Review: O’Charley’s

O’Charley’s isn’t a restaurant we’d normally go to. I understand that it mainly functions as a steakhouse — which typically isn’t where you’d find a lot of fine vegetarian fare — but we had a gift card that we got for Christmas and a non-veg*n lunch guest — and so that is where we ended up.

The menu offerings were pretty sparse. If you’re just wanting an appetizer, there are three options — the spinach artichoke dip, the cheese sticks and these crazy cheese-loaded potato chip things. Other than that, there were no specifically meat-free dishes on the menu.

We got the cheese sticks appetizer. They were just okay — nothing particularly special about them. Aaron ordered a chicken salad, minus the chicken. It had strawberries and other things in it. They let him substitute a side of french fries for the chicken — at the same price. I ordered a side salad and onion rings for my “meal”.

First of all, I have to say — the side salad I ordered was $3.99 and contained nothing more than iceberg lettuce, a few shavings of cabbage, grated cheese, two cucumbers and two roma tomato slices. The onion rings were right around $3 because they consider them a “premium” side — but that included about half a dozen grease-soaked battered onion rings. The onions they used were pretty tasteless too. They tasted like deep-fried batter, nothing more. I should have gotten the baked potato. I would have spent a dollar less and gotten more food. Total, my “meal” was around $14 with a soft drink and a piece of key lime pie for dessert. With the appetizer, Aaron’s salad and drink and my dinner, drink and dessert, plus the tip and tax — our bill was around $40 for lunch. Aaron says he tipped 12% (the service was less than stellar).

It was a terrible value and crappy dining experience, honestly. I would not recommend this restaurant.

I wish the chain restaurants would realize that vegetarians do not want to sit down and order side dishes as meals. Nor do we want to pick and choose through salads. Nor do we want to pay the price for meat we ask to leave off our dishes. Offering one or two vegetarian options on a menu as vast as O’Charley’s doesn’t seem like that much to ask for — but apparently it is. Even though Aaron didn’t get chicken on his salad, he still paid $10 for it. I spent nearly as much for two tasteless sides. I can’t even recommend the appetizer we ordered because it just wasn’t very good (Gallo’s cheese sticks are about the same size and much tastier).

The key lime pie was pretty good.

The service was bad to mediocre. I know we’re not reviewing service, but I feel compelled to mention that. There are a few restaurants in town where I feel like excellent service is part of the dining experience, but this is not one of them.

So if you’re looking for veg*n options in Wayne County, don’t even bother with this restaurant. Nothing about eating here will leave a good taste in your mouth.