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Anyone actually tried Tyler Florence's Applebee's Dishes?

I saw Tyler Florence on TV yesterday promoting his four new dishes.

a bistro burger
tomato sausage penne
what looked to be a breaded chicken cutlet with salad on top
bricked chicken

I have seen a lot of press on these, but nobody I have found has actually TRIED it. I despise Applebees, but I was wondering how these dishes actually tasted. Has anyone been brave enough to "take one for the team" and can report back?

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  1. No,Haven't tried them.The Applebee's on IH35 North and Walzem Road in San Antonio is pretty good.I haven't any quarrel with their food.

    1. Okay, I took one for the team!! Our experience: it's a little better but it's still Applebee's! I got off work late last night and the husband wasn't going to be home, but then called at about 7 and his event got cancelled, so he asked if I wanted to go to Applebee's and try Tyler's dishes. I wasn't really in the mood to eat at Applebee's but went along with it. I really think the way to go at places like that is just to order bar food if you have to go. Anyway, I got the Bruschetta Burger on focaccia with fresh mozzarella, pesto, and the traditional tomato bruschetta topping. It also came with french fries that were seasoned with rosemary, sea salt, and parmesan shavings. My husband got the breaded chicken cutlet (sort of like an Italian chicken fried steak) which has an arugula and cherry tomato salad on top of it. Mine was incredibly bland... I saw pesto, but did not taste pesto? The tomatoes were awful, but I sort of expected that. I forgot to order my burger medium, but I think it still would have been bland even if I had remembered. The fries were pretty good, we both thought, but then fries are standard bar food. My husband's was a little better than mine... the chicken was pretty tender and the dressing had good flavor even though the salad was over-dressed. The fresh mozzarella on both of ours was completely tasteless. The portion size is still way too huge... we both ate about half of our dishes and I was starving when I got there. All in all, I would say it's a step up, but that's about it. Don't even get me started on the corn chowder I ordered when I got there (did I mention I was starving?!)! Mmm... room temperature creamed corn with jalapenos... ick! ;-)

      Oh yeah, the hostess said... "We have a new menu from Tyler Florence, you know, on the cooking show!" Yeah, we know! ;-)

      2 Replies
      1. re: Katie Nell

        I would agree with the french fry assessment--I thought they were the best part of the meal. I didn't actually sample the Bruschetta Burger that was ordered at my table, but I assume it was fairly tasteless since my dining companion put mustard(?!)on his. Strange that they're touting "huge flavors" when much of the food is pretty bland.

        More detail on my Applebee's meal:

        1. re: Katie Nell

          I had part of a Bruschetta Burger. Interesting that you should say you couldn't taste any pesto because I thought that was the only flavor the thing had. Tomatoes with no flavor. The fresh mozzarella was so tasteless as to be pointless--actually it was worse than pointless because it was under the meat and gave up so much moisture that the bottom focaccia was a soggy mess(I assume that where the moisture came from.) Agree that the fries were pretty good.

          The bacon cheeseburger that I ordered was better, and I don't even rate Applebee's bacon cheeseburger very high.

        2. Thanks for making the effort - a lot of us were curious. Sounds like it's about what we would have expected. Chains are gonna be chains no matter what. It's not that a more flavorful pesto would kill their bottom line, but it might offend some of their regulars - and that's what it all comes down to: their marketplace, their niche. Makes you think, why even bother?

          2 Replies
          1. re: applehome

            It's actually kind of funny, because I got an e-mail after I posted this from an acquaintance at work that said she had eaten at Applebee's last night and had tried the new Bruschetta Burger; she said it was AWESOME!!! ;-) Special occasions for her are Carrabba's and The Elephant Bar, so I'm not surprised, but how ironic! They probably hit the nail on the head for the regulars, I'm guessing.

            1. re: Katie Nell

              That is hilarious!! Oh well. I won't hold it against Tyler for making a buck, but I wonder if it will be worth it in the long run.

          2. oddly enough, its quite hard to find an applebees in LA.....they are around, just not in any of the areas that I frequent...i am curious about the menu though

            2 Replies
            1. re: Xericx

              There's a bunch of em in the SGV. Sorta like land mines...

