Outlet mall meal falls short of its name

  • By Anna Poole / Herald Restaurant Reviewer
  • Thursday, November 24, 2005 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

TULALIP – “Holiday shopping” was my excuse to visit the outlet mall next to the Tulalip Casino. After examining the merchandise in a few of the megaplex’s stores, hunger struck. My shopping partner and I headed for the outlet’s food court.

The size of the food court was our first disappointment. Ninety-seven stores in the center but only seven places to get food, if you count Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels and don’t count the vending machines. Alderwood and Everett malls have more food stations in the food courts. More importantly, both malls have real restaurants in and near the mall, in addition to the quick, counter-style eateries in the food court. The outlet’s choices are limited to teriyaki, pizza, grilled chicken and two franchised sandwich stands. My lips pressed into a thin line at this discovery.

The Great Steak &Potato Co.

10600 Quil Ceda Blvd., #381C, Tulalip; 360-654-3050

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday

Price range: inexpensive

Liquor: none

Smoking: not permitted

Vegetarian: limited

Reservations: not available

Disabled accessibility: easy access

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa

We selected The Great Steak &Potato Co. over the others because the name made the food sound appealing. The Great Steak menu includes seven sandwiches ($5.99 and $7.99), two salads ($7.99) and three styles of baked potatoes ($3.99 to $5.99).

My shopping companion opted for the large chicken teriyaki sandwich and I went with the name – The Great Steak. I added fries and a diet soda. The place was all out of diet soda, so my friend offered to walk two stands down and get a medium from the grilled chicken place. When he returned, he ordered one of the many smoothies on the menu. Sadly, smoothies weren’t to be had. Something about not getting a delivery the last couple of weeks.

We found a table near the food stands so we could watch the action in the open kitchens. My friend sat alone and waited while I stood at the counter without a tray or napkins. This is important because on the tray is your receipt, which tells those making your sandwich what you ordered. I reached across those waiting next to me, grabbed a tray, put my receipt on it and waited some more.

Our sandwiches dwarfed the small blue serving tray so there wasn’t room for my fries, which were nowhere to be seen. I pointed out to the cook that I ordered fries. He said, “Yeah,” and turned back to the grill.

My pressed lips became a little thinner.

I took our sandwiches to our table along with a cup of ketchup, and some napkins, after asking for them. I stood and watched the kitchen staff. No fries were cooking. So, I returned to the counter and pointed out that I ordered fries. A bag of frozen ones were quickly opened and poured into the fryer.

My friend’s sandwich was loaded with cubes of chicken coated with teriyaki sauce and squares of onion bits that were coated with melted Swiss cheese. My friend rated it a 7 for taste. Unlike my dining companion’s, I ranked my sandwich, which is a hybrid of a Philly Cheesesteak, about a 2 or 3. This wasn’t even good mall food, much less “great.” The bread wasn’t warmed, toasted or tasty. There was too much bread for our sandwiches’ fillings. We spent $17.40 for two sub-standard sandwiches, frozen fries and one medium soft drink.

My recommendation? Shop at the malls and enjoy the surrounding restaurants or shop the outlet and eat at the casino’s buffet next door. The Eagles Buffet is about the same price for adults – $9.95 – and $4.95 for kids. It’s all you can eat and the last time I ate there, the food was top notch.

Herald restaurant reviewers accept no invitations to review, but readers’ suggestions are always welcome. Reviewers arrive unannounced, and The Herald pays their tabs.

Contact Anna Poole at features@heraldnet.com.

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