Feeling Lucky? You Never Know What You'll Get w/ Bennigan's
Written: Mar 28, 2004
a Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Varied menu, reasonably priced, fun atmosphere
Cons:Inconsistent quality, both in terms of service and food
The Bottom Line: Be wary. If things don't seem like they're running smoothly when you first enter the restaurant, go somewhere else.
My wife and I normally avoid chain restaurants when we can. We like to scout out the mom-and-pop places when traveling and dining out locally, often rewarded with better food, atmosphere and service. But several months ago, we decided to try Bennigan's, and I was hooked.
First, the food was excellent. We started off with The Southwest Sampler appetizer, complete with Ultimate Nachos, Fajita Chicken Quesadillas, and Southwest Eggrolls. There were also two sauces, the Fire-Roasted Salsa and the Pineapple Pepper Cream Sauce. Everything was excellent and served hot.
My wife ordered the Monte Cristo, a battered and fried turkey and ham sandwich served w/ a raspberry sauce. I had steak and shrimp. Our meals were as good as the appetizer--served very hot and cooked just right.
The service was also top-notch. We were seated nearly immediately after being greeted at the door, and our waitress was attentive without being overbearing. It was a relaxed, fun evening at Bennigan's.
But on our next visit, everything that we loved about it the first time was notably absent. This was our Jekyll and Hyde restaurant experience.
We were not greeted at the door by anyone. Instead, we waited 15 minutes before we saw anyone who even appeared to work there. We were seated next to 4 tables that hadn't been cleared off yet (and, during the remainder of our time there, they remained dirty, piled high with dishes).
Our waitress eventually took our orders, but then disappeared for over 35 minutes. We tried the Southwest Sampler again, but this time, everything was cold when it arrived. Our meals were no better--steaks were overdone, and side items were missing. When we pointed this out, our waitress returned with a big plastic bowl of cole slaw.
That was about the last we saw of our waitress, until she brought the check.
Our experience with Bennigan's, then, has been inconsistent. During our first visit, we remarked it was the best chain restaurant meal we'd ever had. But our second visit was one of the worst restaurant experiences we've had.
The menu is varied and items are reasonably priced. The atmosphere is causal and relaxed. The service can be outstanding, but it can also be lackluster. Perhaps we were just unlucky the second time, but experiences like that certainly cloud one's overall impression.
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