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Mar 5, 2003 05:25 PM


  • j

Those Red Lobster commercilas are really making me crave lobster but, I would rather not have it at a Red Lobster. Any place in the area where I can get a simple boiled lobster and butter without completely breaking the bank?

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  1. They're quite easy to make at home, so just buy one at Super H in Fairfax or even a regular grocery store, boil/steam it and feast away!

    1 Reply
    1. re: James G

      I've seen some lobster special signs in front of places in Dupont Circle (on connecticut north of the circle) and in Georgetown. I can't say I've been there, but if you'd rather go to a restaurant, I bet that those are good places to start.

    2. STOP don't go there (ugh, to Red Lobster) !!!!
      Even your less than friendly Giant has fresh live lobster on sale at $7.99/pound, a little more not on sale. They will steam it for you if you don't want to do the deed at home. Yumm, enjoy.

      27 Replies
      1. re: Roe

        What is wrong with eating a nice, simple lobster at Red Lobster? I am baffled by the blanket condemnation of chain restaurants without supporting evidence, which is fast becoming a Chowhound trademark. If you had a bad lobster there, plese tell us.

        1. re: Anon

          Have you tasted lobster cooked either at home, at a steakhouse such as Morton's, at a lobster pound on the coast of Maine or at a better restaurant such as Kinkead's?
          Respectfully but there is a difference in the taste. I'm sorry but there is no way that virtually anything at Red Lobster can even compare to chains such as Legal. Of course there is a price difference. But there is a price difference between Outback and Morton's. Red Lobster sells seafood that tastes the same here where it is a middle of the road chain restaurant and, say, Council Bluffs, Iowa where it is a better seafood restaurant. But Red Lobster does not have what I would consider good lobster. By Washington standards you can do better, even for the same price. As for chains that are legitimately good I would offer Carrabba's along with mini chains such as Rio Grande.

          1. re: Anon

            I used to work for a gov't agency that assisted US companies to invest in projects in developing countries. One of the calls I fielded was from Red Lobster, since they wanted to get their lobsters from the Caribbean instead of from Maine in order to save money. I rejected their request for support for two reasons: we could not assist projects that would cost US jobs, and because the taste of warm-water lobsters just cannot compare to cold-water lobsters. They went ahead with the project anyway, I am sure, and the Red Lobster customers--and Maine lobstermen--are the ones suffering.

            1. re: James G

              I hate to disappoint those who assume the worst from Red Lobster (boo, evil chain), but apparently Maine lobster is the focus of the menu items. The rock lobster, which appears in fewer dishes, is probably the warm water variety, but they are clearly labeled as 'rock' vs. 'Maine'.


              1. re: Anon

                Apologetically but there are a lot of us on here that just don't share the same affection for Red Lobster that you and others do. Perhaps part of this is sort of the homogonized personality of the restaurant along with what really amounts to inoffensive and fairly bland food. Some of the responses about D. C. restaurants such as a special at the Old Ebbitt (and others)offer much better food, superior ambience and character, often at the same price. For me (and only for me) Red Lobster is just nothing special. If you would like to talk about the lobster at D. C. Coast or
                Ten Penh now that's another matter. That's a lobster to drive miles for. And restaurants worthy of a night out, not just a meal.

                1. re: Joe H.

                  I respect your views on chains like Red Lobster. My posts are generally made in an attempt to rebut the posting of assumptions, misinformation, or blatantly wrong 'facts', such as RL doesn't serve Maine lobster, McD's burgers are not 100% beef, etc.

                  I'm not demanding that people like or eat at chains, but, IMHO, the posts that periodically appear that praise a restaurant while taking a gratuitious slam at chains reek of Chowsnobbery.

                  1. re: Anon
                    Also anonymous

                    I agree with Anon. There is definitely an unattractive strain of food-snobbery on this board. De gustibus disputandum non est. To each his own. What we like to eat can be what we grew up with or what we are used to. If I like to eat my mom's ultra-dense, flat yeast rolls, who's to tell me I should not? It's not that I don't know that her rolls are not the best example of yeast rolls. One can definitely have good taste-memories associated with Red Lobster. I know how to discriminate among good seafood and bad, there is no denying that I have good taste-memories from childhood of eating at Captain D's, which I know is not necessarily the best example of fish and chips, but I do like to have it once in a while.

                    Could we all try to be more tolerant of diverse tastes and be less doctrinaire about food?

                    1. re: Also anonymous

                      But if you can get a cheaper, fresher, and bigger lobster from an independently owned place (like the Maine Ave. Market, for example), why not say so?

                      So what if that casts Red Lobster in a bad light?

