My husband and I went to the Lobster Shop at 4015 Ruston Way, Tacoma WA for Father's Day Brunch. I do not know what other dining experiences others have had, but I would NOT RECOMMEND a Sunday Brunch there, given our experience. But first, there were some positives: Parking was easy in a nice big lot adjacent to the restaurant. The inside is beautiful - more upscale and modern than what's suggested on the outside of the building. The hostess greeted and seated us immediately and was very pleasant. The view of the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, Commencement Bay, and Vashon Island is stunning. All seats seemed to have a good view because of huge windows and multiple levels. Our waiter, Josh, was excellent - cleared plates quickly and unobtrusively. When he refilled my water glass, he asked if I'd like a fresh glass with fresh water, ice, and lemon slice. He brought clean napkins and silverware without being asked. He did not disappear on us. We were pleased and left a very good tip for the service.
But then there was most of the food. I know it's a brunch buffet, but on Father's Day, with the need for reservations, it's not like some cafeteria where the food sits for hours under red lamps.
A lot of the food we tried may as well have come from one of those places. On the positive side, the potatoes with horseradish gratin was delicious. The peel-and-eat shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters were all excellent (though the cocktail sauce reminded me of Pace Chunky Picante sauce - wrong texture and flavor). Though the biscuits were a little dried out, the sausage gravy was thick, peppery, and very good. The bacon and pork sausage links were standard fare. So, what wasn't good? The salmon and another fish were definitely overcooked, as were waffles - pretty hard in texture. There were two scrambled egg dishes - when I used the serving spoon to get some, it was tough and rubbery, so I passed on that. The food was oddly placed - in a double chafing dish, there was a pulled pork with barbeque sauce (but no buns, or noodles, or cornbread to go with it) and pork and beans in the other half. Next to the excellent potatoes was a dish I didn't recognize. The sign said "sweet potatoes" but these weren't. They were a white potaoto cut in slices, large chunks of onions, and a pink meat of some sort. When I asked the server what it was he said "some kind of beef." I guessed "corned beef hash?" and he said yes - that he always forgets what it's called. At the carving station, there was a very rare pork loin and an extremely rare prime rib - not much of either. I asked if they were getting more so I'd come back, and the server (the one who didn't know the hash) just shrugged that he didn't know. The few salads they had looked droopy and sad except for the marinated olive salad, which was very good. There was a lady who came back to complain that her Eggs Benedict didn't have any canadian bacon, too little Hollandaise, and that the eggs were poached hard. So I skipped that dish. My husband, who has a very tolerant palate, didn't complain, but I noticed that he did not go back for seconds - which he always does. And then there was the dessert bar. There was little imagination shown here: about 6 different cookies, 12 - 14 bars, 1 cheesecake, 1 dense chocolate cake. So, little variety. I did like the chocolate cake, and the key lime bars. And then there was a small, sad chocolate fountain. There was a small bowl of strawberries and a plain unsweeted cookie (imagine a soft Snickerdoodle without any sugar or cinnamon in or on it) for dipping. As we were finishing our meal, I noticed that the fountain was running out of chocolate, it was sputtering, not too much was cascading down, and the top spout was shaking. I counted at least 4 servers who looked at it and then just walked off. There was at least 2 more hours of service for the brunch. I didn't try it - the chocolate looked like a watered down hot chocolate made from an instant powder.
In summary, the service and views were fantastic. Some of the food was quite good, but most of it was sad, tepid, wrong temperatures, bland, unappetizing. We may try a lunch or dinner there sometime, but it's not at the top of our list, and we certainly will not return for a Brunch Buffet or any type of holiday meal.
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