, located at 348 Boston Post Road at the corner of Lambert Road, has been in Orange since 1995. This is a national chain founded in 1965.
This week, I was accompanied by Joe Oleschuk, 20 year veteran of the Orange Volunteer Fire Association.
We started out with the Classic Boneless Buffalo Wings. It consisted of nice pieces of tender breast meat with a crispy coating. The sauce had a little kick but was not hot. The celery was fresh and crisp and the blue cheese was cool. Very nice start.
The atmosphere was loud, not well suited for meetings or family gatherings. There are some quieter places within the restaurant, but unfortunately, although we said we were having a meeting, we were not seated there. It is a good place to go for happy hour or to watch a game with friends.
The menu was extensive and we couldn't decide on the entrees, so we relied on our server, Ian. He had great suggestions and we went with them.
First suggestion: Steak and Shrimp Scampi with sweet potato fries and loaded mashed potatoes. The steak was a nice cut, cooked to perfection. The loaded mashed had the consistency of instant potatoes. We mentioned this to Becky, one of the managers who stopped by and she went to the kitchen to find out that they were pre-cooked but mashed in-house. The cheese and Bacon added a lot to the flavor but it was tough to get past the consistency and the flavor of a baked potato.
The sweet potato fries were cold and when Joe brought this to Ian's attention, he quickly went to the kitchen and had them make a new batch. There was no seasoning on them, but they were crisp on the outside and tender inside. The shrimp was a surprise. It was 2 Jumbo shrimp, cut in half on skewers with a nice garlic sauce. They were nicely cooked, good texture and flavor, but the shells took a little away from them because it was a little difficult separating the shrimp.
Next Choice: Steak and Salmon with baked potato and broccoli. The steak again very tender and nicely prepared. The Salmon was flaky and tender complemented with a dill sauce. The potato was nicely done, perfect. The broccoli was just slightly overcooked, there was no crispness although not at all mushy.
Last Choice: The ribs with cole slaw and onion rings. The ribs had a nice flavor, not overly sweet and they were almost fall-off-the-bone. Better than a lot of the others I have tried, but not quite there. The cole slaw was made with a lime/ginger marinade rather than a mayonnaise base. The texture and flavor were great. The onion rings were crisp with nice consistency and flavor.
During the meal, the General Manager Peter, stopped by and checked that Ian was doing a good job. Ian had mentioned to him that he had made the choices and he asked how he did. We noticed that Peter also stopped by every other table and it appeared that this is his normal practice to ensure every customer is satisfied.
We were also visited by Becky, one of the managers, who answered our questions, including the mystery of the loaded mashed potato.
T.G.I. Friday's in Orange may be a chain restaurant, but it appeared that everyone working there looked at it as more than just a job. If you do go there, ask for Ian and you will be guaranteed great service. Overall rating 8.5