You can take a girl out of America but you can’t take America out of a girl.
Sometimes you just want something that reminds you of home. And what’s more quintessentially American than Denny’s?
I grew up with Denny’s. I went to college with Denny’s. I’ve burned many the midnight oil at Denny’s. This 24-hour, always-open, late-night diner is the place to go when you’re in the middle of a long-term paper that’s due the next day and you just happen to have an impulsive craving for breakfast at 3am in the morning. (Some might call it procrastinating.)
And they’ve recently opened not one, but two branches of Denny’s in Dubai. The first branch opened in September in the Al Ghurair Centre and the flagship branch opened in Al Manara in December in the same building as Bertin Bistro, alongside a strip of eateries including another old-school American chain, Olive Garden, plus a host of other outlets such as Crumbs Elysee, Jones the Grocer and Reem Al Bawadi.
You always know what to expect at Denny’s. Clearly, this is not the place to go for a fine dining experience or a frou frou meal or a gourmet sandwich. You go for the all-day breakfast, fried snacks and sandwiches, and bottomless coffee.
So does Dubai’s Denny’s live up to its iconic reputation?
I must admit, I was really craving a Chicken-Fried Steak. But it seems this is one item that didn’t make it across the Atlantic. Nor did the unsweetened iced tea, so the below is Lipton Peach.
But no matter. We started with a half portion of Zesty Nachos. The tortilla chips are supposedly cooked to order and came with pepper jack queso cheese sauce, shredded cheddar, a minced beef chili, fresh pico de gallo, and a dollop of sour cream. These nachos were more beefy than cheesy, and to be fair, looked pretty similar to the photo in the menu. The pico de gallo (with fresh tomato, onions and green peppers) gave a nice fresh crunch. Well, we polished off the plate!
We also shared the Build Your Own Sampler with Mozzarella Cheese Sticks and Chicken Strips. Chicken Strips are always one of my go-to options at Denny’s. They were served with my favourite American condiment, ranch dressing, and had a bit of a Zinger-like spice. They seemed to have less crunchy coating than they did in the photo in the menu, but they still hit the spot. In fact, two between two was too few.
The mozzarella sticks were exactly as I would expect them to be – the melted cheese was chewy and stretchy, yet didn’t slip out of the breaded coating with the first bite. They were served with barbecue sauce. (That part I wasn’t expecting as I usually eat them with marinara.)
When I think of Denny’s, I think of Moons Over My Hammy, the Denny’s classic named after the 1930s song. Once upon a time, this sandwich was two sunny-side up eggs over ham with melted American cheese on sourdough – but in Dubai it’s turkey ham, and, now, the world over, it’s scrambled egg. Served alongside a flat pancake of crunchy hashbrowns. This is the Denny’s taste that I remember. Salty, crunchy, breakfast-y. Perfect to satisfy your any-time-of-day breakfast cravings.
Mr. S opted for the Sirloin Steak and Eggs. You obviously can’t expect a Wagyu but let’s just say there’s a reason Denny’s isn’t known for steak.
We finished with a Caramel Apple Crisp and a bottomless cup of coffee. The desserts even more than anything else evoked memories of classic American diner. The only thing missing was the uniformed waitress walking around with a pot of coffee.
Verdict: Almost like the real deal, with the exception of chicken-fried steak and pork, of course. Perfect for your late-night breakfast cravings.
Note to self: Stay up all night, pretend you’re writing a term paper, and crank up the indie folk rock for maximum nostalgia value.
Sheikh Zayed Road
Opposite Times Square
Chow for now!