While Orlando is home to a great number and variety of both local and chain restaurants, there is one restaurant that can be considered in both categories. The nationally known Red Lobster got its start, and is still headquartered, right here in Orlando, Florida. This month, the famous chain of seafood restaurants has brought back its popular “Lobsterfest” menu, and we were invited to sample the offerings.
In addition to several lobster-centric dishes offered on their year round menu, Lobsterfest gives customers the chance to experience three exclusive menu items: Lobster Lover’s Dream®, Dueling Lobster Tails and Rock Island Stuffed Tilapia. For my visit, I chose the Dueling Lobster Tails with an appetizer of Lobster-Artichoke-and-Seafood dip.
Visiting the Red Lobster on International Drive, just north of Universal Orlando Resort and a block away from Wet ‘n’ Wild water park, we were quickly seated and visited by our server, Nikita. She presented us with Red Lobster’s famous cheddar biscuits, which some might say are worth the trip to Red Lobster on their own!
Our entrees both came with salads, which were delivered shortly after we placed our order. My appetizer then came out about 5 or 10 minutes after the salad. The dip was served piping hot, with a plethora of corn chips to dip into it.
The seafood dip had several visible chunks of lobster, as well as some shredded seafood pieces and leafs of artichoke, all swimming in the gooey cheese. I imagine it’s not the healthiest item on the menu, but if you’re not counting calories, it’s a very nice choice.
My main course arrived while I was still enjoying the appetizer. The Dueling Lobster Tails is a pair of Maine Lobster Tails. One is topped with stuffing of crab meat and other seafood. The other tail is topped with a creamy garlic shrimp sauce. The tails are served with your choice of two sides, defaulting to mashed potatoes and green beans.
Both lobster tails were good in their own right, and having the two side by side offered a nice contrast. The creamy garlic shrimp tail, I will say, was probably my favorite. Rather than grating or mincing the garlic, there are very large chunks of roasted garlic in the sauce, which added both texture and taste to the meal.
Keep in mind you are eating lobster, so the price tag is understandably larger than if you had ordered pasta or a burger, but as they say, you do get what you pay for. When on vacation, a chain restaurant may not be your first choice, but those seeking comfort foods would be wise to consider visiting Orlando’s own Red Lobster, especially during its annual Lobsterfest celebration.
Disclaimer: my meal was partially paid for by Red Lobster, by way of an offered gift card. No further compensation or reimbursement was offered in exchange for this review.
Paul Lalli lives and works in Central Florida