I decided to take my brother out to dinner for his 70th birthday when I visited him in Sebring, Fl. I asked him where he wanted to go and he didn't hesitate and said Red Lobster. We visited on a Wednesday evening about 6Pm and were told the wait was about 30 minutes. It was more like 45. When we were seated we noted a fair number of empty tables. I believe that they didn't have enough help for a Wednesday evening. I ate at Red Lobster in Atlanta decades ago and was thoroughly unimpressed. I am used to Maine Lobster and got Rock lobster back then. I hadn't returned since. Well, I was a bit surprised at my experience in Sebring in February, 2013. We both ordered a drink, a bahama mama, $7.50 and a lobsterita (a frozen strawberry margarita) $8.50. The lobsterita was truly impressive! We decided to share an appetizer and ordered lobster and crab stuffed mushrooms, $8.50, which were very good. My brother ordered a Lobster Lovers’ Dream which is a Maine Lobster Tail, a rock lobster tail and lobster and shrimp linguini Alfredo, about $20. I tasted his lobster tails and found the rock lobster a bit tough (which is normal compared to a Maine lobster). I also found the Maine lobster was a bit overcooked. My brother indicated the lobster and shrimp linguini lacked very much lobster. He did indicate that the dinner was very tasty. I had the Bar Harbor Lobster Bake, about $21, which consisted of a Maine lobster tail, scallops, shrimp, mussels and linguini in garlic and white wine sauce which looked more like an Alfredo sauce. Again, my lobster tails were a bit overcooked, but the meal in general was quite tasty. What disappointed me was that 4 of the 8 mussels came out un-opened. When shell fish are cooked properly, any that don’t open should be discarded as they may have been dead or otherwise not something you should eat. I mentioned it to our waitress and she agreed that the kitchen should not have sent them out. She comp’d me my drink which I felt was more than fair. To be fair, I know how to cook Maine lobster very well. It would be a challenge for any restaurant but the best down-east restaurants to match my own lobster. I have to give it to Red Lobster, they have come a long way since I tried them decades ago. The food was much better and the service was excellent. The serving size was more than adequate and the prices were reasonable. Currently there are no Red Lobster restaurants in Massachusetts and Maine, probably because Red Lobster would find it difficult to compete against the enormous number of restaurants serving Maine lobster. But, if you want a pretty decent meal at a fair price, I think I would give Red Lobster a try. By the way, a “Bar Harbor Lobster Bake” would consist of steamed, soft shelled clams, steamed (or boiled) lobster, and corn on the cob if you had it in Bah Habah, Maine. And if it was on a beach, the steaming would be done using hot coals under seaweed in a sand pit. Ayeyup!
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