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Applebee’s Linden

Sampling Tyler Florence’s corporate handiwork had to be done. I just didn’t realize it would happen so soon. It was 9pm, Saturday, and we were in a Linden, NJ strip mall parking lot. I’d already eaten at the Chevy’s earlier this year and wasn’t feeling inspired by Boulder Creek Steakhouse (I like lots of little caloric things not one big chain restaurant steak) so it was Applebee’s by default.

Dip We tempted fate and ordered the spinach and artichoke dip. E coli is passe by now, right? I’m all for unneccesary fat but do you really need a huge side dollop of sour cream (not pictured) to accompany a crock of melted cheese?

I lamed out and instead of getting the crispy brick chicken I tried the non-Florence bistro steak sandwich instead (I wanted fries, not a salad). Luckily, James came through and got the bruschetta burger. The thing was like a damn shape shifter, no matter how many times I snapped shots the pesto foccacia creation turned out blurry.

C6_bruschettaburger_det The most remarkable thing about Tyler Florence’s "huge flavors" (next to the giant photo of his beginning to pudge-up mug emblazoned on the front of all the menus. I know I’m not the first to notice his treading into the fat man waiting to happen territory of D’nofrio, DiCaprio and Sarsgaard) that I sampled were the "crispy garlic fries sprinkled with shaved Parmesan," which tasted supremely unhealthy. I grabbed a few out of James's ramekin (yeah, the TF fries come in a freaking ramekin—mine were just scattered on the plate) and was like “those are really good.” They were sprinkled with rosemary (which you’d think they’d mention as it sounds vaguely upscale) and wet like the top of movie theater popcorn.

What the hell did they do to those things to give them that addictive buttery taste? Perhaps those huge flavors are the result of kitchen chemistry, trans fats and food additives. All I know is it worked on me.

Applebee's * 671 W. Edger Rd., Linden, NJ

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