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Sunday, June 14, 2015

CHILI'S GRILL AND BAR

CHILI'S GRILL AND BAR
4211 WAIALAE AVENUE
HONOLULU, HI  96816
808-738-5773
HOURS:  Monday thru Thursday/Sunday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
                 Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM

With the exception of California Pizza Kitchen you will not see too many national chain restaurants on this blog.  We pretty much avoid them whenever possible.  I did however need to stop into our local Chili's when I saw a commercial promoting their new Top Shelf Tacos.  The Tacos looked delicious on t.v. so for probably the first time in ten years the family went to Chili's for lunch.  We arrived just past noon on a weekend and were greeted by a smiling hostess who quickly seated us in a nice booth near the bar.  I was surprised to see a large bar area complete with multiple wide screens playing sports.  Is Chili's a Sports Bar?  Well it could be from the looks of this one.  Our waiter came to the table a bit late but he was courteous and professional for being what looked like right out of high school.  We ordered our drinks and then reviewed the large and colorful menu.  The Tacos that I wanted to try were featured on the cover of the menu and my Daughter's eyes lit up when she saw the photograph of the Sweet and Smokey Burger.  My Wife eyed the Mexican selections and she ordered the Combination Platter shown in another picture on the menu.  Since we all ordered something with a picture, I can tell you that this type of marketing works.  We eat with our eyes and the photographs in the menu look delicious.  As I looked through each page of the menu I noticed a black box on the table showing video games.  I asked my Daughter what it was and she said it was just something to play games on.  I dismissed the Black Box and moved it out of the way when the food arrived. We started with an order of Fried Pickles ($6.99) for the table to share.  Served with a side of Ranch Dressing.  These were good.  Real good.  The entire family loved the pickles and the small tin was empty in a matter of minutes.  My Daughter ordered the Sweet and Smokey Burger ($13.99) and seemed to love it.  She dissected it and it into three pieces so she could manage eating it.  The Burger was large as it should be for $14.  I tasted the meat and it was pretty darn good.  I ordered the Top Shelf Tacos ($14.49) where you can choose any combination of four Tacos.  Chicken, Carnitas, Fish and Shrimp.  I went for Carnitas, Fish and Shrimp and was not disappointed with the presentation.  The Tacos were placed on a custom rack that stands them up on the plate.  Served with Black Beans with Salsa a Citrus-Chili Rice.  There is no Chili in the Rice but you can taste a bit of Citrus.  The Beans were excellent and served with a little bit of Salsa.  Wish there had been more Salsa though.  As for the Tacos - they really did not satisfy my craving for good Tacos.  The Carnitas was super dry and pretty bland.  The Fish Taco included a nice piece of fish but all I could taste was the mayonnaise  based sauce that ran all over the place.  The Shrimp Taco had the best flavor of the three with the sweet shrimp and fresh slaw.  What these tacos needed was more fresh salsa and some hot sauce.  We asked for hot sauce and the waiter said that they only had tabasco.  The Tacos also did not have the Queso Cheese and Cilantro shown in the picture.  This would have helped the flavors.  My Wife ordered the Fresh Mex Pairings ($13.99) with a Chicken Tostada, Green Chili Chicken Enchilada and Beef Taco.  The Beef Taco was ground beef and not shredded like we like but it had a good flavor that both me and my wife liked.  The Chicken Enchilada was loaded with the Green Chili Sauce and my Wife said that was all she could taste. The Chicken was very dry.  As for the Tostada, it had the same dry chicken and fell apart when we picked it up.  I was not able to take a bite and my Wife took one bite and left the rest on the plate.As we picked at our food I took another look at that Black Box on the table and noticed it had a credit card swiper on the side.  Then I noticed it had a printer on the bottom.  Then I looked at the screen and saw a menu of categories like food, games, drinks and pay check.  Holy Cow I told my Wife this has the menu on it and you can pay your check from this wireless/cordless device sitting on the table. I was into this little Black Box now scrolling through the menu and looking at pictures and descriptions of the food.  What amazed me most was being able to pay the bill without waiting for the waiter.  This little gadget made the trip to Chili's worth it for me.  Technology and Marketing combined in one.  Loved it!  I pressed the "Pay Bill" icon and our entire check was displayed on the screen.  It then prompted me to a tip chart that allows you to choose the tip.  I think it was defaulted at 20% which was fine with me.  There is a sliding scale that allows you to go lower or higher on the tip amount.  Then with one swipe of my credit card the transaction was complete.  You can choose to have your check emailed to you or printed at the table.  I had the check printed and it was delivered right out of the little Black Box in seconds.  Now how cool is that.  We got up and left without waiting for the bill to come to the table and then taken in the back to ring up and then brought back to the table.  This is the future of restaurant service I thought.  Like the Apple Store, you can get in and get out without a complicated and time consuming checkout and payment process.  I will be shocked if this system is not adopted by every major chain in America.  It is perfect and it works.  As for the food at Chili's, it is really not that bad and they do a good job making the restaurant family friendly and very comfortable.  Will I be going back soon.  Not a chance.  Just prefer the Ma and Pop shops more than National Chains.  I take that back.  I want to go back and do the Black Box payment thing again.  So cool.

CHILI'S AT KAHALA MALL
THE TACOS I WAS CRAVING WAS FEATURED ON THE COVER OF THE MENU AND LOOKED GREAT
APPETIZERS AND SHARED ITEMS
SOUPS, CHILI, SALADS AND SANDWICHES
BIG JUICY BURGERS 
FRESH TEX STEAKS, CHICKEN AND FISH 
A LIGHTER AND HEALTHIER MENU
FRESH MEX
TACOS, QUESADILLAS, ENCHILADAS AND TOSTADAS
CHICKEN, FLATBREADS AND KIDS MENU
SWEET STUFF
WEEKDAY LUNCH SPECIALS
THE BLACK BOX HAD A BUNCH OF GAMES ON THE SCREEN BUT IT DID SO MUCH MORE
THE BLACK BOX IS GREAT AND ALLOWS YOU TO PAY THE BILL AT THE TABLE
SCROLL THE MENU
SEE PHOTOS OF THE FOOD 
PHOTOS AND DESCRIPTIONS 
THIS MUST INCREASE SALES
FRIED PICKLES
YUM! 
SWEET AND SMOKEY BURGER
SWEET AND SMOKEY BURGER MINUS THE ONIONS AND TOMATO WHICH MY DAUGHTER QUICKLY REMOVED AND SET ASIDE
TOSTADA, ENCHILADA AND TACO COMBINATION
THREE TOP SHELF TACOS 
LITTLE TACO TRAY MAKES FOR GREAT PRESENTATION
CARNITAS TACO 
FISH TACO
SHRIMP TACO
THE BEST PART OF THE MEAL WAS USING THIS COOL BLACK BOX TO PAY THE BILL.
BRING UP THE CHECK AND YOU CAN EVEN SPLIT THE PAYMENT
YOU DECIDE THE TIP AMOUNT 
SWIPE YOUR CREDIT CARD AND IT PROCESSES PAYMENT IN SECONDS
SIGN WITH YOUR FINGER
CHOOSE HOW YOU WANT CHECK DELIVERED
PRINT CHECK AND WALK OUT THE DOOR IN SECONDS... THIS IS SO COOL

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