                      Being a 'hound is about seeking out quality and rewarding the little local places that care about food. Many people assume that the chains are a good bargain--but, for what you get, most of them are a tremendous rip-off. They rely on brand and convenience to draw folks in. The little places have to work harder and that's usually good for the end product.

                      With all that said, I love Popeyes--go figure!

                      1. re: mouse

                        It's not about casting a bad light, it's about the somewhat sanctamonious tone of the post's.

                        If you don't like a place, say so. If a place gives you rotten food or service, say so.

                        But don't rail against those that like something tyou do not.


                        1. re: TripleAnon

                          I have absolutely no problem with anyone disagreeing with me in any opinion that I have. My wife does all the time so I'm used to it, respect it and accept it. But I do have a problem with all of this "anon" and "anon2" and so forth. I put my name and my e-mail behind every post on this board no matter how offensive one of my posts might be (hopefully unintentional). Criticism has absolutely no meaning for me when the source hides behind a wall. I don't hide my opinions. Those who respond shouldn't either.
                          As for opinions of chains and food snobbery I remind eveyone that I still insist the single best bite of anything I have eaten anywhere over the past five or ten years is the first bite of a double double animal style at In 'n Out burger. This is a 150 unit chain in southern California. For me this bite is more enjoyable, tasteful, whatever than a first bite of anything from Citronelle, Maestro, or the French Laundry.
                          But that's me. Curiously my wife agrees. Although she can't stand the original Ledo's in Hyattsville and I think enough of it that I drive from Reston to there just for pizza.
                          I'll try to be more tolerant for my part. But, please, don't post on here unless you can identify yourself. If really has no meaning for me otherwise.

                          1. re: Joe H.

                            I the ideology of the Chowhounds concept goes against the general chain restaurant premise. Just visit the homepage and read the into for more on that. Sure, there are some good chains but everyone is already aware that you can get lobster at Red Lobster, pasta at Olive Garden, and hamburgers at McDonalds. Most of us are on this board to "find" or "discover" culinary experiences that are out of the ordinary and obvious.

                            Back to the food...

                            Joe, In-N-Out is ridiculously good. In fact, I saw a show recently where a couple of PGA golfers from overseas planned their tournament schedule around some particular cities where there were In-N-Out franchises. See the link below, it should get you salivating.


                            1. re: Moe Green

                              My credibility is only as good as a double double. Thanks, Moe.

                              1. re: Moe Green

                                Yes, everyone is aware that you can get lobster at Red Lobster, pasta at Olive Garden, and hamburgers at McDonalds. However, there is an increase in posts that praise a locally-owner place, and then introduce the chains simply to belittle them that I find objectionable.

                                Concerning the criticisms of 'Anonymous' IDs - perhaps this is something to take up with the 'Big Dog'. If the system didn't allow it, we wouldn't be able to do it. When I post what may be taken as inflammatory opinions that contradict these core beliefs of the main group of frequent posters, I do so anonymously because of the possibility that reactions and replies to my other posts would, whether intentionally or not, be affected.

                                1. re: StillAnon

                                  I will always favor independently owned restaurants over chains. There are far too many towns whose core area has been shuttered while Super Walmarts, McDonald's, Olive Garden, Pizza Hut and Seven Eleven have corned the majority of local business.

                                  One of the strengths of Bethesda and Old Town are the independently owned restaurants many of which have character that many of the chains do not. Case in point: I don't know how many people on this board know this but Kinkead's wanted to open a restaurant in Reston Town Center in the Anderson building. For whatever reason Morton's went in his place. Even though I like Rio Grande (Uncle Julio's from Dallas) and Big Bowl (Lettuce Entertain You from Chicago) Reston Town Center, with the exception of the Market Street Grill is exclusively chain owned, albeit in some cases mini chains. But there are no Zafferano's, no Colvin Run Taverns, nothing that has chef/owner stamped on its plate glass window.
                                  For me that is a real loss. I like what is in Town Center. But I like what Old Town and Bethesda have more.
                                  Unfortunately for every In 'n Out burger or Carrabba's or Bahama Breeze (coming to Fairfax County soon) there are Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters and Burger Kings. For me-and only for me-this is a loss. Independently owned, chef/owned restaurants, snack bars, etc. are gradually disappearing fro much of the American scene.
                                  I understand that others may disagree and prefer the security and comfort of a "predictable" restaurant. That is fine. But my opinion, and again for me, is that I'm willing to try something new; it may not be as good, it may even be much worse. But then again, it may a real find. And, for me, that is what Chowhound is all about.

                                  Why do you insist on remaining anonymous? If you believe in something don't worry what anyone thinks. Stand up for it and yourself! Again, my wife does. And I love her for it. In fact she doesn't hesitate to tell me EXACTLY what she thinks!!!

