On a recent outing, I noticed that- gasp! There was a fast food restaurant in my immediate vicinity that I had not yet been to! Similar to my Chick-Fil-A cherry popping and my Denny’s deflowering, Massachusetts has shown me a plethora of foodstuffs that have been eating me up and down, and thus, it was settled between myself, Erik, and our friend Fleeper one night that we would deign our latest adventure the Red Robin ravishing.
Red Robin is an extremely popular joint. I wasn’t surprised, but I was surprised when I was told, the first time Erik and I tried to go, that there was a 45 minute wait. Fuck that. This time there was a more modest five minutes, and we were actually able to sit, but either Holyoke really does have absolutely nothing other than the Red Robin, which we all must pay homage to, or it’s just that good.I had the raspberry limeade to drink, and it was very cool and refreshing. I tasted more generic fruit than raspberry or lime, but there was a sour flavor from the lime. I wish that there was more of a distinct mingling of flavors instead of such a generic “FRUIT” taste to it, but there was something refreshing to it that was very tasty. They used syrups instead of a mix, and after mixing it all up, it was quite tasty. However, be wary of the uneven distribution prior to mixing up the syrup!I ordered the Santa Fe burger, and decided to customize the shit out of it. Having seen what Red Robin is capable of, I thought that their menu could have been more organized in the way of boasting the customized side. I mean, they practically shove it in your face, and yet, on the menu, there’s only a blip about how you can make it any way you want. I’d have liked to see a more comprehensive list of the toppings, sauces, and meats listed, like a pizza chart, so that I could pick and choose. However, it was not to be, so I simply chose a burger that looked good and then added and subtracted various toppings from there.
That burger happened to be the Santa Fe burger, originally advertised as a burger on an onion bun with lettuce, guacamole, pepper jack cheese, tortilla strips, sauteed onions, Poblano peppers, and chipotle mayonnaise. Now, I’m sold with anything that has chipotle mayonnaise on it, so I was hooked. I’m less than partial to burgers, though, so I got mine with a chicken fillet, and no lettuce, pepper, or onions. I also substituted the regular steak fries for the garlic parmesan fries.The burger was extremely tasty. It was also massive! Huge in diameter and height, there was no skimping on any of the toppings. So, piece by piece. The bun was nothing spectacular. There was no real oniony flavor or distinction from a regular bun, which was a disappointment, but I wasn’t expecting anything exciting. I didn’t want a ciabatta because that would have given a different flavor, but this was average. It might have been nice if there was more firmness, because all the toppings kept spilling out haphazardly, and I had to do some improvisational scooping to get it all back in place.The burger, essentially, was like a giant appetizer platter on a sandwich. If the peppers had come with cream cheese, we’d be all set. The chicken was perfectly breaded with a nice crispy flour crust, and nothing else to really set it off, and wasn’t soggy in any places. It was a large piece, too, and a good part of it hung off the edge of the sandwich. The guacamole, combined with the chipotle mayo, was absolutely sinful as a spread. I loved the coolness of the flavors against the hot chicken, and the extra spice and tang was perfection. Finishing off the sandwich, on the bottom of the bun, were the tortilla strips, in three different colors, and those added a fantastic crunch to the burger and a lovely cornmeal flavor to compliment the chicken’s breading. I couldn’t detect the pepper jack cheese at all.I loved the burger. It was perfect. Everything I’d have wanted and more, and I was so pleased to have such a wide array of toppings to play around with. The fries were also good- very crispy and golden brown and fresh from the fryer, but the parmesan and garlic seemed like it was applied with a shovel, it was on so thick, and I didn’t taste any parm at all. I got a ton of chopped garlic, to the point where it almost was too intense for me, but I would have liked to see some freshly shaved cheese on it, to melt onto the fries, or even baked onto them to provide an extra crunch. The garlic was just too thick and I had to take some off. Perhaps a garlic aioli might have been better.Overall, though, a great experience. I couldn’t finish anything, but desperately wanted to, and I’ll be back again to try more of Red Robin’s selections.