Red Lobster

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I feel, this is one of those places that you have to visit at least once, as a Canadian living on the West coast. If anything just to see what the hype is all about: large portions at great prices and lobster fest. Who doesn’t feel the tiniest bit more fancy when enjoying lobster?

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It stylized as your generic family style restaurant, just with a nautical flair. Paintings of light houses, sun sets at sea, and boats docked on still waters. We sat in one of their two rooms, forked in opposite directions. All the space was certainly warranted as we were led past seated tables and a families still waiting in the lobby. The patterned upholstered booths and potted plants added a muted accent. We were given a spacious booth with a single low hanging lamp above our table, its spot light made for great food photography. Food left the kitchen pretty quick, but kids were still given placemats and crayons to colour in order to keep them patient.

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There were enough staff members scheduled to suitably attend to each party. They were easily identified by their “lobster vs lobster” themed tees, just in time to celebrate their “lobster fest” menu. A seasonal feast offering lobster centric dishes. Our server gave us the time we needed to decide and digest, and was attentive enough that we never felt the need to seek her out.

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All though still relatively full from lunch, my co traveler was feening for their unlimited and complimentary cheddar bay biscuits. A craving she couldn’t pass up during this or any visit to Seattle. These were baked fresh and came to your table warm in a basket. These crumbly savoury cakes were all the right kinds of cheesy, fluffy, and melts in your mouth goodness. You can’t go wrong with a country style cheese biscuit, and the notes of herb made them a hearty appetizer. A preferred starter over bread and butter any day.

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“Bahama Mama”. A frozen blend of tropical fruit flavours mixed with captain Morgan’s original spiced rum and topped with a splash of Barcardi select dark rum. Definitely a drink you enjoy with your eyes and mouth.

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I was upset that my guests did not take more advantage of the lobster fest that was currently running. So I went all out with their, “Ultimate Surf and Turf”. A Maine lobster tail with crab and seafood stuffing, paired with a peppercorn seasoned grilled sirloin topped with Maine lobster meat in a citrus hollandaise sauce. Served over mashed potatoes, roasted tomatoes, and green beans. I was given the option of garden or Caesar salad on the side, or paying more for soup. I passed on it all as there was already a lot of food and even more biscuits to be had. The lobster certainly hit its mark. A generous tail seasoned with melted butter, then heightened with even more seafood on top of it.

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However the steak did not meet my medium rare expectations. It came dull in colour and I could tell it was overcooked without even having to cut in. So when I did it was no surprise to see hardly any pink in the middle. They offered to prepare me a new steak, by suggesting this one be taken away. They did, but left the rest of my plate behind, all the sides waiting for a new steak. I obliged, but now had to eat my tail and veggies without it so that they wouldn’t get cold. Such food is best eat warm. Cold butter sauce and room temperature mashed potatoes? When the steak returned it was heavy in peppercorn, a taste I found overwhelming for the gently salted beans and barely seasoned whipped potato. I found the side of stewed tomatoes unappetizing in their discoloured brownish red. Salty, and half sun dried, they became a good way to balance the steak’s pepperiness with salt.

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“Lobster Pizza”. A thin crusted pizza topped with langostino lobster meat, melted mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, and sweet basil. The thin crust was chewy, and with less breading, this meant more room in my stomach for everything else. As light as it was, it made a good appetizer, but not hearty enough as the entree it was listed as. My biggest pizza gripe is when the toppings don’t adhere to the crust. And here the limp slice lost everything as it drooped. The flavour was over salted, with an overly cheesy after note. As a result you lost much of the lobster taste. It hid behind the tomato and basil that helped to keep things light, they shone through more as the stars of this dish.

My guests shared the “4 Course feast”, a great deal at $16.99. You choose from a list of soups, salads, entrees and desserts.

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“New England clam chowder”. The soup very bland, it needed excessive shakes of pepper and salt to have it palatable. The texture was watery and overly clam-y. It was like all they did was add cream to canned clam juice. A big disappointment when compared to all the thick and full bodied clam chowders I have had with actual chunks of calm.

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“Fresh Caesar salad”. Pretty standard, and as bland as the soup. But for the price I guess something’s got to give. This is the first salad I have seen being salted and peppered.

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“Wood grilled chicken with portobello wine sauce”. A very generic dish. You did get any of that wood grilled essence mentioned in the title. It tasted more pan fried. The chicken was boring and uninventive. And like those before it, this too was overly salty. The mushroom and wine sauce was muted, flavour notes that only distracted from the dish. I didn’t know you could have too much mushroom-y taste.

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After a different dessert came, we went to our server to confirm the conversation we had before. To pay a little extra for their “cake in a jar”. A couple of dollars more got us the seasonal “red velvet cake in a jar”. The usual is a strawberry short cake. But this was sumptuous layers of red velvet cake, rich cream cheese icing and mini chocolate morsels. As great as this presentation was, it was difficult to eat. Each bite required picking up the jar, tilting it on its side, and gouging what you could with your spoon. Though I was impressed that the jar was branded with “Red Lobster”. Things were really sweet thanks to the abundance of icing topped. We wished for less in exchange of more spongy and soft cake. A dessert I definitely recommend sharing.

I was impressed that their to go containers were microwavable and dishwasher safe. A great idea to get more use out of them, other than just packaging. Our bill came with suggested tip amounts at 15, 18, and 20 percent. And surprisingly they didn’t take debit, maybe just our Canadian debit?

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
The food wasn’t amazing, but at least it was decently priced. As I mentioned before this is just one of those places you have to cross off your to try list. Not everything is worth the hype, but at the prices charged I am sure you can leave happy after a four course meal. Even if its just so so. A place I wouldn’t mind dining at again, but only after I exhausted other options. Why eat at a chain when you can potentially discover a gem in a small one of establishment? Don’t deny your cravings.

RED LOBSTER
4231 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036
425-672-1137
redlobster.com
Red Lobster on Urbanspoon

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