Yes, it's a chain restaurant in a suburb, but my first visit to a Houlihan's was actually very pleasant. My husband, friend, and 6-year-old son decided to check it out for lunch after a shopping expedition in torrential rain. The place was welcoming and warm. Lots of wood and cozy booths, it had an Irish feel about it. My friend had the baked potato soup. It was thick and rich without being wallpaper pasty (you know what I mean) with bacon and shredded cheddar on top. Substantial and perfect for a cool and rainy autumn day. My husband and I both opted for the special which was Creole scallops. Usually we each order something different and share but it sounded so darn good we were afraid we'd be sparring with our forks. The dish lived up to the server's recommendations. Seven jumbo sea scallops, grilled and spiced well, were set atop a pilaf of perfectly done rice and grilled red onions and red and green pepper strips in subtle Cajun spiced cream sauce. Think slow burn. A topping of black beans set it off deliciously. Their grilled garlic bread was fabulous. Charred around the edges, it reeked of garlic and butter and was sprinkled with fresh parsley. I'm gonna crave that stuff! At $13.99, it was a bit much for a Saturday lunch, but I've got about 2 pounds of rice left for snacking tomorrow! A good treat after raking leaves.
The kid's menu offered the usual stuff. For $4.95 my son had a beverage, celery and carrots with ranch dressing, mac and cheese and a hot fudge sundae.
All in all, a good experience. Can it be there's a chain with a brain?
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