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I hate chains...but every now and then something just surprises you.....................

As the title says I cannot stand most chains I despise the pre-made microwave friendly menu items most serve and will do everything in my power to avoid eating at them at all costs.

Every once in awhile though you find something at one of them that really impresses you…my example I discovered a little while ago but just had it again last night which prompted me to post this. Houlihans has a Ahi Tuna salad with banana’s and cashews that sounds like an absolutely repulsive combination. But in actuality with the ginger dressing it all combines for a delicious salad combination that I truly enjoy.

So what are some of your surprise chain dishes that you find to be a refreshing alternative to the nature of most chains menu options?

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    1. I went to Olive Garden this weekend... BF's family was in town and that's where they wanted to go (his dad loves it and they don't have it where they're from). So, after some internal grumbling in my head, I went. I had a grilled chicken dish with lemon herb sauce, served w/ fusilli. I actually thought it was pretty good. It wasn't ground breaking or anything of course, but tasty. I also liked that they have the option of having wine in the 9oz carafe, versus just choosing from a glass (not enough) or the entire bottle (too much unless I want to be carried home). Probably also helped that the waiter accidentally left the rest of the bottle on the table and forgot about it, it had about another glass and a half worth left in it. Maybe I was a lil tipsy by the time the entrees came out so I thought it was better than it was :-D

      I didn't like the appetizers or the breadsticks, too salty. I was also surprised at their prices. My dish was ok at around $11 or $12, but BF had chicken marsala that I believe was $16... sort of a lot I thought.

      1. TGIFridays used to have a tuna sandwich that was so good... it had celery, pineapple and chow mein noodles on it. Sadly the discontinued it years ago and I have only eaten there once since.

        1. We don't eat at chains often - probably "Ruby Tuesday" & "Glory Days" are the ones we frequent locally the most - but what continues to irritate me is that so many of these chains seem to change their menus as frequently as most folks change their underware. I swear that we've NEVER had the same menu at "Ruby Tuesday" twice. Never.

          So if you find an item that you really, really like, the chances of finding it on the menu the next time you visit are extremely slim. Sad. I know they want to keep things charged up in order to lure in new customers, but eradicating everything else every month or so is NOT going to bring regular folks back.

          1. I had never been to Olive Garden until recently. Being well aware of the hype in their commercials, I wisely chose the chianti braised short ribs with portabello risotto. It was really quite good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mucho gordo

              Yes, that's what I ordered when I've been there. it's good. and a full plate, too. I only ate half and took the rest home.