Revamped, but still with large dose of Americana teleports diners
UPON entering the TGI Friday’s restaurant on Fucheng Road, one is immediately enveloped in an atmosphere suffused with some quintessential Americana charm. It’s a if being teleported back across the Pacific Ocean to the land of burgers, fries, and cold beer.
Hailing from the southern United States, I am well-acquainted with the franchise’s food and its a casual atmosphere, perfect for grabbing drinks with friends or even a date. Recently, TGI Friday’s put a new twist on an old favorite, and created a new steak menu offering different portions.
Steak has always been a personal favorite — it was my mother’s specialty, and a typical weekend fare in our house. Since I have such personal associations with the thick cuts of beef, I was a bit skeptical of TGI Friday’s ability to deliver the juicy satisfaction they promise. All those doubts were laid to rest as soon as the first bite hit my tongue — the meat was grilled to perfection, and was so succulent and tender that it all but melted in my mouth. Paired with a side of fries and broccoli, as well as the signature Jack Daniels sauce, my initial twinge of homesickness was quenched by a satisfying taste of home.
It’s no surprise that the steak is seared to perfection — they’ve got the process down to a science. According to the chef of the Friday’s on Fucheng Road, preparation begins longs before the steaks reach customers’ plates. The beef is imported Australian, raised around 300 days, when the meat is naturally the most tender. Immediately after butchering, the steaks go into a freezer, where they are left to breathe for 10 to 14 days at -10 degrees Celsius. As the meat breathes, its muscle proteins break down, further tenderizing the cuts of beef. Finally, the steaks are seared at 350 degrees Celsius, ensuring that all the delicious juices are locked inside.
The new steak menu includes three different cuts of meat, with favorites such as ribeye and New York strip steaks, all served with a variety of sides. Kek Poh Hean, CEO of China’s Chaswood Resource Holdings Ltd, which acquire six pre-existing TGI Friday’s in China last year, said that the focus on steak would further boost the brand after the menu was expanded with new sides like rice, sweet potato fries and other sides.
Assuring food safety and offering smaller and larger portions would also go a long way in attracting new customers. Friday’s is set to undergo a massive brand expansion in China, which will add significantly to their consumer base as Kek tries to grow the franchise by another 20 restaurants across the country. TGI Friday’s make for a great dinner, and the Shanghai branches are offering special deals on their latest addition in their savory selections. Every afternoon, TGI Friday’s offers a steak lunch set at 108 yuan, which comes with a 6-oz portion of their tender beef, a choice of side and a choice of soup or salad. On Tuesday nights after 6pm, the restaurants offer a free glass of wine with each steak dinner. So, if you’re an American craving a taste of home or if you’re simply in search of a delicious steak dinner, heading to one of the Pudong restaurants will be worth the trip.
Tel: 5830-8060 (Lujiazui branch) 5080-1652 (Chamtime Plaza branch)
Lujiazui branch: 16 Fucheng Rd, Pudong;
Chamtime Plaza branch: 1W37, 1/F, Bldg 10, Chamtime Plaza, Lane 1239, Zuchongzhi Rd
Average per person: 150 yuan Opening hours: 11am-midnight, Sunday-Thursday; 11am-1am, Friday-Saturday