See Shells in the Sea Food at Legal Sea Foods

The hubs and I decided to try out Legal Sea Foods in the Short Hills Mall for a quick bite.

We were greeted by about 8 employees who were all gathered at the front desk. We were ushered all the way to the back room, where no one else was, far away from anyone.

The food was nothing to write about, but I will.

I ordered the Lobster Bisque soup and Nick got the Clam Chowder. We both found shells in our soups and spit them out. Mine was pretty bland, I was a bit surprised. Nick also ordered the crab cake appetizer which he enjoyed. It was fairly good. I ordered half a Caesar salad, and it was bland. I was definitely not impressed at this joint. I hate feeling like I threw $50 out the window. But we did that night. The service was also very poor. Our server never came to check on us and ask how everything was. Nick had to get up and literally flag someone down with his napkin to get someone’s attention to ask for more Caesar dressing. My salad was very dry, only a drop of dressing.

Nick’s Guinness and my peach bellini were both good though. I guess the more you drink the better the food gets there.

One response to “See Shells in the Sea Food at Legal Sea Foods”

  1. God. You’re going to really hate me for writing this.

    First, Legal Sea Food isn’t really a ‘quick bite’ kind of place.

    Second, you went to a place that prides itself on seafood and ordered a Caesar salad.

    Third, almost every place that charges <$20 for a Caesar salad overdresses it. It's really unfortunate that you have to spend at least $20 on a Caesar to get it done right, but these are the facts. People come out of cooking school knowing how to do this properly, and then places like Friday's or Ruby Tuesday's trains them how to make it for "mass market appeal". Sad but true.

    Fourth, a good restaurant typically won't bother you nearly as much as a typical chain. In a typical chain, the way waiters are trained is "two bites or two minutes". They have to check with you within two minutes of the food being delivered. It's done this way for a number of reasons, only some of which have to do with good customer service. A restaurant that almost never sees a plate returned has no real reason to check in with you that quickly.

    Fifth, you must realize that, statistically, when people are waiting, their own estimate of how long they've been waiting is at least double, and sometimes triple the actual amount of time they've been waiting. If Nick got up to flag someone down with a napkin, chances are, you were also flagged by the waitstaff and written off as a bad tip. It's not a great practice, but it happens often, even in Legal Sea Food.

    Sixth, Guinness is pretty much Guinness on this side of the Atlantic. If you're ordering a Guinness here, you can only complain about two things: the temperature, or the lines. If the lines hadn't been cleaned, or this place doesn't move their Guinness, it'll taste sour (not bitter, *sour*). The temperature is really subjective, and Guinness themselves have mostly given into this with efforts (overseas at least) like "Guinness Extra Cold", which is a travesty if you ask me.

    Seventh, unless you've had a $15 peach bellini that involved absolutely no cardboard containers, the sad truth is that you've likely never had a properly made one. A peach bellini is supposed to be made with real peaches. That almost never happens. I would go so far as to say "never happens, ever" in NJ. It's also supposed to be made with Prosecco, but most places just use whatever sparkling white wine is handy. I've even seen places use champagne in their bellini's. Lame. I would bet that even Legal doesn't make a proper Bellini, and that you'd have to go somewhere south of the carolina's to find one (since that's where most of the peaches are grown). In Italy, where this cocktail originated, you can walk into some places to find a huge bowl on the bar containing peaches marinating in white wine (kinda like you can sometimes see big bowls of grappa on display in some NYC bars). That's what they use to make their bellini's.

    Where I do agree with you wholeheartedly is on price: I find NJ restaurants to be wildly, arrogantly overpriced considering that an enormous quantity of the food here comes out of a 5-gallon bucket delivered by a Sysco truck. The food is typically "ok" at best, but you're charged as if you're at Le Cirque.

    On the flip side, NJ *does* have the best cheap, quick food. Diners are everywhere, and there are plenty of decent ones. Hot dog stands like Jimmy Buff's on 22 in Scotch Plains and Galloping Hill (5-points Kenilworth) *are* something to write home about. Burger joints like White Manna in Hackensack, Kelly's in Freehold, and countless other places set NJ apart (and we're infected with 5-guys now too). Pizza in NJ is better than it is in NYC. Cheesesteaks in NJ are better than they are in Philly. There are just no questions about that. Even if what you want is *good* quality food, quickly, you can pop into a Whole Foods and actually *dine* there. So why on Earth would you ever go to a place like Legal Sea Food for a 'quick bite'!

    Hope this was taken with the humor it was given with. 🙂

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