Sunday, April 1, 2012

O'Charley's Friday Night Dinner Review!

I know I promised this post via Twitter 2 days ago, but the weekend has been soooo crazy that I haven't had time to sit down & write the review until this afternoon, but I promise you will not be disappointed (or at least I hope not)!

We went with some friends of ours & all the kiddos to the local O'Charley's. This has become one of our favorite restaurants & the best part is they have a lot of REASONABLY priced menu items - the BEST thing about a restaurant in an economy like this!

You can view their FULL menu on their website here:

Once I knew where we were going for dinner, I looked up online to see what deals they had going. There was a coupon for $5 off $20 in food (good thru 4/2/2012) and if you sign up for their e-club you get an INSTANT email with a coupon for a free appetizer (excludes combo & nachos).

We got there around 5:30pm (hubby would want me to add that is 1730 in military time). The wait was about 15 minutes for a table, but we were a party of 8, so it was just so they could move the tables around & get highchairs/boosters for the kids - they weren't busy at all.

We ordered our drinks & they came really fast (with the exception of hubby's alcoholic beverage - I guess the bar was a little slow). Also got our bread basket with our drinks (always a favorite at restaurants especially when you have hungry children)! We ordered appetizers first & decided on the Twisted Chips & Spicy White Queso (I was praying there wouldn't be too much salt - b/c I was told that's bad for ppl like hubby with high cholesterol). Our waitress came back with hubby's bar drink & we ordered our meals.

Since we went on a Friday and it's Lent (and I'm a "good little Catholic girl"), we went straight for the seafood section of the menu. Hubby prefers photos on the menu so he chose the Seafood Trio (had a large, pretty photo in the center of the menu insert). It included 2 good sized pieces of breaded cod along with some fried shrimp and some parmesan crusted shrimp. For his 2 sides he got rice pilaf & asparagus.

I ordered the Cedar Plank Tilapia. (NOTE: I was actually leaning towards the Teriyaki Tilapia, but the waitress recommended against it. I may try it another time just to see what it's like.) For my 2 sides I orderd a baked potato with sourcream & butter (hey I'm not the one with a cholesterol issue) & asparagus (we're on an "A" vegetable kick - Asparagus & Avocados).

Our appetizer came out with LIGHTNING fast speed from the kitchen! When I say LIGHTNING fast I mean it - we ordered it around 5:40 after we got the 1st part of the drinks & we got it at 5:50!) Oh and when they say SPICY, they MEAN it! If you know me, you know I get bad heartburn from WATER, so spicy food is the devil! LOL  The taste was amazing though and the twisted chips were so yummy. Not too much salt which was nice (many restaurants I find over salt/season potatoes for no apparent reason other than I guess they think they are bland?).

Here is the pic from their website of the app versus the app plate we received:

Pretty darn close, but after looking at the menu pic again, I think we got jipped a little bit on the number of chips (tho I'm not complaining b/c if I had eaten any more of them I would never have finished my entree)!

I actually picked out the "pico de gallo" (with cut up jalapenos) that topped the queso in the hopes to "dull" the spiciness of the dip, but it didn't work. (The waitress later told me you can ask for it w/o the pico & that is less spicy! Good to know!)

One of our table-mates ordered soup as one of their sides, so that came out shortly after the appetizers. After the appetizer plates were cleared & before our entrees arrived, we all received a round of refills without asking on our non-alcoholic beverages. The guys ordered more drinks at that time & they arrived just before our meals.

I wanted to add in here that the waitress was amazing! She had GREAT recommendations for the meals as well as for the drinks for the fellas. She brought things quickly & refilled the non-alcoholic drinks without asking so none of us sat with an empty glass at any time durnig our meal. The timing of the food coming out of the kitchen was also great! We weren't left waiting long in between (a pet peeve of mine, I will admit).

I would have gotten a photo of hubby's Seafood Trio but he started eating it way too quickly and I figured you all didn't want to see a half-eaten plate of food. It looked pretty darn close to the online menu photo.

Here is a menu photo of my Cedar Plank Tilapia and a photo of my actual meal:

I love that they loaded up my baked potato with the butter & sour cream but am a little disappointed in the fish portion size compared to the menu picture (it's pretty close tho so not complaining). I would have LOVED to have more of the fish because it was DELICIOUS (not that I could have eaten more anyway b/c I was STUFFED)! I love the cut of the tilapia that they used. It was fileted and cleaned beautifully - I didn't get a single bone (not even a tiny one)! That is one of my biggest worries when ordering seafood out - that someone will miss a bone & it will poke me when I take a bite.

The tilapia had a lovely smokey flavor from the cedar plank. (Note to self - learn how to cook fish in this manner at home!) The seasoning was simply perfect (wish I knew exactly what they used). It didn't need the squirt of juice from the lemon slice, but I used it anyway b/c for some reason I feel the need to put lemon on pretty much any kind of fish (not shellfish but regular fish).

The asparagus was cooked well. Although it was thinner in size, it was not stringy as some asparagus can tend to get. I would have liked it to have a little more crispness to it for more of a "snap" when I bit into it, but it wasn't bad by any means.

About half-way through our entrees, we received another (un-requested) refill on our non-alcoholic beverages & the men ordered "just one more" of theirs! They were getting quite chatty by this time in the meal! LOL

At the end of the evening, we had finished the entire bread basket, an appetizer and our entrees. I'm sorry to say that we were so full from all the food that we didn't get to order dessert at our visit this time. I have promised myself that next time we'll order dinner backwards (literally start with ordering dessert). No I'm not crazy, if you've never tried this, you should - it's immensely fun & you will give the restaurant staff a good laugh! :)

All in all, we had a great time with our friends at dinner - great company, great food, great service! You can't beat that! I'm giving it an 4.5 our of 5 due to portion sizes that seemed smaller than "advertized". We will definitely visit that location again and hopefully have the same great waitess!

Well this has been my first meal/restaurant review and I hope you enjoyed it! More to come in the future!

Later taters!

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