Visited the newly opened Red Lobster this past Saturday following an event in Pudong. I've been to other Red Lobster's establishments all of which were in the USA, Roswell in Georgia, Times Square NY and Miami in Florida and they were all pretty much of a muchness in the way the operated and offering of food geared to North American tastes, deep fried food, large portions with lots of doggie bags to go, a concept I have never quite understood.
Red Lobster's recently opened incarnation in Shanghai could be viewed as the best one so far, but then again, it’s operated under a JV partnership with a company that does business in Asia that already knows the ropes somewhat.
The restaurant is tucked away down a corridor next to the Butchers Club, that had a couple of diners in at 17h30 on Saturday, whereas Red Lobster had plenty of families dining, we were seated in no time, offered the menus and away we go.
Started off with some tepid water, so no upselling of fancy waters at Red Lobster ordered two glasses of Santa Mia Sauvignon blanc, great price points and not a bad drop for your average Chilean Sauvignon blanc.
Ordered the following dishes:
Lobster Bisque: Sadly, lacked punch, to my mind just a creamy soup with bits of lobster inside.
New England Clam Chowder: what can be said actually not a bad drop of soup, I have had better and worse, despite the image on the corporate style colourful printed menu having saltines crackers these were not served as a worldwide standard accompaniment.
Golden Calamari: I am glutton for punishment, and on a continual quest for the holy grail of deep-fried calamari, there are only a couple of places in the world that my travels have taken me that I have actually had consistently good calamari, and Red Lobster Shanghai was not one of them, it seemed as if the remnants of the deep fat fryer were shovelled up onto the dish.
Chesapeake Crab Cake: Blue swimming crab cakes, never knew crab cakes could swim, these non-swimming crab cakes lacked depth, not golden enough nor crisp either rather bland in flavour.
New England Roll: Warm, sweet live lobster meat served in a toasted brioche bun, made from live Maine lobsters. The dish was actually decorated with the carcass of a Spiny lobster part of the Palinuridae family, nothing to do with a clawed lobster species that frequent the waters off of Maine.
Overall the food ticked the boxes off the cookie cutter style of menu, however, if this food review were a school report three dishes definitely require work and remedial attention needed.
The service from the waiters that served the food was friendly and efficient even if the dishes were served out of ordering sequence from the initial order that was placed, the corn biscuits (soda bread) were served the same time as the New England Roll, surely, they should have been served with the soup.
The background music was a little too loud for what was supposed to be background music, and certainly the wrong mix of music for the venue and time of the evening.
Damages for the evening for two pax with four glasses of very reasonably priced wines by the glass came to 632RMB in total
Would I return, definitely not, would I recommend I would have to say yes, just to say you have been to a Red Lobster restaurant, even on the Dark Side of the city, and in a basement shopping mall?
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