First up: drinks. At Applebee's, I ordered the "Perfect Cosmo" drink, which was basically just their version of a Cosmopolitan cocktail. It was both sweet and boozy, but nothing special or that memorable.
The Applebee’s I visited in New York City doesn't participate in the $2 promo-of-the-month cocktail deals, so I paid a whopping $14.99 for my cocktail.
Its saving grace was that the shaker tin was left at the table to drink from, and I was able to fit three full pours in my glass before it ran out.
My "El Presidente" margarita from Chili’s, however, was strong and delicious. With the purchase of my meal deal, I only had to pay $5, which also won me over.
As you can see, Chili's left the shaker tin, too. And, to my satisfaction, it also provided me with three full pours of tequila goodness.
For my appetizer at Applebee's, I decided to go for the boneless Honey BBQ wings. Although a portion size of five wings isn't huge for a typical appetizer, I found them to be surprisingly delicious. The wings were juicy, and the honey barbecue sauce was tasty and plentiful.
I also ordered the chicken quesadilla. It was probably something I could make myself in my own kitchen, but I was ultimately pleased with the taste.
The three-course meal at Applebee's also included a side salad. I love Caesar salads, but I wasn’t expecting much after the portion size of my wings. The Caesar was fine, though it did look and taste fairly bland.
At Chili's, I gleefully accepted a loaded baked potato soup to precede my entrée as part of its 3-for-$10 meal combo.
For a proper app, I ordered the BBQ wings at Chili’s to compare. To my dismay, the nine boneless wings I was served were rather dry. The barbecue sauce was not nearly as generous or tasty, and the meat almost tasted rubbery.
Entrée time! I was disappointed to receive a very sad-looking Chicken Tenders Platter from Applebee's. Maybe it’s a plating issue, but I wasn't exactly excited to hop in. Regardless, the chicken had a nice crunch to it, though it was nothing to brag about. To their credit, I enjoyed the thin, salty fries, and the honey mustard gave a good tang to the dish.
Meanwhile, at Chili's, I was thrilled when my Cajun Chicken Pasta was served. The creamy, yet spicy pasta dish was filling and I was happy to take leftovers home. The chicken was tender, and the Cajun spice provided the perfect amount of zing to the almost-too-rich pasta sauce.
The solid food choices and attractive meal and drink deals at Chili’s reigned supreme in the end.