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We had three choices in the Target parking lot: Applebee's, Boulder Creek Steakhouse and Chevys. After a hard afternoon at Short Hills Mall, giant margaritas seemed in order.

Margaritas And they were massive, which made me worry a bit since they conveniently omit drink prices from the colorful menu. We were guessing $12.95, but then you have to remind yourself this is real chain dining, not the Manhattan facsimile. My supersized Gold Rush (Cuervo Gold, Triple Sec and sweet & sour on the rocks) was a mere $7.95–if I'd known that from the get go I wouldn't have nursed it throughout the meal.

For once I didn't feel bad about ordering an appetizer sampler since we were four rather than just the usual two. Spicy wings, taquitos, fajita nachos and a "chicken ?dilla" quartered up, isn't a wholly unreasonable starter.

Enchiladas When I go gringo I do it all the way, and that means chimichangas, but I resisted and fooled myself into believing that seafood enchiladas were healthier (perhaps minutely). Really, Chevys isn't any worse than anything else that passes for Tex-Mex in the NYC area. It's not completely horrible, and they were playing Weezer, for whatever that's worth.

As one of my favorite parts of Red Lobster is the Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Chevys charms me with their little corn blob that's like a freeform corn bread, polenta hybrid. Ah, it's called a tomalito, and here's the recipe.

That would've, should've been enough, but then we had to go and order two desserts: an Ooey-Gooey-Chewy Sundae and something else with ice cream and caramel sauce that I can't recall the name of. I don't think it was the "potato," as they call it. Sunday night in Linden, NJ (I was treating it as a Sat. since it was a three-day-weekend) is a sparse affair. This is one of the only chain restaurants I've ever been to where there hasn't been a wait, not to mention empty seats. It was so desolate they had to send someone over to the Applebee's half-way across the parking lot to borrow whipped cream for our chilled desserts. Now that's service.

Chevys * 1150 South Stiles St., Linden, NJ

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