G.I. Fridays.

If I have ever been to a T.G.I. Fridays, it was way more than 10 years ago with my parents on a trip through the states, and I don't remember anything. LJ and I have both been seeing ads for years about their dinner and appetizer combos, so we were looking forward to checking them out. The 'T.G.I." refering to "Thank God It's Friday" and their slogan "In here it's always Friday" suggesting that after a long week, this is the place to go and unwind, no matter what day of the week it is.

Like a lot of casual dining chains, this place is decorated with a lot of crazy crap on the walls and a cheery atmosphere. It is a bit funny because the outside has a more modern, upscale-chain vibe, but inside its' a bit wacky. Our waitress Starleen (not pictured), was quiet but very attentive. She had to come back time after time because it took a long time to figure out what we were going to eat. I was very happy to have many free refills of Dr Pepper in the meantime. Once we had our orders straight, Starleen was off and in a short period of time we had our food. Well, more like our feast.

LJ went with the Pick 3 for $16.99: Fried Mozzarella Sticks, Flat Iron Steak with loaded mashed potatos and an awesome Peanut Butter Pie. Not pictured: everything except the mozza sticks (I don't know why I didn't get photos . . .). The Mozza sticks were good. I don't think I've seen them done flat in rectangle shapes. The batter was crispy and the cheesy was, well, stringy. Normally they come with a marinara dipping sauce, but that was substituted for wasabi ranch.

I was starving and gluttenous and got an order of wings, and then the Pick 3 appetizer combo. Which had more wings. In the Pick 3, you first pick wings (yes, it automatically starts with wings). I went with Inferno, but we will come back to that. On the far left, we have Crispy Green Bean Fries. On the right, Potato Skins. In the middle, dips.

I feel like I haven't had potato skins in forever. This used to be my go to side dish with wings (when wings were cheap). These skins were crispy, and had a nice cargo of cheese and bacon. The cheese was melted cheddar, and with some sour cream, this was a great crispy, salty appetizer.

I think just about anything battered and deep fried is delicious. I don't normally like green beans, but deep fried with ranch dressing and you have something special.

With all of my food there was tons of celerey sticks and some blue cheese dressing. It was a good dressing, some chunks of blue cheese, and a medium level of creaminess/thickness. It went well with the wings . . .

T.G.I. Friday's labels all of their wings "Buffalo Wings" even though they aren't all Buffalo wings. Beyond the heats, there is also Jack Daniel's Championship BBQ, Garlic Parmesan and at the time of this post, they had a special Captain Morgan's Caribbean Wings which are baked, then grilled (as opposed to their usual deep fried) and tossed with pineapple pico de gallo and Captain Morgan's Original Spiced Rum sauce. It sounds tasty, but I stuck with the classics.

Wings come in the choice of boneless (and thus not a wing, but a nugget/strip) or traditional bone-in. You get about 10 wings in an order. It's a big plate and the fact that it is a rectangle makes it easier to access all the wings, like a trough. Cool.

The wings were large. Long, wide - big wings. They were not super meaty but decent. I was disappointed in the lack of crispiness - staying in the deep fryer for a few minutes longer would have helped.

Classic Buffalo

This is their version of what I would guess they think is hot, but is really mild or medium. The sauce was clearly a bottled sauce. It was a bright orange sauce.

The wings were definitely saucy - nice and wet - just the way I like wings. Plus there was extra sauce on the plate for dipping. The flavour was nothing original, but it did have that commercial Buffalo taste.


In my Pick 3 appetizer combo choice of wings, I went with 5 of their 'Inferno' wings, conjuring up images of what they consider to be really hot. Inferno was not that hot, but it did leave a good sting on the lips. That's all I ask. Well, mostly what I ask. The flavour was similar to their Buffalo - but had more of a Tabasco flavour with something else that added a bite to it.


The size of the wings, the saucy nature, and a decent flavour made these good wings. But I really wish they were more crispy. A little crunch to the bite. You know what I'm talking about? The rest of the food was good and there were lots of choices. Good service, and I left stuffed and with a load of leftovers. I wouldn't mind a T.G.I. Fridays in my neighborhood, but the casual chains we have here in Ontario are just as good.  5.5/10

PS: Coke Canada - get back to work getting us some cherry beverages up here!

T.G.I. Fridays
21890 Towne Center Drive, Watertown NY, USA (and other locations)


Anonymous said...

You should have tried the garlic parmesan! They are delicious!

Jason Wayne Riddell said...

it sounds like Fridays was worth it. We had went to the Niagara Falls Canada a few months back and left after no service during a slow time. So Fridays has always had a black spot for me. We ended up at Dennys..which was as bad as one can expect.

Jason Wayne Riddell said...

have you ever tried the Thurman Thomas Buffalo dip that Walmart sells. I was on the fence about it so never bought it...just wondering.

Jason Wayne Riddell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teena in Toronto said...

The wings look good!

Chris said...

I'm not a huge fan of TGI Fridays but I haven't eaten there in probably 5 years. I don't dislike them but I'm just over the standard casual dining chains.

My next experiment is wings is a smoke start with a deep fryer finish. It should be interesting. It is supposed to bring out the best of both techniques.

Clarita said...

Happy new year to you and each of your readers!