Sherman's Food Adventures: Red Robin

Red Robin

I can remember the last 2 times I've been to Red Robin during the life of this blog - one in 2009 and the other in 2010.  I only blogged about it once and honestly, half-heartedly.  No, I'm not trying to be a food snob because I still think the burgers are fine especially for the price.  Furthermore, the kiddies seem to love the place much like White Spot.  It's just there is not a whole lot of sexiness in posting about the place (like people haven't already eaten here before...).  But alas, we actually ate there recently and since I had my camera with me...

For the kiddies, they went for the reasonably-priced kid's meals going for $6.29 (including drink, meal and dessert).  My son went for the Cheeseburger with fries.  A pretty basic burger but at the very least, it was not small.  Normally, the side of fries are crispier, but this time around, they were a bit soggy and dense. This was plenty enough food for him.  My daughter had the Chicken Strips with a side of broccoli.  The "clucks" were fried crispy while still somewhat moist inside.  Although the broccoli was cooked to a pulp, that was probably the intention for kids.

For myself, I went for the Popcorn Shrimp & Chips.  Now for those who don't remember (or weren't born yet), the ol' skool version of this was battered microscopic shrimp served in clumps.  They are now full-sized shrimp (that's an oxymoron isn't it?), breaded and fried.  I like this one more, but for me it is all about the tartar sauce (creamy with just the right amount of onions and pickles).  As with my son's meal, the fries were not very fresh being a bit stale (as in fried awhile ago).  Viv ended up with the 5-Alarm Burger.  It was saucy and mildly spicy.  The burger patty was not dry while not overly juicy either.  As a package, the burger was typical Red Robin (being decent).

For some inexplicable reason, we visited the place again within a week.  Oh yeah, the kiddies wanted to go there... To change things up a little, I went for 2 of their $5.00 appies including the Fried Zucchini Sticks. Unlike the ones at White Spot, these were not breaded, rather they had a doughy batter with a light crispiness.  We were not that enthused with the ranch dressing as it was super salty.  We also got the Pretzel Bites with beer cheese dip.  Since these were fried, there was a greasy taste to them.  But with that being said, they were not bad being chewy on the outside and somewhat soft on the inside. I thought the dip was pretty uneventful considering it had both beer and cheese.

I opted for the Mediterranean Lamb Burger which was loaded with plenty of feta cheese, tzatziki, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and red onion on ciabatta.  Again, much like the other burger, the patty wasn't exactly juicy, yet it wasn't dry either.  I liked the texture where it was tender while not gritty.  It had a mild lamb aroma which naturally went well with the feta and tzatziki.  Loved the fresh diced veggies, but they kept falling out of the soft bun.  Of note, the fries were much better this time.  Viv went for the Crispy Arctic Cod Burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles and tartar sauce.  The tempura batter was light and crispy encasing flaky, moist fish.  Again, the chunky and zippy tartar sauce did its thing.

As much as I tried to coax the kiddies into ordering something different, they both had the Mac n' Cheese to my chagrin. Hey, it was much better than I imagined as the penne noodles were coated with plenty of cheesey sauce (Velveeta-like) and topped with real cheddar.  It could've used a bit more salt though.  Included in their meals was an Ice Cream Sundae.  Well, it was ice cream with whipped cream, sprinkles and a maraschino cherry on top.  Enough said.  Yes, Red Robin ain't complex food nor is it meant to be either.  Hey, I used to frequent this place when I didn't have adult responsibilities, but now the kiddies rule and I guess it will do until they develop a taste for foie gras...

The Good:
- Inexpensive (well, most dishes)
- It's decent for what it is
- Kid-friendly

The Bad:
- It is what it is, can't compare to the ritzier chain restaurants
- Could rely less on the deep-fryer

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