It's a Shame About Tyler Florence

If you are old fashioned enough to actually see commercials in this day and age, you may have had the shock/pleasure of witnessing a rather bloated looking Tyler Florence promoting his new menu for Crapplebee’s.

Even if you were aware, you probably didn’t hightail it to Times Square to check out the four dishes, collectively called Huge Flavor.

I’ve got your back on that one, girlfriend.

Huge Tyler has created: Bruschetta Burger, Penne Rosa with Sweet Italian Sausage, Herb-Crusted Chicken Topped with Italian Country Salad, and Crispy Brick Chicken. I decided to sample just one of the chicken dishes, and since the waiter told me the Brick Chicken was extremely popular, I skipped the “Herb-Crusted” which was, in fact “Deep-Fried.”

It is possible that that dish was the amazing standout, but it seems unlikely. The pasta (overcooked penne rigate, chunky pink sauce, peas, and disconcertingly soft slices of sausage) was the only edible offering. It was cafeteria level. And it cost $16.99. For one dollar more, you could have homemade orechiette with sweet sausage and broccoli rabe AT BABBO.

When the waiter asked how we’d like the burger, we said “medium rare.” Then he said “I’m asking, but actually, we can only do it either medium-well or well. New guidelines from the health department.” What what what? We’ll have to find out more. Perhaps if the meat is of dubious quality it can’t be served pink? Or perhaps all restaurants are receiving this order but the real ones are ignoring it? More to come on that.

The burger was crumbly and dry as a bone, topped with pesto and minced tomatoes, with rubbery mozzarella underneath. The foccacia did not, as Tyler promised, provide a “delicious crunch.” In fact it was slimy. The garlic fries seemed to have been microwaved and then left out on a counter overnight maybe.

The slimy theme continued with the chicken, which is a shame because chicken cooked “sotto mattone,” or under a brick, is beloved specifically for its crisp skin. (Tyler said “it’s so crisp it crackles with flavor!” but he lied). Big T served it up with an arugula salad that my date speculated was dressed with a combination of bacon and vanilla ice cream.

Oh, Tyler, I always had a soft spot for you. (The way you have a crush on the quarterback even though you only date burnouts.) But I can’t abide by this.

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