Friday, April 05, 2013

Bowie Restaurant Project: (65) Chili's

For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.

For a list of all the Bowie Restaurant Project reviews, look here.

Chili's, 16401 Heritage Blvd.
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 4/4/2013
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 1
Pre-Foursquare Visits: No
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

It's a Chili's. Right? We're at Chili's, aren't we, not Applebee's or Ruby Tuesday's or whatever? Nope, definitely a Chili's.

One reason that I know that I've been to a Chili's before -- and can thus dispense with a second visit, according to my review rules -- is that I know there is one in the hotel that the Euroquest gaming convention used to be held in. One time, on a break from gaming, Martin and I were approached by the waitress who asked if we were familiar with their menu. Martin assured her that he came there all the time. After she left, I expressed surprise at this response and he said something like, "I don't know that I've ever been to Chili's in my life; I just didn't want to hear whatever she wanted to tell us."

Although the service this time was not particular enthusiastic, I saw more instances of where Chili's was more interested in a relationship with me than vice versa. For example, signs and notes on the menu reminded me to download their app, where, among other things, I could request songs on the jukebox without actually getting up and walking over there.

A bad cell phone picture of the "Ziosk"
The one thing of some mild interest was the "Ziosk", a console that took up a large percentage of the real estate on our surprisingly small table. Most of its offerings were duds -- advertisements for specials, or offers to pay $1.99 to play games I could probably find on my phone for free. There was a chance to re-order drinks. When our waitress had disappeared for a while (as I said, the service was not the best), I tried to use it to summon water, but was told we had not ordered drinks. I assume it only works on booze.

The Ziosk did shine in one area. It lets you pay your bill, which may have helped us recover some of the ten minutes we waited for someone to show up and seat us at the beginning of the meal. In particular, we were able to split the check and each pay via credit card. It's always very annoying to split a small check between two or more people -- and I probably would not have done so via credit card if not for the Ziosk. And I was able to get the receipt via e-mail, so there's that.

What about the food. It was adequate. I got the chili, which was comparable to Wendy's, and the fajitas, which were fine. My colleague got the "Southwestern Mac 'n' Cheese with Grilled Chicken," which was also fine. Both it and the fajitas were presented on a little skillet, which was reasonable.

So it ends up with the ever popular 2.5-star rating (awarded in 7 of my most recent 11 reviews). It might sink to 2 stars without the Ziosk, which solves the hypothetical-yet-plausible scenario of, "I'm going out to lunch with a bunch of people and it's going to be a pain to split the check."

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