Disclaimer – I was given the opportunity to sample the new menu at TGIF free of charge. As always, my thoughts are my own.
The other day I had the opportunity to try the new menu at T.G.I.Friday’s. The new menu is currently out in Buffalo, Minneapolis, and Denver and a group of local bloggers were given the opportunity to come and taste some of the new dishes. I brought my friend Kim along and we had a really great time.
There is a T.G.I.Friday’s across the street from campus at UMiami and there was a year in undergrad when Adam and I were going pretty much weekly. I’d get the pecan crusted chicken salad, every single time. But it’s been awhile and I’ve not had very good luck with chains locally. I have to be honest that when the offer came in I wasn’t expecting to be all that impressed. But here’s the thing – everything we tried was great! Like, everything. And I realize that those dishes were being put out specifically to serve to a group of local food bloggers, but I was impressed enough that I plan on going back on my own.
You can read about the items here so I’m not going to waste your time by regurgitating the menu. Instead, I’ll share a few of my thoughts. We had the opportunity to ask questions and I did my best to ensure that vegetarian dishes were truely vegetarian. I loved how many options were available for non-meat eaters. There were also some good-looking beef dishes added to the menu, but since I didn’t taste them myself I’m not going to comment on them.
Peach Sweet Tea.
This was made with peach puree, agave, and black tea. I’m not the hugest sweet tea fan but this wasn’t too-too sweet and you could taste that the peaches were not fake.
Heavenly Hummus Dip
The hummus was made with roasted red pepper paste which gave a nice layer of flavor under the tahini. It was topped with goat cheese crumbles which is not a combo I would have expected. The flavor was good, but very garlicy so be aware if that’s not your thing. We were told that the hummus is made fresh every day. It was served fresh with pita toasts that seemed very fresh as well.
Warm Pretzels with Beer Cheese Dipping Sauce
This was my favorite appetizer (duh!). I know that not everyone is as obsessed with movie theatre pretzel bites as I am, but I promise this app feels fancier than that. The pretzels are supremely soft and they are brushed with a basil butter that gives them this great, unidentifiable taste (I had to ask). The beer cheese sauce wasn’t gritty or too sour. Ask for no bacon on top if you don’t eat pork. They recently changed from cooking the sauce with bacon to sprinkling it on top so that this accommodation could be made.
Ahi Tuna with Avocado Crisps
I took a bite of this expecting to spit it out and ended up eating the entire thing. Seared ahi tuna is served on top of tortilla crisps with Sriracha, guacamole, lemon vinaigrette, and a fresh jalapeño. The blend of flavors and textures really helped me get over the fact that I was eating raw fish. I loved the fresh jalapeño on top; it gave great crunch and the guacamole helped to mellow out the heat.
I don’t have a photo of the Sedona Black Bean Burger but I wanted to mention it because it was amazing. It’s a black bean burger topped with chipotle mayo, avocado, and great thick-sliced pickles. The burger had a nice texture and held together perfectly and the sandwich had just the right amount of spice. This felt nice and meaty but is actually a good vegetarian option (it’s not vegan because egg whites are used in the bean patties).
Grilled Vegetable Dagwood
I should say right now that the three sandwich options were my three favorites. This sandwich was fantasmic and Kim and I both made ourselves a little sick because we just couldn’t stop taking bites of it. Two pieces of extra-soft pita were stuffed with spinach, goat cheese, roasted veggies (eggplant!), and mango chutney. You never see mango chutney on American menus and it really adds a lot of flavor to any dish.
Turkey Cranberry Rueben
What, what?! It’s a Rueban… and it’s made with turkey so I don’t have to request a menu change… and it has cranberries? Sign me up! Actually the cranberry component was in cranberry jalapeño slaw and cranberry jalapeño thousand island dressing, which is even better. I liked that it had a Goldilocks amount of turkey on it (not too little or too much) but I do recommend requesting that it be grilled without butter.
Victory Garden Pasta
Whole wheat penne with veggies (brocoli, mushrooms, olives! and more) and goat cheese in a lemon sauce. If you request no goat cheese this one would be vegan. The pasta was not my cup of tea but that’s just my taste preference because it was Kim’s favorite. I love the throwback name.
Overall, I was very impressed the amount and variety of veggies that made it onto the new menu. And I like that the prices are still pretty low in spite of some “fancier” additions, i.e. avocado and goat cheese. It’s sort of awkward to write a review that doesn’t say anything bad because I think my readers will assume that I’m lying, but I promise that my experience was genuinely just a good one. If you get try the new menu for yourself please let me know what you think!
What is your favorite chain restaurant?