Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Chili's Grill & Bar in Regina

I don't spend a lot of time in Regina, so I don't know it very well. When my husband and I decided to meet my brother and his wife in Regina for a late lunch, I pulled out my phone and did a quick search on Urbanspoon for gluten-free friendly restaurants. Chili's came up, and I am always in the mood for Mexican food (even lame Canadian-ized Mexican food), so I basically insisted we go there.

When we got there, I flipped through the menu, hunting for anything that said anything about gluten-free. On the very last page, I found a note that said "Gluten menu available upon request."

First of all, restaurants really need to work on their phrasing. I don't want a "gluten menu". I want the exact opposite of a "gluten menu". I also don't want "gluten friendly menus" like most restaurants offer. I realize their intent, and I understand that a "gluten friendly menu" will have gluten-free dishes listed, but I would prefer if they called it "Gluten-free friendly" or "Gluten aware" or something that actually suggests there is no gluten.

Anyways... I tracked down a hostess and asked her for a gluten-free menu, and she said "We don't have any." I pointed out the note on the menu and she explained, "Yeah, we used to have them, but our whole menu changed so now we don't." Okay, so you got new menus. I get that. But your new menu says you have a menu for me, but you don't, because you got new menus. Hmmm.

Whatever, I can handle that. The hostess said the waitress would be able to point out some options for me, so I waited for the waitress. When she came, I explained I have a gluten allergy, and asked what I could eat. She said "Well we have corn tortillas available, so basically whatever you want."

Umm, no. Nope. It doesn't work like that. But okay, I'll play your game. My husband wanted an appetizer of chips and salsa, so I asked about that, and she said the chips are corn chips.

"Okay, but are they deep-fried?"


"Are other contaminants deep-fried as well?"

"I don't know."

"Can you check?"

She ran off to the kitchen, although I already knew the answer. I wasn't having any chips. I really just wanted to prove a point, and make her realize how severe my gluten-free-needs are.

When she returned, I asked about the fajitas. She didn't even ask which fajitas, she just told me I could get them with corn tortillas. Well, the chicken on one was marinaded, and on another it was rubbed. Either could contain gluten, so I sent her back to ask again. She came back telling me the marinade was a lime-something-or-rather, so I could have it. I gave up at that point, and ordered those fajitas.

The fajitas were delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed them, but I was also really frustrated. In my opinion, that was not a gluten-free-friendly experience, but rather an "I'm sure you can eat something" experience. If they'd actually had a gluten-free friendly menu, I might have had a fine time. As it was, I did enjoy my food, and I didn't get sick, but I just really wasn't impressed with the service.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this place. If you have strict gluten-free needs, find a different restaurant. If you want Mexican food, there's a ton of places that make better Mexican food. If you want to go to Chili's, go to Chili's, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Chili's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

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