My family was headed to Olive Garden for a quick dinner the other night but ended up at the new Houlihan's instead. (a) OG is never worth an hour-long wait. (b) Don't laugh, foodies! You go to corporate restaurants for meals every now and then too!
The old Houlihan's is located at the DoubleTree Inn on Glenstone. The new one is on Republic Road, just off the 60. It is LEED certified, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, if such certification matters to you. I don't really care if they have a geothermal mechanical system or solar power if the food is no good. (They do, however, and it is.)
Thankfully, the food is good. My parents split Meatloaf No. 9 off the dinner menu and LOVED it. (I have no idea why it's called "No. 9." There are no other meatloaf dishes on the menu.) Ditto for my sister and brother-in-law. Dad had a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, which came chopped rather than leafy. Mom had a bowl of of Chicken Tortilla Soup (with a good dip from the bottom). Sister had the White Bean & Artichoke Hummus, which was really tasty (according to my wife, who sampled it).
My wife and I ordered several items off the Small Bites menu. I had Lettuce Wraps with peanut sauce and LOVED them. My wife thought they needed something acidic in them to balance off all the sweet tastes. I liked them as is. My wife ordered Goat Cheese & Artichoke Poppers, which she LOVED. We also ordered the Thai Noodle Bowl with Tandoori Chicken skewers (an upcharge item). My wife thought the noodle bowl was okay, but the chicken was perfectly cooked. (Side question: Who mashes up Thai and Indian food in a single plate?)
My son and my nephew ordered Mac & Cheese off the kids menu. They don't have discriminating palates, but they wolfed the food down anyway. My son got carrots and applesauce with his plate. My nephew settled for extra M&C and applesauce only.
Upside: We liked the food, the service, and the ambiance.
Downside: $80+ for eight people who all split meals or ordered appetizers.
My family probably won't go there for quick-and-dirty family dining. But my wife and I are definitely going back on date night.
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