May 25, 2008

Chili's Altabrisa

The Casual Restaurant Critic is deeply aware of the fact that no one wants to read reviews of this American chain restaurant. But since it is the only restaurant visited lately and something must be said about all the available options in Merida, here goes.

Chili's Altabrisa (in the new Altabrisa mall) is a notch above the Chili's located in Liverpool, where the Critic was amazed at how bad the service was. Here, in the sparkling new mall and across from the already reviewed Fogoncito taqueria, the service is a little better while the food is the same gringo fare found at the other locations.

The Critic's better half ordered her usual hamburger which was good enough (Carls Jr. is better), the MiniCritic ordered her favorite, cream of broccoli soup which she enjoys, and the curmudgeonly Critic ordered baby back ribs. All the food arrived without utensils of any sort and the party had to resort to hissing and whistling and finally just grabbing a bus person walking by to get some forks n knives. The burger was good, the soup was good, the ribs were OK (Friday's has better ribs). Basically they were dry and the extra sauce asked for when the food was brought to the table took an eternity to arrive.

An on the rocks "Top Shelf" Margarita was served without any of the problems and difficulties encountered at the Liverpool location and was delicious and refreshing as usual.

The bill was asked for and once the money had been placed in the little bill-thingie, it took another eternity to get the change back. Finally the party's waiter approached the table with the bill holder tucked under his armpit. However, he was distracted by the bus station and stopped to help roll up cutlery elegantly in wrinkled paper napkins (do not use the wrapping napkin to wipe your mouth - trust the Critic on this one). The Critic assumed he was going to do two or three to take to a table, but after watching him complete his seventh roll, he realized that the waiter had forgotten the change and bill holder in his armpit and so the waiter was called by name and he promptly came over with the bill at that point.

Please keep in mind that a Chili's hostess will attempt to sell you a 'membership card' that is good for 10% off your bill at any of the participating restaurants. There are about 8-10 listed of which one is in Merida. The rest are in the D.F. You decide if it is worth your while.

Again, nothing that Chili's did here made the Critic change his mind about the fact that this chain should be - with the notable exception of their great margaritas - near the bottom of your out-to-dinner list when in Merida.

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