              1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                We just got one in the San Fernando Valley in the Chatsworth/Winnetka area. I've been to the one in Simi Valley several times, bar food is the way to go. Love the wings.

            2. Its pathetic that he comes up with food for them. A guy with his credentials could do more than whore himself out to a chain like Applebee's. What's next, the Mario Battali menu at Pizza Hut? How about the Morimoto selection at The Noodle House?
              He may come up with the recipes, but its still a 20 something year old kid in the back preparing it..

              4 Replies
              1. re: Bourdain Disciple

                I have to tell you, now days anybody will pimp a product if these is enough money in it...nobody has enough scruples and principle to say, "You know what, I am better than this crap you want me to put my name on....NO, in spite of the money, I will not put my name on your product!!" Just because some one is on the Food Network, means little more that the oversaturation of the individual (think Rachel Ray) and moeny grubbing with who ever will pay the most ....Disgusting!! And to think that your average working family will buy this line of crap when they see the commercials!!

                1. re: Bourdain Disciple

                  What credentials? He's a guy in his mid-30s who worked in restaurants for a few years before he was offered a TV show because he's dishy looking. In addition to Applebees, he's also hawking dinnerware and stick blenders on his web site. Rachael Ray has her name on everything from t-shirts to cookware to her own brand of olive oil. And by the way, Mario has frozen dinners at Sam's Club. Whoring oneself is what TV is all about, so why should Tyler Florence be any different.

                  1. re: Vladimir Estragon

                    He completed his degree at http://www.jwu.edu/culinary/#fbid=Amp... which is like the Yale of cooking schools, and the restaurants he's worked at aren't just some chain restos or whatever - they are really hard pressure super high-end places so he obviously has cooking chops.

                    I tried some of his Applebee’s menu and yeah it was just "meh" but he's got some great cooking stores where I live, and his service staff there is impeccable!

                    It seems to me that maybe there is just a hint of jealously there? He's young and successful, something to be admired not put down just because you wish it was you? Personally I'd rather try and find out how people like that got to where they are so I can maybe imitate the success (but in my different field).

                    Does the Applebee's stuff improve Applebee's? YES!
                    Does that mean it's good? HARDLY (it's not hard to improve something that sucks)
                    Does that mean then you have to be a meanie and pick on the guy? NO

                  2. We recently stopped in an Applebees for a quick meal and I decided to try Tyler's Applewood Smoked Chicken dinner. I have to say that I was pleasantly suprised. The chicken was very moist and had a nice smoky flavor with rosemary seasoning. I can't get my chicken this moist on the grill at home! The garlic fries were tasty and the side spinach salad was nice and fresh but overdressed. It was far better than most of the overly salty, dull food that is found in so many chains, but again ... it's a chain. I'm not expecting world class food, just a decent meal for a decent buck and that's exactly what I got. And I had enough chicken left over to bring a piece home for lunch the next day.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: olivertwist

                      i went there the other day and had the breaded chicken cutlet with field greens and shaved parmesan and thought it was pretty decent.
                      if i had to eat at a chain again on business i would consider this again

                      1. re: olivertwist

                        I had the Applewood Chicken at Applebee's in St. Louis while on business a month ago. It was my sadly my second or third night eating there (it was in the hotel, finished work late) and I was pleasantly surprised. The portion was huge, salad was fresh (I got the dressing on the side) and the chicken moist and tasty. The fries, although a good try, were soggy and oily, although the rosemary and garlic was tasty.

                      2. I ate at Applebee's today because it was the only restaurant in the mall. I ordered "Tyler's" California Shrimp Salad. The salad itself was ok. The dressing and shrimp were flavorful. The tomatos were tiny and flavorless. The worst part was that the avacados they put on it had big brown/black spots from being over-ripe. I know avacados. All they needed to do was take a second to cut away the discolored parts. It really turned me off. The worst part was when management tried to tell me that that's what a ripe avacado looks like. I'd like Tyler's take on that!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: hrjersey

                          I tried the bricked chicken back in November, and it was good, especially the salad, I would have liked to be able to just order the salad part. We went back there about a month or so ago and the bricked chicken wasn't on the menu (it figures, just because I liked it), so I had the Bruschetta burger and had the same opinion as most of the ones above, pretty lifeless and tasteless

                          1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                            The California shrimp salad was very tasty...I didn't have the brown avocado problem. It was a bit overdressed, but for Applebee's, it was tasty and light on a hot day. And probably extremely unhealthy.

