I am not a seafood eater. Something about things that have the word 'crust' included in them makes my tummy turn, but I am a sucker for deep fried Perch. I have tried just about every place that sells swimming things to obtain this goal and find the old Red Lobster is the one. I hadn't eaten there for several years and decided to stop in tonight on my way home from an appointment.
My, my how the Lobster has changed. The atmosphere is much friendlier and the servers much nicer. In the past I found the wait time always a little bothersome, but this evening arriving at 5:30 - generally a bad time - found the wait only about 10 minutes, barely enough time for me to down my first Tequila Sunrise! The general restaurant clean and neat, servers and buss-people actually smiling. The bathroom (after 10 years in the plumbing business I still to this day check out all bathrooms) was clean, well stocked and maintained.
Being single, and eating alone most of the time, I often find restaurants tend to snub us loners - especially women - as if we are constantly waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. Usually when they finally decide you are going to be the entire party, they generally set you at some tiny little table in the corner. No room to spread out your meal or prop up your book - which I always have with me. Lobster gave me a booth. An entire booth all to myself. Ah, heaven! Surprisingly (laughingly) the couple they sat after me got that two-seater table but I figured, hey - that was their problem. I had a booth.
The server was prompt. My salad and rolls arrived along with my drink, I opened my book and went to town. They did not rush out with the main course but timed it correctly. I had been finished with my entire salad and enjoyed a cigarette before they brought on the Perch. Usually I find you barely get into the salad and they are dropping off the entree - leaving you with the decision to eat the really good stuff (entree) or what is good for you (salad).
The meal was presented properly on real plates. I appreciate a real china plate and real silverware. Not that I am a snob, I just like good things. Granted, it was Fiestaware, but that added to the fun of the meal. In addition, they served those baby carrots and corn on the cob. I could eat those little guys all night, they are so tasty - probably aren't good for you since they are so tasty!
The Perch was cooked properly - slightly crunchy but entirely flaky - no heavy fish flavor, little lemon on the side. But the potato! Oh Honey, the potato! I vowed right then I would give my soul to the Devil for that potato! What is it they do to that guy? I had forgotten just how much I loved the potato at Red Lobster. Is it the rock salt? No stinching on the butter either, which, of course, is the real reason anyone ever eats baked potatoes in the first place.
My server checked by twice to make sure I was doing OK but seeing I was in the throes of bliss went on her way. She brought my refill drink promptly and wonder of wonders, actually brought the check when I asked for it. In addition, she did not ask the inevitable - "Oh, do you want your change back?". This statement will immediately cancel any tip I was considering for the service.
As a side note, not that this concerned me (untruth, it really did concern me - I was envious), but they had two really cute guys wandering around entertaining the children while the little ones were waiting for their meals. They did magic tricks and made balloon animals. How do they make those animals? And truthfully, I really did want one of them but of course would never consider asking :)