Monday, January 18, 2010

Restaurant Review: Rainforest Cafe

Rainforest Cafe
Burlington, MA

There are many Rainforest
Cafes around the country
and the world. Every
January, one of our
nephews (the kids' cousins)
has his birthday dinner at
the Rainforest Cafe at the
Burlington Mall. Even now
that he is a teenager, this
is his choice destination.

The appeal is obvious.
The surroundings are
unique and entertaining,
and if your kids aren't
vegetarian, then the
kids menu will feed them
CHEAPLY. But they have
to make money, right?
So the adult entrees stick it to you. And if you are vegetarian, then your choices are limited. If you are vegan, well, forget about getting out of there on a budget, because there is nothing vegan on the children's menu.

Kids like Maia and
Nate can just share
off a grownup meal.
Maia was more inter-
ested in running around
checking out the many
tropical fish tanks
anyhow, saying "weesh!"

There used to be more vegetarian fare available years ago, but now vegan choices on the menu are pretty limited. You can order the veggie burger (and fries cost $1.29 EXTRA) for $10.99, but make sure to ask them to hold the sauce because it's made with mayo. The burger itself is actually pretty tasty--you can see Ryan yumming it up. But still, what a rip off for the money. The guacamole on top was browning upon arrival, the fries barely warm.

To be fair, the menus vary by region. But the menu at our nearby location is HUGE, yet it is almost entirely meat and seafood. Rainforest friendly? Um, no. Okay, maybe if rainforest animals were on the menu (alligator sausage, monkey brains, etc) then the moniker would make some sense.

But visit the massive gift shop (you can't avoid it since you have to pass through it to enter the restaurant) and you'll see that the message is all about rainforest animals as friends, saving the rainforest, etc. So you'd expect some environmentally friendly, local, vegan or "healthy" foods on the menu in my opinion. Not so much.

The Rainforest Cafe is all about pleasing the average Amercian palate and clientele, in a Disney-like "wild" environment. We enjoy our annual visit there, but it's not somewhere we go regularly for a good family meal.

This Rainforest Cafe is located inside the Burlington Mall (section B, lower level, between Nordstrom and Macy's), 781-272-7555. The Burlington Mall is located on the Middlesex Turnpike, near the intersection of route 3 and route 95 (128).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My son LOVES the Rainforest Cafe but I hate going there because of their menu. Not only do they not have many vegetarian options, they also don't think about cross contamination (food allergies.)

When we go, I ALWAYS ask to talk to the manager. I end up getting special orders and always at kids' menu prices. (I make sure to tell them that my son can't eat what's on the kids menu and "What can they do for me.")