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TGI Friday’s Springfield

I'd been drawn to this Route 22 Friday's because of its funky '60s-style sign and lack of their usual red and white barber pole stripes and yellow lettering. But what's not noticeable on stress-filled drive bys (James and I always get into a fight on Rt. 22, it's the lamest traffic pattern ever with weird u turns, no traffic lights and relentlessly speeding cars. I'm always afraid we're going to get killed and we always end up pissed off at each other) is that they aren't original signs but crafted to look old. The whole restaurant is weird, stylistically different and very '90s with distressed metal, though all the same crappy memorabilia glued to the walls. Sizzling platters may sound like a good idea in corporate test kitchens, but they're not so great in practice. I'm always fascinated by the propensity to cheese smother every thing at chain restaurants. I'm so not a seasonal, market menu purist, but a few unadorned items wouldn't kill anyone. Nevertheless, I went for the bruschetta shrimp and parmesan potato wedges adorned with "Mexican cheese" (at least it wasn't nacho topping). The so-called Mexican cheese was out of control, not merely pleasantly bubbling, but popping and burning on the bottom. I know some people intentionally create cheese crisps and call them frico, but this is Fridays' not a classy Italian joint (like the Olive Garden down the highway). I tried to stir the white lake of cheese that was becoming a cracker but I only half preserved the cheese's original integrity. And yet strangely, the entree was still more appetizing than the Yoda puppet glued on the wall above our booth.

TGI Friday's * 40 Route 22 W., Springfield, NJ

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