CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
What's Happening to my Favorite Diner?
Chili's Achrafieh: Too Bad...
Chili's Beirut: The Train Seems to be Back on Track
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Chili's: Back on its Feet
My Quarterly Dose of Enjoyment; Chili's Chocolate Molten Extravaganza
Chili’s Beirut: Twenty Years of Good Food, Generous Portion and Non-Smoking Dining
For the last couple of years, it has been made clear that international diners don't have a place in Lebanon anymore. After the closure of Fuddruckers, Applebee's and Hard Rock Cafe, the giants found in most countries and cities around the world, this theory has been confirmed. Only one has survived in Lebanon... Chili's is still alive.
Chili's is a favorite which has passed through many ups and downs over the years. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but the train is back on track. Tonight, a Monday night, I was surprised to see the place almost full. It seems Chili's is still alive and people do enjoy it, as I do.
Chili's for me is a souvenir of my childhood, a diner operated by a professional team which has been working here for a long time. The faces are familiar, a team I see every time I come.
The menu hasn't been changed since July 2014 and the prices have remained the same. A large menu divided into different sections and lots of photos. Margaritas, specialty drinks, appetizers, salads, lighter choices, soups and chili, sandwiches, big mouth burgers, steaks, ribs and fajitas. Also available are tacos, quesadillas, pastas, chicken, seafood and side dishes, without forgetting the signature desserts.
- Classic nachos with melted cheese, jalapeños, beans and house-made guacamole and sour cream. Twelve crunchy nachos served on a round plate. The plate looks nice and appealing, and opens your appetite as it lands. Each has a thick layer of melted cheese and a jalapeño with two scoops of guacamole and sour cream in the middle. Crunchy nachos, tender cheese and good taste. A plate I never miss.
- Boneless honey chipotle wings: A super rich aroma takes over the table as they approach. A basket of boneless wings, chunks of chicken in their crunchy envelope. Extremely hot and spicy, juicy and flavorful, those are exceptional. A sweet escape, a perfect texture and a juicy heart. They shine in their generous sauce, ready to be devoured. Delicious! I wasn't expecting wow food at Chili's.
Before moving the main plates, I'll take a minute to tell you about the place. Positive vibes and lots of lights mean that you'll take amazing photos for your Instagram account. Fresh music plays in the background while the staff moves around in a synchronized manner. The decorative material on the walls is still the same from the early days. The huge chili pepper in the middle is still here to amaze and the place is still smoke free.
- Cajun club sandwich with smoked turkey: A different club sandwich with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, Swiss and jalapeño jack cheese, lettuce and tomato. Indeed different, loaded with flavors and aromas, the bacon is excellent, the portion of smoked turkey and the melted cheese, the crunchy lettuce and the juicy tomato... But this club is dry. It needs more mayonnaise or any sauce to soften it up. I ordered mayonnaise, added it to it and turned a simple sandwich into an amazing experience. With it is a mountain of fries. Excellent fries well seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Half rack of ribs with honey barbecue sauce: Slow smoked over pecan wood with a tangy and sweet honey barbecue sauce. Yummy! My favorite here. A long rib cooked to perfection, meat that melts under your teeth with a crunchy, hard envelope loaded with a juicy sauce. Really yummy... I was moaning instinctively. One rib after the other, with a fork despite the fact that they're more enjoyable with your hands, it didn't take much effort to peal the meat off the ribs... And don't forget the sauce, the dip, the mix of apples and cinnamon, this kind of creamy sauce you want to drink or wrap in a sandwich.
The signature dessert of choice: Sublimissime - A dessert to try at least once in a lifetime: Chili's molten chocolate cake. Redefined awesomeness! A molten heart of chocolate with a light and airy sponge cake topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce, covered with a chocolate layer and love, lots of it. Break it open with your spoon and let the fun begin. You feel the sponge cake slide on your tongue while the warm chocolate tickles your taste buds before the ice cream takes over to enchant you. The cake only needs a light pressure, the pressure of your tongue up on the palate for this explosion of flavors to erupt, stopping your breath for a second. That's not a feeling my fingers can describe. I literally finished it entirely.
I was amazed, really amazed... The food is excellent, real diner food with flavors and ingredients that makes every plate special and different. It's not diner food "a la Libanaise", it's simply good food that will put a smile on your face.