                            Boyfriend got the bruschetta burger...he didn't mind it (though he didn't say it was the most delicious thing he'd ever had, it was cooked to his liking and wasn't overpowering with blandness OR pesto). I didn't try the burger, but munched on a few fries...which were quite good.

                            It definitely wasn't gourmet, but as far as "those restaurants" go (Friday's, Ruby Tuesdays, etc.) this was one of the better meals we've had...

                        2. I just had the bruschetta burger yesterday. Boy was it a flop. Overpowering garlic, soggy bread that seemed to be soaked in butter to begin with. Pesto was nonexistent, as were the tomatoes. Fries were soggy but tasted alright. I felt kind of sickly from the richness and all the oils. I ate Subway today because I just didn't feel like eating ANYthing cooked.

                          On an upnote, my roommate had the pesto shrimp pasta thingie and I wish I'd have ordered that instead. It was pretty tasty. Didn't taste like pesto, but it did taste good.

                          1. Just a quick question:

                            Does the "Brushetta Burger" actually have brushetta? A burger on brushetta?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Richard 16

                              The bruschetta part of the bruschetta burger is the tomatoey...stuff...they put on top. You don't taste tomatoes, you taste garlic and butter and oil. Along with greasy, limp fries, it's a difficult meal to stomach, imo.

                              1. re: spellweaver16

                                My brother Lurker W. and I ate at the Applebee's in Columbia MD on Saturday night. We were driving home from Baltimore and needed someplace quick. I knew there was a restaurant park in Columbia so we checked it out. Oh it's hellish: McDonalds, Olive Garden, Bob Evans, Applebee's, and TGIFriday's.

                                Lurker W. got the bruschetta burger -- mediocre was the word. The garlic fries were great, though. I got the Asian chicken wrap. The wrap was ok but the dipping sauce it came with was so sweet it hurt my teeth.

                                1. re: Bob W

                                  I do agree that the fries are tasty. My roommate, a french fry snob, thought they were pretty good. I should have eaten them first because after the greasy burger, the fries were just too much for me. I didn't eat fried food for a week after that.

                            2. I actually worked as a waitress at Applebee's around the time when the Tyler Florence dishes came out. Every night we would try a new dish, just to sample it. The burger is covered with pesto (which surprisingly actually tasted like pesto) and a tasteless tomato topping. Although the menu touted "fresh mozzarella", the gooey unflavored cheese that topped the burger was unlike any cheese I've ever eated. The burger was served with fries covered in this strange garlic butter and shaved parmesan. The fries, although greasy, were the best part. The penne wasn't bad, but the sausage tasted strangely like hot dog meat. The brick chicken was my favorite, covered in rosemary. My only complaint was that it was a little dry, but what can you expect at Applebee's? In the time that I worked there, the dishes weren't terribly popular.

                              1. My boyfriend and I tried the Bruschetta Burger last night at Applebees. I have to say, this was the first burger I haven't finished in a long time. Yes, it was filling, but it was so greasy. The flavor of the burger was just so overpowering and combined with the artery-clogging grease, it was just too much. The cheese on the burger that's buried underneath the huge hunk of flavorless meat is a crazy weird texture that is almost annoying to eat because the cheese stretches to great lengths and has absolutely no flavor. If I hadn't read on here that the cheese was supposed to be parmesean, I wouldn't have known what it was. The fries were better, but again, very, very greasy. This was not a good combination. The fries and the burger had such overpowering seasoning that it felt like someone accidently dumped the entire bottle of rosemary on the whole meal. Overall, edible, but I felt like my boyfriend and I threw away $30. We should have cooked at home.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cidness

                                  The cheese is supposed to be mozzarella, actually. I didn't eat anything greasy or fried for about a week after trying that nasty burger. If nothing else, it's a good diet aid. Blech.