                                  1. re: StillAnon

                                    ENOUGH ABOUT LOBSTER!!!!!
                                    I think we can all agree that, despite all their efforts to the contrary, the chains are capable of producing a good meal every now and then. But this is not the place to dwell on that. And if someone is going to get huffy about food snobbery, then maybe they should take their complaints about it to

                                    Personally, I think passionate arguing is good for the site, and if calling Joe a blowhard to his face is going to get anyone in trouble, then I'll be glad to do it. ....although he's probably right! (except the part about the lobster pounds in Maine. I'm not completely convinced.) Personally, I'm not running back to Red Lobster any time soon.

                                    1. re: StillAnon

                                      "When I post what may be taken as inflammatory opinions that contradict these core beliefs of the main group of frequent posters, I do so anonymously because of the possibility that reactions and replies to my other posts would, whether intentionally or not, be affected."

                                      three things!

                                      1. It's essential that everyone feels free to dissent at any time on any topic. We need a rich diversity of opinions to make this operation's all about lots of people having their say, and letting those reading along make judgement.

                                      2. If you're a known member of this community and you post dissenting remarks anonymously, you are far, far less likely to be taken as seriously. Anon postings are like someone flipping the bird as they drive by. They're shrugged off.

                                      If you're a member of our community, your opinion has weight. Use that weight to back up your viewpoints! If anyone harshes you for an unpopular opinion, let the moderators know (report ANY sort of problem to, including the URL). It's our job to foster an environment where people can disagree politely, and ensure tolerance of different viewpoints, recognizing that a nice rich spectrum of different opinions are what make the site tick (note: by "tolerance" I don't mean there shouldn't be strong disagreement...just not personal, not nasty, not insulting, etc).

                                      3. Our message board rules strongly prohibit the use of multiple nametags. One hound, one opinion is the only way this can work, and we do insist on your cooperation with this rule, especially now that it's been clearly pointed out to you.



                            2. re: Also anonymous

                              1) could we all be a little less anonymous? how do we know you're not Melanie Wong's evil split personality or something? (apologies to Melanie -- her name just sprang to mind...hey, where has she been anyway?)
                              2) could we all just acknowledge that was this board is about is OPINION and the sharing thereof? A strongly worded opinion does not a doctrine make. Presumably people are here to read posts by others with strong preferences in food. As long as things don't devolve into personal insults -- and it is dangerously close -- how can it ever be wrong to be both honest and forthright in your posts? If you don't want to hear an opinion that is different from yours DON'T READ THE BOARDS.
                              3) could we all not wonder how many angels dance on a head of a pin, Lobster-wise, and have one of you anons actually eat at Red Lobster and if you have a good experience post it here? And do the same with a bad? And also please go up to Red's in Wiscasset, Maine and tell us if there is a difference?
                              4) And could we all let go of this idea that if someone cares about food and wine they must perforce be a snob? Simply not the case. Yes, some people do use this board to showboat -- a pathetic attempt for attention on an internet site that is not likely to garner much personal attention. But the vast, vast majority of people here simply care passionately about what they put into their mouths and assume you do too.
                              My experience of reading the boards is that the people who get all "you're a snob because you don't like Red Lobster" are those that are most insecure -- for reasons that ESCAPE me because how can anyone be insecure about their own TASTE? -- about their food and wine preferences. If you like Red Lobster: go for it. Don't be ashamed, and don't look for affirmation anywhere other than on your own pink tongue and in your warm round belly.
                              That said, let the opinions roll.
                              (and one more thing...I think you'll find that the Florida lobster v. Maine lobster substitution thing occurs in the Red Lobster tail dinners. Florida lobsters don't have claws -- they have long spiny antenna -- so can not be substituted for Maine lobsters except in tails where in appearance they are indistinguishable. The taste is a little different...but delicious when you've hauled them up from the floor of the Straits of Florida yourself on one deep breath (scuba tanks not allowed while lobstering) and cooked them on a beach in the Bahamas.
                              (that was an example not of braggadacio, by the way, but a momentary revelry in Great Meals of My Youth). I believe rock lobsters are different animals entirely -- possibly large crawdads? fresh water?

                      2. re: James G

                        I live in Fairfax VA. I would like to know if there is a resturant in the local area that you could recommend to get a good LOBSTER meal?

                        1. re: JAY

                          I'm afraid I don't know of any, unless by 'lobster meal' you mean anything OTHER than just regular Maine-style lobster. There are several places that do very good Chinese-style lobster dishes around, but that (IMO) is not the same.

