Sake Gumi

It was my birthday yesterday!!! I know, I know- when you were little and imagined life at 29, you always wanted to be single, jobless and living with mom and dad. I'm making dreams come true over here!

So how could I have lived these last 29 years never having stepped foot into a Red Lobster? BLASPHEMY! I hang my head in shame- I can't possibly call myself a legitimate food blogger when I have never had one of their famed cheddar biscuits, can I? No way, jose. Plus, their commercials of gleaming lobsters and perfectly-lit shrimp scampi always makes me drool a little. Don't deny it!

Last night changed all of this. When my bff Solmaz asked me last week where I wanted to go for my bday dinner, there was only one place that came to mind. You go it. Luckily, Solmaz is the best ever and said, "Whatever you want, sugar. It's your day." What a sweetheart. Plus I'm sure she was secretly happy that I didn't say Manresa, or somewhere super posh like that.

Wait, but Red Lobster isn't POSH??? Think again. No really, the decor is super hokey, complete with aquatic themed upholstery. It was the perfect place to celebrate the last of my 20s- this is EXACTLY where I wanted to be.

We literally just barely snuck in at 9:30pm- it closed at 10pm. The closest Red Lobster was a 20 minute drive away! Too far! But anyway, we got there with 30 minutes to spare- they were super nice about it, the service was great overall.

My beer came with a chilled pint glass!

Two menus: the regular dinner menu, and the "Mediterranean" menu. There was also a menu of the day's specials. Awesome!

Before showing up, I had googled around for what to order here. Surprisingly, not much has been written about the place, which I thought was weird. I had twittered for suggestions too, and got a few responses- thanks everyone!

Here's a full report of my Red Lobster devirginizing bday meal:

Cheddar biscuits! Super buttery, but too salty. Worth the hype? Sure, they were good, but so are the biscuits at Popeye's. In each bite, you know you're gaining a 5 pounds, but in the moment, nothing else matters. Solmaz guessed that each biscuit was about 500 calories, but looking at their website's nutrition chart, it's only 150. But 350mg sodium- WHOA!

We got the "lobster combo" app. Mushrooms stuffed with crab, lobster and shrimp, and the eggrolls which Kayce had told me to order.

The mushrooms were cheesy and filled with seafood and breadcrumbs. They use fresh mushrooms which exceeded my expectations.

Eggrolls were cheesy and pretty good. Solmaz loved these, as she ate most of them. It came with a side of pico de gallo, which was a refreshing touch.

Shrimp cocktail. Menu boasted that they were "big plump jumbo shrimp," but out came shrimp that looks like it came out of one of those wheels at the grocery store. Not sure what I was thinking.

We ordered the Ultimate Feast for our entree to share. Solmaz thought that we should go with something "traditional" and this seemed to include all the greatest hits, so we went with this. At $28, it's the priciest thing on the menu. I deserve only the best on my bday!!!

I went for the lobster tail first. Totally deep fried but tender and flavorful. There's this place called East Boat that borders Little Italy/Nolita in NYC that I used to go to that deep fried their lobsters. It takes away from the flavors so I prefer them steamed, but I admit it was super juicy.

Their famous shrimp scampi. Basically a tub of butter with a side of shrimp. The commercials make them look so much better! We didn't even finish this.

Popcorn shrimp- too much breading, completely masking its original identity. We didn't finish this either.

Snow crab legs. Way too salty. The salt content throughout the meal was pretty astounding- I woke up this morning hella thirsty.

The whole thing came with a side salad, which I appreciated. You know, to make you think you are being a little healthy amidst all the cholestorol and fat you're willingly ingesting.

We also got a side of grilled fresh asparagus. Again, I appreciated that this was on the menu, although they were a bit rubbery. GREEN!!!

All in all, we pretty much thoroughly cleaned our plates...

...but we were still kinda hungry after all of it. Honestly though we felt like such fatasses after all the butter and fried that we couldn't possibly even think about eating more. Plus, we felt the runs coming on. But that's just all a part of the experience right???

All in all, this was exactly what I had hoped for to mark another year of existence. Nothing fancy- just regular food for regular folks. I appreciate that Red Lobster has helped a meat-obsessed America turn to seafood as an alternative- although I think they try too hard to mask the fish flavors with an overdose of salt, butter and oil, which they need to tone down a few notches. But as Paystyle put it, "Hell, where would we take out our prom dates to?"

Next year? Manresa for sure! Ha. Love you Solmaz, thanks for always making me feel like a queen.



  • Thanks Pay!

    Omg Sizzler- the concept of the salad bar was totally new to me until I went there with my family in elementary school. It opened up a whole new world for me- it was very American.

    Is that true though, about people of color not knowing about seafood? What about New Orleans and cajun cooking and southern food in general (crawfish, catfish, etc.)? Or are you talking about people in California?

    kayoko on

  • Like I always say, without Red Lobster, people of color wouldn’t know what a lobster even looks like, much less tastes like! I’d also like to give a shout out to Sizzler. Without those two spots, where would we have taken our prom dates for dinner?

    Happy b-day K!

    Paystyle on

  • I just looked at the prices on the red lobster site and I was surprised how expensive it is. I was expecting the equivalent of Tad Steak prices for their seafood.

    I heard this rumor that Sizzlers in Japan is actually a respectable chain restaurant like Royal Host. This is what my wife’s friends tell me. I think they’re lying or being nice because Sizzlers is american.

    Ricky on

  • Well certainly there would be the exceptions you just noted. And of course I was being a bit facetious. But if you take note of the majority of areas that folks of color in this country reside, coupled with the average incomes, you’d see what the lobster game would look like w/o Red Lobster.

    Paystyle on

  • i said it via twitter, but i’ll say it again here: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! and i am so glad you’ve finally popped your RL cherry, LOL… my sis worked her way through her masters degree as a waitress @ the RL, so we’d always go for (mostly free) cocktails, etc: RL makes for some GREAT drunk food. :D

    it’s funny that you mention the overall salt content of the meal… after almost two years of eating @ home and/or non-chain restaurants almost exclusively, i had the SAME reaction when i went to olive garden a few months ago: even the damned breadsticks were CRAZY salty, i hated it. (for the record: this isn’t me being anti-corporate ~ we just don’t have any chains inside the city ~ all the chains are out in the ’burbs.) you know exactly how much skill goes in to being a “cook” there: obtain scissors, open bag, heat. LOL.

    kayce. on

  • Happy Birthday, Kayoko!!! :) You didn’t enjoy butter with a side of shrimp?

    We have a monthly outing for NFC – nostalgic food club – Red Lobster was one of our stops, along with Old Country Buffet, Red Robin, Chili’s, Checkers, P.F Chang’s, Red Robin, Dairy Queen. Next stop -IHOP! I hope you had the bestest birthday ever!

    Ambitious on

  • Ricky- the total came out to almost $60, not including tip. Not bad, but not cheap either.

    kayoko on

  • I’m coming in a two weeks to help you with your goals for 29. We will revamp!!! Happy Birthday Babe!

    yoko on

  • YAY! Thanks everyone for your sweet wishes. My day was awesome- roasted all day on the beach with wine spritzers (shhh… don’t tell anyone!) and then got my grub on at Red Lobster, lookin like quite the lobster myself from all the sun.

    Two goals for 29: move out of my parent’s place and revamp UM. YAH! Let’s do this!

    Big hug!

    kayoko on

  • They are nice to you because you guys are hot.

    younh on

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