Dining out with food allergies or food restrictions is always a challenge. Looking back, I think it was the biggest change we made as a family. You see before we found out about the children’s food allergies, our Sunday routine is all about having brunch in a restaurant after Church. In fact, until now, the kids have fond memories about that.
During our early years dealing with the kids’ new diet, we really struggled finding a place to eat. A lot has changed though since then. Many food establishments are now trying to accommodate customers like us.
One of the chain restaurants my children really enjoy going to is Applebee’s. That’s why when I heard about the new Wood Fired Menu, I immediately grabbed the chance to check it out and see for myself if the food will be delicious and if it will have options for my kids with food restrictions.
Before I continue, here’s a very important thing to remember when dining out. While chain restaurants have the same basic protocols and products, management in each location is different. That being said, the experience I had from the branch I dined in may not be the same as yours. For more nutritional or allergen information, you can check their website. They have a list of all the allergens found in the items in their menu.
For this review, I’ll specifically mention that my husband and I went to the Applebee’s in Piscataway, New Jersey. Here’s a little trivia. Did you know that this location is the first ever Applebee’s in NJ?
Anyway, my husband and I arrived at the restaurant around 7:30 pm on a Friday night. Yes, in the middle of the dinner rush. While the place is packed, there are no people waiting to be seated. The two hostesses are very friendly and actually made sure that we feel welcomed. Once seated, I’ve noticed that there’s a good amount of staff working. I really love this because it helps them keep up with the growing crowd. Thus, no long waits.
For appetizer, we got the Salsa Verde Beef Nachos. Even though I don’t have food restrictions, I decided to go gluten free on this meal. Yes, that beautiful plate is GF. As a starter, I would say that this is enough for 3-4 persons. However, it is so delicious that the two of us finished it without issues.
Though the dish may seem ordinary, the flavors are well balanced. The beef is well seasoned and has a hint of smoky flavor. All the chips are crunchy even though it is loaded with toppings. There’s a right amount of real melted cheese. (Yup! They didn’t use the processed cheese sauce.) The vegetables – onions, tomatoes and jalapeno are fresh which gives a the dish slightly sweet hint. The use of good ingredients raised it up a notch.
For the entree, I got the Fire Grilled 6 oz. Top Sirloin, Fire Grilled Veggies and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I’m a big steak fan and I really appreciated it when the server asked me to cut through my steak to check if it is cooked to the temperature I requested. The wood fired menu really delivered what it promised. I love how the smoky flavor from American Oak logs gave this meal a homey and tasty BBQ taste. The best part, this meal is free of egg, nuts and peanuts. Take note that the steak isn’t free of wheat and soy.
Since I can’t decide if I’ll get the steak or the pork chop, I begged (forced) the husband to get the Bone-in Pork Chop with Honey Apple Chutney, Garlicky Green Beans and Fire Grilled Veggies. This gesture is really big as he is not a fan of pork chops. In fact, I was really to trade in my steak in case, he didn’t like his entree.
When his plate arrived and we started eating, I was surprised to see him actually enjoying the pork chop. He loved it so much that I have to ask nicely to get a bite of his food.
After tasting his entree, I have to admit, it was one of the best pork chops I ever had. Yes! It’s gluten free too. Tender, juicy and well seasoned, this pork chop is definitely something to remember. It also had the smoky flavor from the American Oak logs which goes perfectly with the sweet apple chutney. Yes! Everything on the plate is also allergy friendly.
That’s me enjoying my food. At the back of my mind though, I kept asking “Why didn’t I pick that pork chop in the first place?” Our server even mentioned that the pork chop is his favorite item in the new menu when we asked for recommendations. Oh well, I’ll get it the next time.
Since we had a great experience at this Applebee’s, food and service wise, I wouldn’t hesitate to bring the kids (even the two with food allergies) here and let them try the Wood Fire menu. I’m sure it will be a delicious treat as Child#1 and Child#3’s usual restaurant orders are burger and grilled chicken with nothing on it.
Speaking of treats, I’m really excited to let you know that Applebee’s has agreed to sponsor a giveaway for you my TFMFriends. Would a FREE dinner for two (with a retail value of $75) sounds good?
Then, do the steps below for entries. This giveaway will end on July 6, 2016 11:59 pm EST. Take note, the prize is valid at selected Applebee’s locations here in New Jersey (Brick, Bridgewater, Butler, Clifton, Clark, East Hanover, Edison, Flemington, Garfield, Hackensack, Hackettstown, Hillsborough, Howell, Jersey City, Jersey Gardens, Kearney, Lacey, Linden, Manahawkin, Manalapan, Manchester, Middletown, Miltown, Mt Olive, Newark, Newton, North Bergen, Northvale, Ocean, Paramus, Parsippany, Phillipsburg, Piscataway, Rockaway, Tinton Falls, Toms River, Totowa, Union, Wall and Woodbridge).
The Giveaway has just ended. Congratulations Stefanie S.