Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Seafood Restaurants

I probably go to a seafood restaurant, maybe, once a year. Seafood isn't my favorite, but I'll eat it, and it's a nice change of pace every once in a while. I almost always order the fried shrimp.

So, I think I can separate seafood restaurants from one of three categories. From "best" to "worst":

Independent restaurants located near the water. These types of seafood restaurants have a unique look to them. They all look old (probably because they are), have similar decorations, a similar smell (it is seafood, after all), and if the building is planned well, have a nice view of the water. Because if you're a seafood restaurant near the water, I mean, you have got to flaunt that. That is part of the experience!

There's something about being near the ocean, or near a large lake, that makes people want to eat seafood, even if the food is actually coming from thousands of miles away. Sure, they might feature local specialties (e.g. lobster in New England, perch in northern Ohio), but I imagine most of the menu at a seafood restaurant did not come from right outside the window, no matter where you are. I think it's all about the experience more than anything else. Seafood just seems better when you're near an ocean/lake, regardless of where the food is actually coming from.

Independent restaurants not located near the water. I'm not a seafood connoisseur, but my guess is that the quality of the seafood at a restaurant within 10 miles of the ocean isn't that much different than the quality of the seafood at a restaurant in, say, Tallahassee. (I do remember Tallahassee having several seafood restaurants, despite being a good 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. And I think they were quite good. Not that I would know, just from having the fried shrimp or whatever.)

And, finally, there's Red Lobster. The Wal-Mart of seafood restaurants. Now...I like Olive Garden, but I know a few people who despite it because it's not "real Italian". It's made-for-mass-American-consumption Italian. Do seafood lovers feel the same way about Red Lobster?

Seafood lover: "Let's get seafood!"
His friend: "Okay, let's go to Red Lobster!"
Seafood lover: "@#$% YOU!!!"

I ranked Red Lobster as "worst", but I don't have anything against them, really. When there is no local seafood option, the "big box" option, Red Lobster, is fine. And I think Red Lobster knows better than to compete with local seafood. Or, maybe they tried once, and inevitably failed. Because when you're near the water, you want local seafood...or at least the illusion of it.

1 comment:

frozen seafood exporters said...

Just my opinion, maybe if both restaurants get fresh seafood from the same supplier then the quality would be the same.