The Crab Shell - Stamford, CT
My sister and I just had dinner at The Crab Shell, and I can say with great certainty that we will never dine there again. Both the food and service were horrendous.
There were no outdoor tables available when we arrived, but our short wait at the bar was nice because we were outside and there was a live band. When we were seated, menus and the specials board were promptly brought over, and our orders (stir fry with seafood and broiled scallops) were taken quickly. In retrospect, the bread basket was a foreshadowing of what was to come - three tepid rolls that had a stale quality and were rock hard on the bottom. We soon finished the drinks that we had walked over from the bar, but no one offered us water or new drinks at any time during the meal.
So, we then waited for our food. And waited. Then, waited some more. Finally, maybe a half hour later, the table behind us - which was seated after us - was served lobster entrees. We hadn't said anything because, initially, we weren't very hungry and didn't mind waiting. However, at this point, we were hungry and felt forgotten. I asked a passing waiter to please check on our food, and it was brought to the table seconds later. Almost immediately after the plates were set down by a bus boy-type person, the waiter stopped by and asked how it was and we automatically said, "Fine". But when we really got into the food, we realized there was nothing fine about it. The veggies in the stir fry were on the mushy side but passable. I don't eat lobster, but my sister said it "bad", and the shrimp and scallops were "ok". My broiled scallops, served in a small crock alongside a small crock of coleslaw and french fries, were set in a shallow pool of melted butter and topped with a tough bread crumb coating that was like a shell. The scallops were rubbery and tasteless, and the french fries were dried out. Though it didn't save the dish, I have to admit that the slaw was very tasty and I enjoyed it.
The waiter returned after our plates were taken away and asked, "Do you want anything else?", and we did not. When he came back with the bill, I said to him, "Not that you asked, but the food wasn't good." I told him that, given the quality of the food and the timing (served after the other table AND brought out right after we asked someone to check) it seemed very likely that the food had been under a heat lamp for a while. He insisted that the food was brought out immediately, and told us that the other table was served first because lobster only takes 7 minutes to cook. Finally, and most shocking, he said there was nothing we could do about it now, then walked away.
Now, I know we probably should have said something much earlier, but I wasn't seeking any compensation. Aside from the most obvious issues, I was just surprised that the waiter never asked if we enjoyed the meal, and then became extremely defensive. Despite the bad food and the bad service, I had enjoyed sitting outside and talking with my sister. His unapologetic and defensive attitude left us in such disbelief, however, that even our fun moments were overshadowed with negative feelings.
The bar is fun and it's great to be on the water, but please take my advice - do not have dinner at The Crab Shell.