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There’s More than Just Fish at Red Lobster

The Strongsville Gourmet gives up his beloved shrimp to try the chicken

I have fond memories of my parents, many at the dinner table.

My mom made it a rule of no TV while eating, which killed me. It was almost always meat and potatoes. I don’t think I ever saw my dad eat a side dish that wasn’t created from some kind of spud.

My mom was an excellent cook and I enjoyed most of her meals. Still, I always looked forward to Sunday because it was the one day we went out to eat.

When I was older, one of our regular stops would be Red Lobster. The irony to this? My parents hated fish and I never, ever saw them eat any kind of seafood. Shrimp? Not a single piece. Calamari? Are you kidding?

When little Gerry got his fish sticks, mom and dad were usually eating pierogies. The one and only fishy thing I ever saw them regularly consume was tuna, and I don’t think my dad liked that either.

So what did we usually order at Red Lobster you ask? Steak. Seriously. Steak.

At that time, it wasn’t outrageously priced and it was really great steak. For a place noted for fish, they did an excellent job with cow.

Today, when I go to Red Lobster I don’t order steak or any other cut of beef. In fact, my favorite meal is the aptly titled Walt’s Favorite Shrimp.  (Who’s Walt? I have no idea but I always picture Walt Disney chowing down on shrimp when I order it.) This is my ideal shrimp, perfectly breaded and fried. I’m not a fan of heavy coating on shellfish, such as the coconut shrimp, but Walt’s gets it right. And, yes, I admit that I always add the extra half dozen pieces.

Always.

On my recent visit with my wife to Red Lobster, 17227 Southpark Center, I was feeling a bit nostalgic. I decided that I wouldn’t order any seafood or fish this evening. I already know that Red Lobster does an outstanding job with fish fare. I thought I’d give them a bigger challenge to please me with a nontraditional, fishless meal in their fine seafood restaurant.

Of course, I would still indulge in their traditional basket of Cheddar Bay Biscuits. if you need any kind of reason to come here, look no further than these biscuits. They are the ultimate in yummy. They’re crumbly in all the good ways. They’re better than crab cakes, only without the crab, and that’s saying a lot.

Meanwhile, when it came to ordering, my wife decided to do the opposite of what I was doing and stuck with fish. It made for an interesting contrast in our dishes.

First out were our soups. I will say, that I usually get the Lobster bisque and love it. This time, I tried the potato soup.

Not bad.

That’s really it. I ate it. I liked it, but it wasn’t very special.

On the other hand, my wife couldn’t stop raving about her bowl of New England Clam Chowder. I mean RAVING! She gave it the ultimate compliment in my book and stated that it was even better than Red Robin’s. Really? If that’s true, then I ordered the wrong soup!

(And if you never tried Red Robin’s clam chowder, I’d recommend getting a bowl pronto.)

Now I’m starting to worry about my brilliant game plan. Did I make a mistake in not ordering seafood from a seafood place? What was I thinking?

The moment the waitress placed my huge plate of Cajun Chicken Linguini Alfredo on the table, all my worries vanished. It looked and smelled fantastic. Even Mrs. Shamray let out an approving “o-o-o-h” when she saw it.

The diced chicken was tender, spicy and delicious. The bed of linguini was creamy and rich. Despite being such a giant portion, I ate every single bite. I just may have a new dinner favorite. Sorry Walt.

My wife’s Wood-Grilled Tilapia looked equally impressive. It was flaky and beautifully presented. I would have stolen a bite or two, but I just couldn’t stop devouring my chicken linguini in a seafood place.

My fish-hating parents would have approved.

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