I made good on my promise and went to Sizzler. I had to try that Sizzlin' Trio thing, and I dragged Kelly with me to endure it too. For better or for worse, baby. Get your hoodie, I'll buy. Yeah.
So, I have to tell you, in all honesty, it was not as bad as I'd expected. It easily could have been a lot worse. The plating left a lot to be desired, but I could deal. I used to do "mystery shopping" (aka secret shopping), so I paid attention to a lot of little things. Forgive the detail if you find this boring.
When we walked in, the cashier was pleasant and friendly. She handled our transaction smoothly but had a hard time figuring out how to enter $100.20 into the register to generate my change (I was trying to break a hundred dollar bill. I never use hundreds unless I get them as tips. I don't mind getting them, but they're sometimes hard to spend.) She eventually figured it out and gave us our sodas on a cheap-ass ugly brown plaid tray and we went to sit down.
Shortly afterwards, a smiling waitress came by to double-check our order. She was totally efficient and asked us additional questions to make sure we had everything we needed. She was attentive throughout the meal. The table was sticky (we later overheard that the edges had been recently varnished and that they hadn't dried completely, but it was really gross that your forearms stuck to the table.)
When the food arrived, I'll be damned if that Sizzlin' Trio wasn't actually SIZZLIN'! It was sputtering up a storm, right there on the cast iron plate, with a little (filthy) potholder on the handle, and resting on a wooden plank. Kelly's food didn't do any tricks, it just sat there.
Food review: There were 5 shrimp on the rice pilaf, each only slightly bigger than a quarter, and frankly I think the quarter would have tasted better. It was to have been prepared scampi-style, but only one of them tasted like lemon. They were pretty much shrimp-shaped masses of pale pinkness. Pretty gross. The steak was cooked exactly medium as I'd requested. (How reassuring to know that a steak place can cook a steak properly!) The chicken was cooked through, though just a little too much, and a smattering of cheese, topped with bacon, topped with roughly chopped scallion. Then, the sides: The corn was sweetened somehow, like someone added corn syrup to the corn. Gross in a tasty kind of way. The rice pilaf had a pretty good texture, but there were these odd football-shaped things in it. Not nuts, not rice, maybe a pasta? The fajita peppers were okay, but sliced too thin, so they didn't hold up well.
Kelly's food consisted of a steak, battered-fried shrimp, and malibu chicken, served with fries. The steak was also cooked exactly to medium. The shrimp was actually tasty, but the malibu chicken! ack! it was a perfectly round breaded chicken patty (think JITB's 99¢ chicken sandwich) topped with ham and swiss cheese melted over that. It was disgusting. His fries were way underdone according to my tastes, but he didn't mind.
So, we ate. We ate it like it was a normal dinner, and managed to do pretty good with it. When we were finished, we decided it was the kind of meal that if someone in your family suggested Sizzler for dinner, we'd be ok with it...but not necessarily anywhere I'd go voluntarily any time soon. As we walked home, we both decided that we didn't feel too gross, the way you can feel icky after eating at Denny's or some greasy spoon.
We didn't get appetizers, salads or desserts. I had a pepsi (wasn't interested in the sutter home they offered by the glass) and Kelly drank water. Kelly's dinner was $12.99, mine was $11.99, the soda was $2, and about $2.50 for tax. I left $6 for a tip. Friends, this meal was not worth $36. Those were $8 entrées at best, especially figuring in the pathetic shrimp scampi, the small chicken breast (mine) the breaded tyson chicken patty (his) and undercooked fries.
In closing, if you were driving along the freeway at dinnertime, and found yourself hungry, you could do a lot worse than eat at Sizzler. But if I'm eating out locally, for my money, I'd much rather get a good burger and fries at somewhere like Cafe 50's (West L.A.) or a nice green curry at Toi on Wilshire (Santa Monica). Even the food at the Century City Mall's Food Court would be a better value.
See what I go through for you? Can you appreciate the sacrifices I make for your edification? Do you understand how I suffer? Ok, enough drama. I hope you enjoyed my experiment.
I took photos, by the way, you can see them here. The first one is of me, wearing sunglasses and hiding behind my soda, to prove that I was actually in a Sizzler. Please notice the careful backlighting technique that Kelly used to help conceal my true identity. The second is my Sizzlin' Trio, and the third is Kelly's Steak, Shrimp and Malibu Chicken Trio.
Last thing I ate or drank: miniature marshmallows, straight from the bag. Cuz I'm crazy like that.
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