                          1. re: JAY

                            James mentioned several places that do Chinese style lobster. Included in this are D. C. Coast and Ten Penh where this is the signature dish for each. It's expensive, about $27-29 or so but excellent. Full Kee also does a similar dish and while I haven't had it there it is reputed to be as good but priced considerably lower. I am certain that as James mentioned there are even more restaurants with a similar dish.

                          2. re: James G

                            Thanks James g. I'm a maine lobstermen and was involved with the fight against red lob. For selling the langastino lobster as maine lobster, it cost us harvesters over 12 million lbs in sales because people ate that crap thinking it was maine lobster. Maine sued red lobster and WON. I went to a red lob in Orlando fl just to see how they was selling our maine lobster after a tv commercial saying fresh maine lob. Walked Inside ask the server I wanted to see the lobster before it was cooked because I'd never seen one alive. She brought it out and the lobster bands said " product of Canada". I asked y does the bands say pro of Canada she replied to me that the lobster was caught on the boarder of maine and Canada. I called her a liar and explained to her who I was where i was from and that I was a lobstermen from maine. I reported this to maines DMR. The law. Now when they say fresh maine lobster on TV I bet the bands won't say Canada. If it happens again they can't sell maine or Canadian lobsters again. That's a federal judges saying that. To red lobsters lawyers. They would be bankrupted if they couldn't sell lobsters.

                            1. re: James G

                              Have you ever eaten a fresh Florida spiny lobster? They're pretty good.

                            2. re: Anon

                              "If you had a bad lobster there(Red Lobster), plese tell us."
                              And what part of "ugh, don't go there" and "Giant is better", was not clear ?

                              1. re: Anon

                                I usually like to read your postings joe and james- but give me a break- I may not chose to go to Red Lobster- but to be so denigrating- yeech- what mountain do you live on?

                                1. re: Anon

                                  I've lived in DC for ten years and I've never even seen a Red Lobster. Do they have them here?

                                  DC (the city, not necessarily the 'burbs) was until very recently blessed with an almost total dearth of chains. With the new Hooters, Fuddruckers, Ruby Tuesday, etc., I think people are extra sensitive about this issue. These places have displaced some real gems.

                                  I, for one, am glad that there are such strong and passionate advocates here for the "little guy." There's no need to beat the drum for Red Lobster on Chowhound--they have million dollar ad campaigns to do that for them.

                                  However, in this case, their ad campaign backfired, because the person who originated this message said that seeing one of those ads made him/her want a lobster, but not one from Red Lobster...

                                  Of course, there's no need to denigrate a person who eats at Red Lobster...we all have our dirty little secrets (mine are White Castle and Waffle House).

                                  1. re: butterfly

                                    White Castles are improved with marinated jalapeno peppers and Route 66 potato chips. (Arguably at 1:00AM there is no finer meal. Well perhaps a Four Way at Skyline Chili)

                                    1. re: butterfly

                                      Is there a Hooter's in DC? We were just down from New England and before coming down I checked out the Hooters website, looking for a location in DC. The address I wrote down seemed to be inaccessible because of construction and there was no listing in the yellow pages.
                                      As I noted, we were visiting the city from New England, where I can drive about an hour to get to a Hooters (and sometimes do) for their wings, which I love. (For the record, I am a professional woman. I go there with my fiance.) My point is, sometimes chains have their ups. Hooters, for instance, has great wings and I have always had great service. BUT since we weren't able to find Hooters, we ended up at a non-chain. I think that night it was a seafood place (next to the Melting Pot, near DuPont Circle) that we probably would not have tried if we had been able to find a comfortable, familiar "chain," which seemed like a nice option on a first night in an unfamiliar city. The seafood place was okay - overpriced, not spectacular food. But we had GREAT (and much less expensive)lobster a couple of nights later at a place in Georgetown (see post above).

                                2. I always got really fresh steamed Maine lobster at the Old Ebbitt Grill -- usually when they ran a special deal in association with American Express. There is a disease affecting New England lobsters that is affecting both availability and price however, so they may not have run the special this year. OEG also has a wonderful 1/2 price raw bar during happy hour that can hold up to any of the good seafood places in DC. Worth checking out -- just get there before 6!

                                  1. check out the places at the Fish Market on Maine Ave. You can pick your own lobster and they will steam it for you -- they also sell already steamed obs but I dont recommend as they can get a little rubbery if overcooked. I got a dozen lobsters for Christmas dinner and they steamed them for us and they were wonderful.

                                    1. Live lobsters at Cameron's Seafood, several around the area. I then steam them myself at home and it is great.

                                      I enjoy them in the restaurants, they will even shell them for you, but most of the time they are bank breakers.