I didn’t know too much about the event until we actually got to the restaurant. Ms. Munchie told me we’d be meeting with some Red Lobster reps and the head chef, but other than that, I wasn’t too sure of what we’d be experiencing. Turns out we ended up having a lovely little tour of the newly remodeled restaurant and a menu tasting of some of the items on the updated Red Lobster menu. Which, I am happy to note, includes many tasty new options that do NOT feature 2-3 inches of greasy deep-fried batter or gallons of melted butter with my fish or shrimp. Not that this is what has kept me away from Red Lobster all these years, but it is something that makes me shy away from ordering seafood when I go out. I think it’s a shame to hide such things in butter & batter. Anyway, the event was a way for Red Lobster to reach out to the public and show that they’ve stepped up their game with new items and fresh flavor combinations that you wouldn’t necessarily think Red Lobster would offer.
After being introduced to Red Lobster PR reps, Erica and Kate, Chef Michael LaDuke, head chef of Red Lobster (the entire chain, not just the one on Howe Avenue. You might know him: he’s been a judge on tiny little shows like Iron Chef and The Next Food Network Star, not to mention the rest of his awesome resume which includes being the head chef of Disney’s Epcot center. Yeah… Chef Michael knows his stuff.), as well as Julia of Jogging My Memory, we sat down and enjoyed some drinks while we got to know each other through some fun foodie questions like, “What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?” (You’ll all be proud to know I actually did NOT choose cheese as my first choice, lol.)
Overall, it was a really fun experience and a nice way to reintroduce Red Lobster into my vocabulary. Not that I was as anti-RL as Catherine & Julia had been before this event (my tastes run from the most humble little tamale vendor outside of Big Lots to Top of the Mark in San Francisco, so I don’t discriminate too much!), but I really had written the place off because it had just gotten too boring. Chef Michael LaDuke’s talent is definitely an asset and a secret weapon, as I’m sure this will force other chain restaurants to start stepping up their game as well. And though it’s not something I can afford to do regularly, the next time I’m in the area with some disposable income I think I will make it a point to stop by Red Lobster and enjoy some of the dishes we tried, particularly the appetizers. Because the portions are so generous, you really can go the budget route and have a perfectly satisfying meal made of appetizers without going completely broke.
Or just go in for the Molten Chocolate Chip Cookie. That’s a balanced meal, isn’t it? 😉