Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Red Lobster

Today was the last day of school. Kindergarten? Done. First Grade? Done. Any hope of me regaining my sanity in, say...the next 80 days? Nada.

J and I decided to take the kids to dinner to celebrate the beginning of summer break. At Red Lobster. I don't know why.

J didn't think he'd been to Red Lobster in 20 years. Since a double date in college. Yep, that's my man - taking girls to Red Lobster. Smoooooth, that one.

I haven't been since a co-worker's craving for cheddar biscuits took us there more than 10 years ago (and hadn't been before that in probably another 10+ years). But Red Lobster was always my favorite as a child - so I thought my kids would love it. Fried everything. What's not to love?

My love for Red Lobster, though, is gone. A moment that has passed. A piece of nostalgia that cannot be created.

Two reasons. First, the food. I'm sure it was never particularly great - but breaded and fried popcorn shrimp dredged in cocktail sauce and/or tartar sauce was the most delicious, exotic, wonderful meal I ever tasted at age 8. And the hush puppies? Please tell me you remember the hush puppies - deep fried cornmeal fritters that were the second-most delicious, exotic, wonderful food I ever tasted at age 8.

They still have the popcorn shrimp (though it was served with ketchup, which is just wrong). The little shrimps still rock - but I was too embarrassed to order the adult portion so I just stole them off of my kids' plates. But they don't have hush puppies on the menu at all. A mother-f'ing tragedy is what it is.

And the menu was full of grilled and broiled fish and shellfish. Like fried food is bad for you or something. Oh, the fried platters were still there - but they push all of the more healthy items at you and make you feel like an asshole if you order the clam strips.

My second Red Lobster complaint: the decor. Back in the day, my mom used to take my sister and I to Red Lobster if my dad was out of town on business (he is allergic to shellfish). It was several towns over and a big night out. And it was an event to even walk in the joint. Dark wood, very nautical and Davey Jones-y, fishing nets, diving helmets, portholes, wooden lobster traps, red vinyl booths and chair seats. The lobster tank front and center by the hostess stand - huge and sitting on a dark wood paneled stand.

Now? The decor is like Applebee's or even a bad hotel restaurant with painted iron fish art. Totally blows the experience.

Red Lobster? We won't be back - though you probably don't care judging from the number of people who were waiting for tables (I am not kidding) when we left. Scary.

No comments:

Post a Comment