So, here is how the story goes...
I've been meaning to try Applebee's since I started NoGarlicNoOnions, but none of my friends were ever excited to do so with me. Recently I pushed them to do so: "I need to go check this place out..." Together with Robin, Micheal, Alain and Jihad, we went down for dinner at Applebee's Dbayeh.
This stand alone restaurant has been on Dbayeh Highway for over five years now, serving American diner food in a cozy atmosphere setup in a pleasant place. The place can cater to hundreds of guests or more. I've been hearing negative comments about the restaurant and wanted to look into that for myself. The place's little details:
- Enter the restaurant to be welcomed by a closed area perfect for parties and small groups
- The diner is centered with a bar well lit with orange and red lanterns
- Two levels filled with rectangular wooden tables surrounded with chairs decorated with metallic black lines
- Every table is well lit with a pending lantern. Two colors follow each other one after the other; orange and red
- The space is covered with a dark carpet adding a warm touch
- The walls are filled with movie posters and portraits
- Even though looking big from the outside, the space is cozy and filled with light wood
- Adequately lit in a dimmed ambiance
- Entertained by hit music, your dinner is a real American one
- Refreshing favorites for all
- Shareable appetizers
- Ultimate Trios
- Fresh salads and signature dressings
- Applebee's real burgers
- Flavor stacked sandwiches
- The best cuts in the neighborhood
- Juicy and tender steaks
- Sizzling entrees
- Blue ribbon ribs
- Succulent chicken
- Perfect pasta
- Simply seafood
"Real flavors that bring people together" is what's written here and there... Is it true?
Our dinner started with Applebee's signature drink, the "Perfect Margarita" that is indeed perfect. Served in a stainless shaker and two martini glasses, this drink is a must try. The glasses come decorated with a quarter of a lemon, an green olive and a line of salt topping the cup. Different from the Mexican frozen ones, this drink is unique and rich where all ingredients are felt and enjoyed. We liked it so much that we doubled the order.
After that, appetizers followed:
- Chili Cheese Nachos: Served in a large basket covered with aluminum foil and absorbent paper, you receive a very generous platter filled with crunchy homemade chips served with Queso cheese that's less fatty than cheddar, lettuce and chilli sauce with beans. We enjoyed this plate although it looks unappetizing, but tasty and fun. The quality of nachos is really good.
- The Appetizer Combo: A taste to please every taster. Mozzarella Sticks, Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Cheese Quesadilla Grande and Boneless Wings. The mozzarella cheese rolls are really very good and different from the ones we are used to at all other diners in town; Soft tender and non oily. The boneless chicken is fresh with a crunchy crust. The spinach dip has interesting flavors
WOW! Jihad looks at me saying. "I think we were all wrong misjudging the place. The food seems really nice and the improvements are clear."We enjoyed our appetizers with a smile just waiting for the main plates to come...
Here, the disappointment started...We made sure to order a varied choice of plates:
- Southwest Jalapeños burger: The jalapeños sauce is not enough to make this burger juicy. A dry mix combined to a dry "Kafta-like" dry meat and imagine the result. A nice bun and an interesting jalapeños flavor is all what this sandwich has to offer. It's not a burger I recommend. On the side, a coleslaw that tastes pure sugar. Some cabbage shreds are served without sauce. Just dry sweet cabbage. A big No.
- Mushroom Steak Skillet: A rich and tasty mushroom sauce but unfortunately an experience that stops here. Served with an unpleasantly crunchy piece of meat where e very bite is filled with gelatin that slide under your teeth. The potato puree on another hand is tasty.
- Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich: To start with, the presentation of this plate is very bad. We received something looking so unappetizing - we expected to taste something not good. On an open baguette, some cheese and ham are layered. Take the sandwich in your hand, fold it in half and crunch into it to feel the unpleasant taste of thick ham that doesn't blend at all with the chicken followed by a heavy thick white sauce. I felt like I was eating pasta with cream sauce (ma3karone bi 7alib). PS: For a chicken sandwich, the chicken should be easily spotted and the Cordon Bleu is when the cheese is filled inside the chicken
- I don't remember what kind of chicken plate we ordered but whatever it is, the chicken quality used is not good at all. An unpleasant smell combined to an unpleasant crunch. The chicken felt watery and the cheese on top is too thick, too fatty and too gewy. The best part is that the rice is not fresh and it has been reheated in the microwave. Awesome! I think the photos speak for themselves
- Cowboy Burger: Head out West and grab this burger topped with crispy onion strings, melted white cheddar cheese and Applewood smoked bacon. Served on toasted bun with Southern BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. All of the tasty mix above masks the meat's flavor. This kafta-style low quality meat is close to inedible. I only had a bite... Couldn't more
- The Fries, unpeeled are good and perfectly seasoned. Finally something's edible in here
Let me tell you that the desserts didn't impress me at all. The apple pie is too sticky and too sweet. Ice cream is too sweet and its overall feel is too heavy and too buttery. The maple syrup is too chewy, too buttery and too sweet.
No, that's not how I expected to end my dinner. I expected something like Chili's molten pie or Roadster's Marble Mud Pie, unfortunately that was not the case. Not only that, expect your clothes to smell burnt sugar for the next couple of hours.
While researching for the article, I visited Applebee's Lebanon on Facebook. Their page was last updated in April 2013. It seems nobody cares about the brand anymore...
- The food is really not good. Each plate lacks something. The meat has layers of crunching cartilage, the chicken has an unpleasant taste, the Cordon Bleu sandwich is not even edible and the desserts, well, they smell of burnt butter and fat. I'll recommend you stick to eating just the appetizers
- The menus are very dirty and falling apart. The staff has to check and clean them before every shift but they don't
- The nachos are good
- The Margarita is unique
- Prices are reasonable
To tell you the truth, I did well not including Applebee's in my Top10 diners list. I sure hope that if they plan on staying here, they should work on reviving themselves again to rise from ashes they are in today.