Red Robin

>> Saturday, February 19, 2011

I’ll be straight up. I don’t really like chain restaurants, and I don’t care for fast food all that much. But somehow I always get dragged by friends or family into going to these places. Honestly I think a lot of these types of big box places are overpriced and low quality. But food is food; majority rules, and the loudest person always wins…especially if it’s a girl. =)

All chain restaurants and eateries all have the same ridiculous looking walls such as this nearby Red Robin. Every inch of this place was covered in random posters that really didn’t connect to one another. Here’s one with some random movie I’ve never seen. There’s one with a nameless singer that doesn’t look the slightest bit familiar. The service comes with the typical overly enthusiastic waiter or waitress. They’re so excited to the point of close annoyance. It probably didn’t help that my friend(s) kept fueling the fire. In an alternate reality I am sure they would be married with two overactive children in the suburbs. I will hand it to the guy that was waiting us; he really did seem to enjoy his job.
The menu was comprised of an extra large sheet of laminated colorful paper. As I skimmed the menu the cobb salad was surprisingly accurate to American standards, something rare I would say. It was a tempting secondary choice, but they are known for their burgers so I went with a burger. Plus it’s been a while since I’ve had a burger. I went with the Bacon Burger with Bleu Cheese for a whopping $10. The company made the place more bearable as our little rag tag group chatted some more. One of them claiming the prices were worth it due to the bottomless fries with every burger order.

In the mean time I got a chance to sip some of my friend’s Freckled Lemonade. Or is it speckled? We kept mixing up the amusing name for the drink. It turned out to be strawberry lemonade that was heavily sugared down. It would have made for a better drink if not for all the darn slices of strawberry clogging up the straw. It was certainly tasty but not $3 tasty.

A few minutes and a highly impatient friend later, the food arrived hot and ready to eat. Now here’s where everything that’s wrong with these places becomes a reality. My first bite into my burger was forgettable to say the least. My initial reaction was, “Did I just bite into the wrapper paper?” Nope. I quickly pulled out what appeared to be the corner edge of wax paper for meat patties. Since the guy was nowhere around and I was hungry, I decided to let it slide. The rest of the burger was mediocre with a weak flavored bleu cheese. In retrospect it tasted more like a feta cheese or generic crumbled cheese. The bacon was thin to the point of transparency and was soggy. The buns were barely toasted and lacked any real depth.

The fries weren’t anything special despite my friend’s claims. The special salt reminds me of a copy of Lawry’s seasonal salt. The special chipotle and campfire sauce we asked for was actually not bad. Both went surprisingly well with the fries and made for a good ketchup substitute.

Overall, not worth the price, there are better local places that put Red Robin to shame. Perhaps next time I’ll opt for the salad.

1274 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066
(650) 588-4600
Red Robin America's Gourmet Burgers and Spirits on Urbanspoon


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