SBARRO’S is Delicious & CAJUN GRILL is Disgusting at Union Station, DC
Washington DC’s Union Station has tons of great eating options for travelers and commuters lucky enough to pass through the historic and beautiful train depot, located right off of Capitol Hill. Restaurants, luxe stores, and a food court make Union Station a mini-mall. It’s a must-stop for DC visitors and residents and there’s something for everyone, except for the downstairs movie theater I grew up with that has since been replaced with the 50′s-inspired burgers and shake chain Johnny Rockets.
And while Union Station may be great for a layover or an afternoon visit, this past Saturday, I found myself stranded inside Gate D after my 730am Amtrak train to NYC was cancelled due to Friday night’s storm. The day started off well as I had an apple and some Starbucks coffee. But by 9am, my stomach growled and I hit up McDonald’s for a Southern Chicken Biscuit (no hash brown). From then on, I was doomed.
The first stop up was the Chinese inspired Cajun Grill, located in the downstairs food court that also plays host to fried chicken spot Bojangles, numerous pizzerias, Subway, Taco Bell and others. As an intern for the nearby CNN bureau in the summer of 1998, I used to love to swing by Union Station for lunch for the New Orlean’s style Bourbon Chicken. I loved the savory, tender, and juicy chicken bits on top of fried rice. But boy oh boy, how my palette has changed.
The food at Cajun Grill pretty much looks and tastes the same, however, what I could not decipher at 18, I can distinctly identify today. The chunks of various parts of the supposed chicken were fatty and beyond greasy. The rice was well-seasoned, but heavy and standard. The corn was ok, but but after downing the entire thing, due to starvation and not knowing if I’d make it back to NYC or what the day would unfold, I felt bloated, disgusted and fat. The meal was decently served and thank goodness Cajun Grill was not overly generous. The dish costs about $7 after tax, but it was a total disappointment. And I love greasy food, but Cajun Grill is just unidentified meat, glazed with sauce that in actuality is an oily, slimy, and dense meal that sits in your stomach like a thud for hours after. This place was so bad, I refuse to insert a link, because I just don’t want to do that to you!
To make matters worse, the service at Cajun Grill was rude and rushed… They only wanted my money and didn’t care about customer service. I asked to try a piece of the lemon honey chicken, and after scouring the meat, the woman (without a hair net) toothpicked the smallest piece and immediately continued to beg other passerbys to stop by and try their “world famous” chicken!
Thank goodness for SBARRO’S! The popular Italian eatery revived my faith in good ole Union Station and more than 8 hours later, I found myself with an appetite again, still waiting on a departing train to NYC.
Located on Union Station’s street level of the Amtrak Concourse, Sbarro’s offers everything from pizza to pasta, salads to desserts. One could eat healthy at Sbarros, but with the day I was having, I just made Saturday my cheat day and treated myself.
The slices of pizza at Sbarro’s are large and in charge. I started with a hot pepperoni slice that was generously topped with meat and cheese! It was hot, it was gooey, it was everything a non-NY slice should be!
I finished with a stuffed sausage, pepperoni and bacon slice! Double crusted on the top and bottom, this pizza was layered like lasagna and was just as satisfying, if not better. I dipped it in Sbarro’s creamy garlic sauce (meant for salads), and it was hearty, piquant, and creative! I had never had a slice of pizza like this and devoured every sinfully delicious bite as if it were the last time I would.
I grew up on Sbarro’s pizza in DC. They are scattered throughout NYC and the rest of the country as well, and they rarely, if ever disappoint. They are one pizza chain that can easily satisfy that pizza desire with multiple choices with true American-Italian flare.
Have you ever been to Union Station? What’s your favorite spot there? Any other Cajun Grill reviews or comments? What about Sbarros?
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