Everyone holds dear a few dishes even if it’s from their past. Although it’s more a recent past for me, the buffalo ribs at Chili’s was something I really raved about. Considering the limited options in Kuwait as early as 2006, Chili’s was the go-to place for me and the buffalo ribs was a definite order. My friends and I raved about it and were even customers who marketed the restaurant 😉 (for me it was mainly this dish). In the last decade Kuwait has seen a food revolution. There has been a tremendous surge of American franchise restaurants and also the locals have come to the forefront with their own concept cuisines. In a single word the business has become very ‘competitive’, to say the least!
After a long gap my wife and I returned to my ‘first (ribs) love’. Excited, we got there as early enough for lunch so as to be their initial customers. I didn’t even need to look at their menu, only had to decide if it was going to be the half or full rack. The usual glutton me, decided to fight the temptation and went for the half rack. Unusually, I thought I’d save space to try other dishes.
The waitress was polite though not well versed with the menu. This wasn’t an issue since the menu is pretty self-explanatory with all the pictures. We ordered our usual Southwest egg rolls Kd 3.650, Mix match fajita (beef, chicken and shrimp) Kd 6.750 , Half rack original buffalo ribs Kd 5.750 and drinks.
If you’ve ever been to a Chili’s restaurant, you’ve probably tried their Southwestern Egg Rolls at least once. They’re pretty good, and it’s been on the menu for ages. Chili’s calls this an egg roll but I believe it’s more like a ‘flauta’ which is a rolled up flour tortilla. These are wonderfully flaky and can even make an entire meal. It mostly contains a smoky chicken flavor with black beans, corn, red peppers and spinach, all with creamy melted jalapeno jack cheese. Chili’s serves this with a creamy avocado ranch dipping sauce. It’s really hard to go wrong with this dish.
The Mix & Match Fajita was new on their menu. We ordered beef, chicken and shrimps. Along with the condiments the dish would serve two light eaters (if they provided more tortillas). There was enough to make about 5 fajita’s. Certainly wish they gave more than just three. Personally we preferred the peppers a bit more grilled but the beef was tender and juicy. Overall it’s a good dish.
American-style barbecue isn’t about slapping something on a grill and then removing it a few minutes later. It involves smoking meat over heat from a wood-burning fire for long periods of time – sometimes as long as 18 or even 24 hours. The woods used are a seasoning onto themselves, giving the meat a certain flavor. When its flavored and cooked right, it is ‘fall of the bone’ and just melts in your mouth. Unlike in many other places, I like it that the Chili’s ribs has the outer portion slightly crisp with a juicy inside. It also boasts warm layers of sumptuous fat running through the full-flavored meat. There is just enough of fat that flavors the meat and makes it juicy as it is slow cooked. As far as the portion size is concerned the bbq ribs comes in a hefty portion typically reserved for the Flintstones. This had been my experience at Chili’s earlier.
Unfortunately this time the BBQ beef ribs were under seasoned. The meat was a bit dry on the outside with a scanty coating of bbq sauce which killed the whole experience. BBQ sauce has to be added while the meat is on the grill, adding it later never adds up. I burnt about 100 cals just trying to get my first bite of the ribs. The stubborn outer layer just wouldn’t give away with the age old abused bbq knife at the restaurant. To state it plainly, the meat was too tough. Moreover there was more fat that meat. Overall, I left the place still hungry as most of the ribs was not edible. Surprisingly the half- finished meal did not raise a concern with the waitress and no one had asked for a feedback on the food. I left blaming the black cat that crossed my path and not the restaurant. After all, it’s Chili’s !
Ratings – Ambiance – 8/10, Service – 6/10, Menu – 8/10, Food – 6/10, Consistency – 7/10, Value for Money – 7/10
Overall – I wouldn’t let a single negative experience taint the franchise that has been serving millions all over the world. Moreover, I’ve always love the ribs served here.. until this time.