When you want a consistently good meal at a fair price with pretty fast, efficient, and friendly service, I've often found Applebee's to be the answer. My recent late evening dinner there was no exception!
My friend Tommy and I stopped there just after the dinner hour the other night for a bite to eat. We were quickly seated, drink order taken and provided, and our order taken. They have a new system there with an electronic "waitstaff notifier" system where you press a button and your waiter get's a page to visit your table, but the service was pretty attentive and we didn't really get to try it out--except for the food trivia game on the device!
My side salad arrived in due time and was very good. They sure give you a lot of salad fro your money and it was nice and fresh and tasty--all a salad should be with an ample portion for a low price. I liked that.
For my entree I chose the "lite" Spicy Shrimp Diavolo--A spicy tomato-basil Diavolo sauce with chili-seasoned shrimp tossed with diced vegetables. It was served over a warm bed of whole wheat penne pasta and topped with shredded Parmesan, at least according to the menu description. I'm betting that some of the cheese on top was mozzarella, however, since it was shredded and gooey. Not a bad thing though. And the vegetables seemed to be mostly roasted red peppers--but very tasty. Though advertised as "spicy," I'd say it was "American spicy"--that is, rather tame by my standards. Yet it was flavorful and very good. And, a big point with me, the shrimp were not dreadfully overcooked. They were good, done just about right. So it was a very good dish and I liked it a lot. I will say that the presentation was a bit lost with the tomato/red pepper sauce on a red plate in somewhat dim lighting--but still a good dish, taste-wise.
Tommy had the Margherita Chicken--a tender grilled chicken breast with a tangy balsamic glaze layered with melted mozzarella and Parmesan, and topped with fresh bruschetta. It was served with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. The chicken was very good and had a nice char-grilled flavor to it--probably from a bottle or can, but still a pretty nice flavor, almost as good as the real thing but maybe just a bit too char-grilled tasting. The chicken was also quite moist and tender. But I think the star of this was the mashed potatoes--they were among the best I've ever tasted. Creamy and buttery with little chunks of potatoes in them, they were well done. Yumm. The broccoli was just OK, perhaps a bit overcooked, though when he put a bit of lemon juice on it, that did improve the flavor.
Overall we had a very nice meal here. It's a great place for a spur of the moment dinner--nothing fancy, just simple and reasonalby-priced good eats!