Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tuesday Nights: Red Lobster

Towards the end of  one year, my friends thought that we weren't hanging out enough. It's true, we weren't. So they started Tuesday night get-togethers. Every Tuesday, we'll pick a bar to drink, eat, and hang out for a couple of hours. Whoever can make it will attend. If you're busy, it's okay. There's always next week. So this is Tuesday Nights on Tasty Eating where you will find bars that serve food and how we like them.

On this recent Tuesday Night, we headed out to: Red Lobster
Once a year, we spend a Tuesday night wearing ugly sweaters to an establishment we would never bat an eyelash to. Last year we went to Olive Garden. This year, we went to Red Lobster. Chain restaurant is always a key factor.

When we arrived, we waited a little bit for our whole party to be seated. But that's always the case for large parties. We were 7 people. When we were finally called on the buzzer, we took the elevator up and were seated at a 6 top booth. What? We were really cramped and they offered to put a chair at the end of the booth but that meant being bumped into every time someone needed to walk by. Luckily, our friend spotted a round table about to be finished and asked if we could sit there. Thankfully, the hostess said yes.
As we sat and chatted over the menus, we decided to split some appetizers but get our own entrees. We sat around and waited for the waitress for awhile until she introduced herself and took our full orders including drinks. Once we ordered, the waitress came by with a basket of cheddar bay biscuits. These are the biscuits that everyone has been talking about. I have never eaten at a Red Lobster so this was my first experience. I tried the biscuit and was not impressed. It wasn't very cheesy and actually was a bit dense. I would prefer a Pilsbury biscuit over this. For our big party, she came over with another basket of biscuits but it went untouched.
Shortly after the biscuits, our appetizers came to the table. Luckily we decided to share as these portions were humongous. These were made for 6 people to share. Perfect for our sized party. We started with the crispy calamari and vegetables ($12). Unfortunately, the squid was overcooked and rubbery. The broccoli, however, was crispy yet soft on the inside. It was surprisingly good. There were also red bell peppers but I didn't try any as they were scarce. I went without the accompanying marinara and ranch sauce as well.
We also tried an order of the onion rings ($8) which were too bready and fried too much. I didn't enjoy these. The accompanying jalapeno ranch sauce wasn't very good either. Too watery and not spicy at all. Pass.
And lastly, we had the shrimp nachos ($13) which wasn't very good either. The tortilla chips were greasy and not piled evenly throughout the plate. We found a stack of chips that was uncovered by any of the sauce. In fact, we found the toppings to be really lacking. Very little shrimp, pico de gallo, and jalapenos. We hardly touched these at all. This was the worst of the three appetizers.
Shortly after the appetizers came out, the salads came out. All of our entrees came with a salad (caesar or house salad) with the choice of your own dressing. This was a mediocre mix of vegetables. Mostly fresh but too many croutons and the dressing wasn't tossed. Just poured into the middle.
As we ate our salads and continued to pick on the appetizers, the entrees came out. The timing of the food was terrible. We pretty much hurriedly ate our salads to make room for our entrees. The waitress hardly made an effort to clear off the plates that were already on the table until we actually didn't have any room left. For my entree, I had the special trio with garlic shrimp scampi, skewered shrimp, and a split Maine lobster tail. I couldn't really tell the difference between the two shrimp dishes. One was covered in a buttery sauce and the other was buttery as well. They probably brushed butter on top. The shrimp itself wasn't very good quality. You can tell that it was previously frozen. They were water logged and basically the texture was not there. The lobster was severely overcooked. It was really difficult to remove the meat from the shell. As for the sides of fries and broccoli, they were both pretty bad. The fries weren't fried until crisp while the inside was a bit mealy. The broccoli was completely overcooked and mushy.
Some of my friends ordered the 4 course feast and so their dinners came with desserts as well. We all shared them because we were so full by the end. The desserts were triple brownie a la mode, apple crostada with caramel drizzle, and key lime pie. The brownie came with ice cream with severe freezer burn. I could hear the ice crystals chipping away as we drove our spoons into it. The only thing I tasted was the key lime pie. It was terrible. It tasted so artificial and like plastic that I actually spit out the bite I took. It was that bad. And as we were paying for our bill, our friend found a piece of plastic in the brownie. Yuck. At that point, the bill was paid and we were on our way out.

We left Red Lobster completely stuffed with the feeling of bricks in our stomachs. It was uncomfortable. It wasn't the amount of food we ate. It was more like the quality of the food. I truly believe you'll feel crappy if you eat crappy food. It just makes sense to me. In the end, with the service and the food, I wouldn't go back. There's nothing that would make me want to.

Red Lobster
5 Times Square
New York, NY 10036
(212) 730-6706


  1. This is both hilarious (the sweaters) and disturbing (all the food), but now I remember your tweet about the cheddar bay biscuit.

    I like how you have such a tradition, but seriously, I'd never go to a chain seafood restaurant, ever. I value my health, and I think the last time I ate seafood out of the house I had an allergic reaction which caused me to get all blotchy and itchy.

  2. Fortunately, it seems Red Lobster even understands that people don't want their seafood all that much, and have added lots of non-seafood options to their menu.

    That doesn't mean I'll be going there any time soon myself, but yikes - the Sysco is strong with this review!

  3. Yay, Red Lobster! It's been a while since I've eaten it but never in the city. Boooooooo to it being in Times Square though. My friends have had bad experiences with that location...from the horrible service to someone stealing their CC info. No thanks.

    Nice holiday tradition.


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