• John Boccellari

RED LOBSTER PARAMUS, NJ


(LOGO PROVIDED VIA GOOGLE)

I remember as a child, my parents would take my sisters and I out to Red Lobster for my birthday. We would all enjoy lobster tails and my father would have the staff sing happy birthday to me. I have great memories of Red Lobster from back then. But then we suddenly stopped going to Red Lobster and we would get my birthday lobster tails elsewhere. I don't know why the change happened, but I had never asked. I was a kid, I just cared about eating a good lobster tail and didn't mind where it came from.

I know that for some time, the chain had gotten a bad reputation along the line. I remember about 10 years ago, I visited one in central New Jersey and received less then stellar service and sub par food. I began to see where the reputation was coming from as this ended up being the case whenever I spoke to people about them. I have had a few visits in the past few years and I have felt that they had become better, but not quite what I remember as a child. Did my most recent visit fare any better?

I know spoke about the image above on Instagram, but I just had to tell the story again just as a way to raise awareness. See as I began to order my lunch at the bar, a man came in to pick up his take out order. The man then asked how the Long Island Iced Tea was and the bartender naturally said, "Best in the area." She made him the drink and then he asked for it to go. Okay did you all catch that? HE ASKED FOR IT TO GO. Of course the bartender did not accommodate the man. In fact she gave me the drink at no charge because I told her to just give it to me and add it to my check. But the man had no idea that his request was not out of the norm. I had to tell him how taking the Long Island Iced Tea in a TO GO cup was not only illegal for him to do but also for the establishment. I told him that by taking it to go and possibly drinking it while he was driving not only put himself and other drivers at risk, but it also put the restaurant at risk of losing it's liquor license and having criminal charges brought up on them. He had no idea. He apologized to the bartender and to me and left. I just want to raise awareness of how there are some people out there that are completely ignorant to liquor laws and safety. By the way, he admitted that he was going to drink it as he drove and that he has done so in the past. I also want to make it clear that the bartender did the right thing in this situation, I only acted as back up for her.

This is the Bar Harbor Lobster Bake. It has Lobster Tails, Shrimp, Scallops and Mussels over a bed of Linguine with a Garlic Butter Sauce and chopped Tomatoes. All of the seafood was cooked perfectly in this dish. However, the linguine was way over cooked. It was like mush in my mouth. Did I expect the linguine to be cooked to a perfect al dente? No, I didn't. But I expected it not to be completely ruined from overcooking. It's a good thing I ate the seafood first as I stopped eating once I bit into the pasta. The sauce was exactly what I wrote it was. Garlic and Butter. Lots of it. I repeated the sauce for a full day to my discomfort. Next time, I'll just stick with the seafood and stay away from the pasta. I just wanted to see what Red Lobster offers for a pasta dish.

This is the Warm Chocolate Chip Lava Cookie. I didn't do anything special when taking the photo because I wanted to show how this dessert was presented. Maybe my expectations are too high, but I have high standards and expect a plate to look like the picture. This just looks like it was thrown on the plate. I would have liked to have taken a picture showing the chocolate oozing out of the center of the cookie, but I was again disappointed. The cookie was not heated properly and I ended up with a chunk of chocolate in the center instead of the warm and smooth "chocolate lava." It still tasted good, but I expected better.

Service during my visit was great. This is one area that I cannot say anything bad about. The bartender stayed engaged in conversation. She kept a good paced of service. I just wish that my meal itself went better. Sadly to say, Red Lobster left me disappointed. I have still did not get the type of quality I remember when I was young.

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