Novi, MI and all over North America
Review by Rosie
From previous experience, we knew to hustle out there ASAP in order to beat the Friday evening Lenten dinner crowd, for others also use this religious season as an excuse to eat here. The parking lot was crowded, but not quite as full as it could be. So our goal of beating the rush was successful only a ten minute wait to be seated, and that passed quickly as we admired the fish in the large tank in the waiting area. And we got to say, "Hello," and "Goodbye," to Larry the Lobster, who was selected from the lobster tank and met his destiny to become a happy diner's main course.
Once we were seated, the waiter came quickly to take our drink and appetizer order. We opted for Boston Iced Tea, a housebrew containing tea augmented with the tang of cranberry juice; we also ordered Dr. Pepper and chocolate milk, which appeared in a trice. The "Feature of the Month" was LobsterFest (you might have seen it advertised during your favorite TV shows) so we decided to forego our favorite and usual order of stuffed mushrooms to try the appetizer special: Fiesta Lobster Rolls. These were also brought quickly and kept us occupied while our entrées were prepared.
The Fiesta Lobster Rolls were presented on a bed of crisp and salty tortilla strips and looked like miniature fried egg rolls with that crispy skin, but the filling leaned more toward what we Americans would associate with Mexico, rather than the Orient. The lobster meat blended nicely with a creamy Monterey Jack cheese, black beans, corn, and a light amount of cayenne pepper. The accompaniments, ranch dressing and chopped tomatoes, complemented the rolls nicely.
The youngest Hutlet happily munched on the Kids' Menu order of popcorn shrimp and french fries, until TeenWook snuck a coconut shrimp bite onto her plate. Hutlet is a picky eater and opted for a dramatic rendering of a minor gag attack, and suffered immediate censure. The remainder of us ordered from the "Create Your Own Seafood Feast" portion of the regular menu, where one could choose two items: TeenWook chose shrimp scampi and the aforementioned coconut shrimp bites (party because it was a desired item and partly to tease the Wooklet). Yours Truly selected teriyaki glazed salmon and shrimp scampi. It all looked very appetizing, and we were sorry we forgot the cameras!
As is required, the scampi shrimp were dripping in a potent garlic butter (great for dipping bread and biscuits into!), but we love garlic and as a bonus, we knew we would have nothing to fear from any vampires lurking nearby that night ... The coating on the coconut shrimp had some sort of hot bite to them, probably a Caribbean spice blend. Teriyaki glazed salmon is common in chain restaurants and highly variable in quality, but at Red Lobster, where they specialize in seafood for the common man, they get it right even though they're a chain.
With a choice of soup or salad to accompany the main dish, we chose salads: one garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and one Caesar salad. There was nothing notable about the salads other than the fact that the diners switched salads after they were brought to the table. The vinaigrette was not what the TeenWook had expected, thus the switcharoo for the standard Caesar dressing salad. The Caesar was probably not house-made, but it was quite piquant, and very pleasant. (A tip be sure to ask for dressing "on the side" ... that way, if you don't like it, you can share someone else's dressing, or ask the nice waiter for another dressing.)
Red Lobster is a chain and isn't in the same league as some of the seafood restaurants recently reviewed by Hutties lucky enough to live close to "fancy" places. But we highly recommend it, as we have never yet been disappointed by the quality of the food or service. To make it more pleasant an experience, do as we did and avoid the long wait to be seated by getting there ahead of the dinner rush especially during Lent. (By "early" we mean like 4:45pm; certainly before 5pm or you'll suffer a much longer wait. At this location, the line was out the door by 5!)
This dinner was just the fillip we needed and we will go back, and not just for Lent. (At the very least, will have to go back to get some photos of the food and the lobster tank!)
Logo image from www.redlobster.com
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