Friday, April 10, 2009

Not a normal dinner spot for us

We are actually more comfortable out on the beach than we are going out to dinner these days.

Still when someone gives you a gift certificate to a good restaurant, you do not want to waste it. With that in mind we headed off to Red Lobster in Roanoke, Va. recently.

We managed to get there during their lobster festival. With my love of lobster, I ended up ordering a dish with a couple of kinds of shrimp, a lobster tail, and a few crab legs.

After a Caesar salad and some of their yummy rolls, I was feeling pretty good. Dinner arrived quickly since the restaurant was not as packed as has often been the case before the economic recession.

It was hard not to compare our dinner since we had just fixed some shrimp and grits at home down on the NC Coast. That is something we do fairly often so we are pretty familiar with seafood. To say I was a little surprised at the tiny size of the shrimp on my plate is an understatement.

Shrimp of the size that I was served in garlic butter would never even make it to bait shrimp on the Crystal Coast. In fact a couple of our Crystal Coast shrimp would equal the amount of meat in the lobster tail on our plates.

Now I had plenty to eat, but I am not certain how much money Red Lobster is saving in the long run by purchasing juvenile shrimp and lobsters. The crab legs were also tiny. Serve fewer but bigger shrimp. I would rather have three shrimp that I can cut into bites than six which are so tiny that you hardly know you have eaten them. I have to believe that normal size shrimp is a better use of marine resources. Of course here I am thinking that these shrimp were caught in the sea. They were probably farm shrimp.

However, the lobsters had to be wild caught, and my guess is that they came from Canada where I have heard the size limit is smaller than Maine. I know there is a certain size lobster which the lobster men in Maine claim should be harvested. Anything smaller or bigger hurts the lobster stocks which I want to make sure survive. You can read about their efforts at lobster sustainability.

We had some great lobsters this fall at our area church suppers, and I know they came from Maine because I saw the truck. The lobsters were on the order of 1.5 lbs each. I cannot believe that the lobster tails that we ate at Red Lobster recently came off of a lobster anywhere close to even one pound in weight.

I think that perhaps I will go back to making my own seafood dinners. Now I just need someone to donate some right-sized lobsters.