Red Robin's long awaited re-emergence in Broward county came yesterday, when they opened in The Pembroke Pines Mall. If you've never been to Pembroke Pines, it's quite a haul from Fort Lauderdale. It doesn't "seem" that far, but Pines Blvd is one of the worst East-West drives in South Florida. I opted to take 595 to Route 75 and back door it. It's 27 miles from downtown Fort Lauderdale, which is the just about the same distance as Delray Beach.
This place is at the entrance to the mall, which is exactly where the one I used to go to 10 years ago at SmithHaven Mall on Long Island was situated. This store, however, looks nothing like the one's I've been to before. The one on long island had a big, raised bar area similar to TGIF; this one has a small area separated by glass barriers, and a small straight bar with about 10 seats and just 1 TV.
I didn't like that they didn't seem to want to give me a table, which is what happens what you leave decisions up to 19 year olds; I guess if you're dining alone you have to eat in the bar area. There were some high tops so I grabbed one of those. The place is pretty open so it didn't really make much difference in the big picture.
The Red Robin on Long Island was where I used to watch football at a time when very few places had the Sunday Ticket. By far my favorite item was the Buzzard wings, which were oversized drumettes that seemed too big to be chicken wings, which is how they got their name. They still have them on the menu, so I definitely wanted to try those. I ordered them while I decided what else to have. As I looked at the menu, I didn't recognize anything. They used to have a blackened chicken sandwich with onions and cheese on a kaiser roll; but now they just have a bunch of fancy sandwiches that don't sound very appealing. They have a wide range of burgers; they call their burgers "gourmet", just like every restaurant in South Florida now seems to have. I didn't find anything too exciting; I did ask why the double burger cost less than the single burger, and it seems that it's a slider. I decided on the Prime Chophouse Burger, which has mushrooms and crispy straw onions. I asked for it medium rare, but the new Red Robin doesn't do medium rare; so I had to settle for medium. Meanwhile my wings came out.
As I looked at these, I had to figure out why I drove so far to come here. These were typical fast food chicken wings; the trademarked name "Buzzard wings" is now a ruse. Adding insult to injury was that it was all wingettes and no drumettes, which is the opposite of what they used to serve. As I was eating my 2nd wing, a manager came over and asked how everything was. He seemed unfamiliar with the original Buzzard Wings; I told him they used to be all big drums and now they are all wingettes. He looked at them for awhile and said that I should have gotten a few of each and that he'd have to have a talk with the kitchen. He offered me some fries but not drumettes which is what I would have liked. I had a burger coming so I wasn't going to eat all of the wings. The blue cheese was a good, chunky version and the wings were about the same as you'd expect to get in any fast food place. They're no longer special; the old Buzzard Wings were special.
The burger comes with what they call "Bottomless Steak Fries", which is just about the last thing that an even mildly health conscious person wants. It also diminished the Manager's offer, since I could have all of the fries I wanted anyway.
The burger looked pretty good but not as good as it did in the pictures; in the picture it looks a bit more wobbly while this was a cookie cutter patty. Note that the "Prime" in the name is misleading; this is not prime beef. A couple of spurts of ketchup and it was decent. The fries were slightly undercooked but better than some fast food fries. At $9.39 this burger is no bargain. You can get a better burger than this at 5 guys for a lot less money.
The bottom line here is that anyone who is pining for the original Red Robin can just stop, because this place doesn't resemble the old place in any way. The store is more like TGI Friday than anything else, and the "Gourmet" burgers are only gourmet to people who have never had a burger any place other than a fast food restaurant. It's not a bad restaurant and the food isn't terrible. It's just not something I need to think about anymore.