Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Restaurant Review: The 99 Restaurant & Pub

Many of you have probably visited the 99 restaurant before, and are probably familiar with their slogan "The 99 restaurant has 99 reasons you'll always come back for more." Well after visiting recently, I have had trouble finding even 9 reasons to want to go back.

The Pros:

1. They have a rather large gluten free menu, compared to most chain restaurants.
2. Some of the dishes are rather creative, and a number of them are quite tasty!
3. Popcorn! Finally! A pre-dinner snack that is not bread!

The Cons:

1. NEVER order a burger from them. They use pre-packaged gluten free burger buns that are hard as rocks. I kid you not, I could not chew through the bun at one point. The waitress came over and asked how my burger was. I was able to take the top bun off the burger, and back it against the table. It barely cracked. The manager was very kind about it and comped my dinner, but I refuse to ever try a burger there again. It was like trying to eat a hockey puck. You could order the burger without the bun, but really, who wants to eat a ground beef patty when you can just as easily have a steak?
2. The three salads on their menu, are really two. The Cesar Salad, as tasty as it is, is just not that fulfilling without something besides lettuce. So since croutons are obviously out of the question, chicken is a great option. But then you are technically ordering a Chicken Cesar Salad. Tasty, but be careful. They often over cook the chicken so it is dry and burnt, and sometimes they don't cut it all the way, or into small enough strips.
3. The Prime Rib is pretty tasty. unfortunately with all the early birds, you have to have a dinner appetite around 4:30 if you want a decent chance at getting a good slice. Since I don't get back to the area from school/work till around 5 on most nights, that poses a bit of a problem. Also, at most locations it is only served Thursday-Sunday.
4. Stay on top of your waiter. I can't tell you the number of times I have had a salad with croutons served to me or a dinner plate with a piece of bread on it. If you pointed out to them that it needs to be gluten free, and you ordered it off a gluten free menu, there should be no excuse for it.
5. There was hair in my food. I went to dinner with a friend, and I ordered one of the salmon dishes. After only two bites of dinner, there was an unpleasant texture in my food. It turned out to be a hair in my food. Now, I can deal with having my rice slightly dry, or my meat a little overcooked, but having a piece of hair in my food is just not something I deal with well.

In sort, I would probably give the 99 Restaurant 2/5 stars, and I feel like I am being generous here.

It had its perks, but it was nothing very impressive with all the hassle. Quality can very by location however. The one I frequent is in Fitchburg, MA. Know of a better 99 Restaurant location? Let me know!!

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