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October 11, 2007 / Tony

Dinner at Bennigan’s

Bennigan’s is a chain Irish pub style restaurant, by which I mean, they have fish and chips on the menu, serve Guinness, and have some cheesy Irish paraphanelia on the walls.  Despite living in close proximity to a Bennigan’s for over a year, I had yet to bring myself to go.  Tonight, however, I went with my sister for dinner.  She ordered a Monte Cristo sandwich.  As best I can tell, it was a ham and swiss sandwich that was dipped in the same batter as they did for the fish and chips (assuming that they freshly bread their fish there; something I am not willing to admit to without more evidence).  My reasons for thinking this are: 1)  The sandwich was completely encased in breading consistent in texture with a “wet” batter breading and 2) it tasted like fish.  I can only say it was despicably awful. 

I ordered the Guinness Glazed Sirloin.  Normally, it is not my practice to order steaks at lesser restaurants like Bennigan’s.  The meat is inferior as is the cook behind the broiler. But it seemed the best thing on the menu.  Here’s the presentation:

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I’ll start with the side dishes.  The potato was lukewarm and covered with sour cream, bacon, cheddar cheese, and green onions.  It was fine as far as potatoes go although it lacked any cripiness in the skin; something I can quite fond of.  The broccolli was warm but just slightly undercooked.  It was also rather unattractively plated with most of the florets facing the plate instead of me.  The steak was cooked correctly to temperature and was served with a Guinness Glaze, which I was supposed to dip the steak into.  The glaze was sort of tasty, I suppose; it was like a sweet A1 sauce.  The steak itself was in need of something flavorful because it was obviously not seasoned before hitting my plate which made it rather bland. 

That leads me to my biggest complaint about this meal:  nothing was seasoned.  The potato was somewhat understandable but neither the broccoli nor the steak had a lick of salt on them before I did.  This bothers me for two reasons: 1) The food tastes bland.  2) I hate having to season food at the table for myself.  A good cook worth his salt is able to correctly season food so the diner does not have to.  When I entertain guests, neither salt nor pepper is put on the table.  I know the food doesn’t need either.  

So, due to carelessness and a lack of seasoning, I cannot recommend Bennigan’s as a dining destination.   

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