May 17, 2016

Review: Applebee's - Cedar Salmon With Maple Mustard Glaze

Applebee's Cedar Salmon With Maple Mustard Glaze is one of the entrees in the chain's new Wood Fired Grill selection and features cedar-seasoned salmon, sauteed spinach, and maple mustard glaze.

The entree costs $14.50, but I received this courtesy of Applebee's.

The salmon came with a choice of two sides, and I went with Sweet Potato Fries and the new Fire Grilled Veggies. I originally wanted to try the new Garlicky Green Beans, but they unfortunately ran out right before I ordered.

The salmon was a good-sized filet and came sitting on the bed of sauteed spinach. The salmon had a light smokiness to it, but it wasn't terribly noticeable. I had to concentrate to detect any smoky notes. If you're used to the heavy smoke from cedar-planked salmon, this might disappoint you a little. The fish was overcooked and a little tough as a result, lacking that tender flakiness; but on the bright side, the fire grilling resulted in crispy bits on the edges and a little char that provided most of the smokiness to the dish.

The salmon itself seemed to be unsalted, which surprised me when I took my first bite. And then I grabbed a little spinach and very quickly realized why the fish was unsalted. The spinach was unbearably salty, to the point that I literally felt like I was eating a forkful of table salt and it made me gag a little. I don't know if the cook accidentally knocked over an entire salt shaker on my spinach or if this was by design, but it thoroughly ruined my enjoyment of the meal.

The Maple Mustard Glaze came in a separate cup, which I was grateful for as it was a little too sweet for my taste. The sauce was primarily sweet with just a little bit of tang. There were mustard seeds clearly visible in the sauce, but I tasted none of the expected bite. The sweetness of the glaze did help cancel out (or perhaps mask) some of the saltiness of the spinach, though.

The Fire Grilled Veggies were fairly standard. There was a nice garlic note to the vegetables, but they were undersalted. The texture of the vegetables depends entirely on how they were cut. For example, the thick cut of the zucchini meant that it maintained some firmness from the grilling, whereas the other vegetables were somewhat mushy. I wouldn't get it again if given the choice.

The Sweet Potato Fries are just a touch thicker cut than I'm used to seeing them, which provided a little more potato texture and flavor. They were still decently crispy and held up well throughout the meal without drying out.

Overall, I wasn't a fan of the Cedar Salmon With Maple Mustard Glaze. I found the dish to be just too much. The Maple Mustard Glaze was too sweet with not enough mustard kick, and the salmon simply didn't have enough of that woodsy flavor for my taste. But most decisively, I found it almost impossible to enjoy the dish due to the over-salted spinach. If I were to get seafood again on the new Wood Fired Grill menu, I'd go with the plain Cedar Grilled Salmon instead. I think all of the accoutrements detract from the smoky flavor that highlights the chain's new use of wood-fired grills.

By Renee.

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