On Saturday, September 9, 2017, my daughter and I had dinner at the Red Lobster Restaurant, 2400 South Pleasant Valley Road in Winchester, Virginia, just south of Walmart. Our visit was to celebrate my 97th birthday. If you are traveling south on Pleasant Valley Road, you must drive past the restaurant to make a left turn into the Winchester Station Shopping Center parking lot, and then additional left turns to reach the stand-alone building. Five handicapped parking spaces are along the front of the building facing Pleasant Valley Road, with other parking along the sides of the building, the parking lot’s periphery, and nearby. Hours are Sunday-Thursday, 11:00 AM-10:00 PM; Friday & Saturday, 11:00 AM-11:00 PM. The telephone number is (540) 722-9490. The restaurant chain’s national Web Site is www.redlobster.com, but the Winchester location’s menu does not have all of the items listed on the Internet. The entrance is at the building’s SW corner and has a vestibule. The entry area features a large glass tank with live lobsters and a receptionist’s station. The Red Lobster is a large restaurant with windows on three sides. Seating includes booths along the windows, and several divided areas elsewhere with booths and tables with benches and chairs. A large, well-stocked bar with fourteen seats and three video screens is in the rear with other seating in this area. The floor has a dark carpet and the ceiling has acoustic tile. Walls are decorated with nautical scenes, lighthouse pictures, and navy signal flags. Lighting over the booths is hanging lanterns with recessed lights in the ceiling elsewhere. The background music is somewhat intrusive, and the ambient noise level is high. Our server was Britt. The spiral-bound menu books she gave us had 22 pages. The inside of the front cover lists Today’s Specials. Categories elsewhere include Starters, Upgrades, Cocktails, Seaside Starters, Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Shrimp & Classic Combos, Crab & Seafood Bakes, Lobster & Signature Combos. Also, Today’s Fresh Fish, Seafood Pairs; Lunch Specials, 11 to 3; Add to Any Meal & Nutritional Information, 4-Course Feast, Lighthouse Selections, and Desserts. A smaller menu already on the table was titled “Sip, Snack, and Savor” and listed Drinks, Appetizers, and Desserts. There was also a sea salt dispenser and a black peppercorn grinder on the table. The price for the live lobsters displayed in the tank is $23.50 per lb. The smallest ones are about 1-1/4 lbs. and cost about $30.00. The largest lobsters are about 4 lbs. and cost around $100.00. We did not order lobster, live or refrigerated, that evening. My daughter ordered a “Build Your Own Combination” with Coconut Shrimp and Seafood Stuffed Flounder, with Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Walnuts as a side, and included a salad. I had a dozen hand-shucked raw oysters on the half-shell. I’m glad that I ordered a dozen instead of six, because they were quite small, but good. We were also served their famous Cheddar Bay Biscuits, which are a tasty treat good enough to take home. Although the on-line menu for the Red Lobster national chain includes an appetizing picture of fried oysters, the Winchester restaurant’s menu does not list them. Accordingly, I do not consider the local Red Lobster as a proper seafood restaurant and refuse to rate it as a keeper. My first visit to the Red Lobster was with my wife on June 21, 2006, shortly after it had opened for business. There was a waiting line then. On Saturday, people were waiting to be seated by the time my daughter and I left at 6 o’clock. Staying in business for eleven years indicates that the Red Lobster must be doing something right.
Took my granddaughter here for her 16th birthday dinner. I asked if they do anything special for birthdays and was told, \"If you buy a dessert, we\'ll sing to her.\" REALLY?! After I just spent a bundle for our dinners? Other area restaurants will sing for free or even provide a free dessert. This was so tacky that I have never and will never return.
On June 21, 2006, my wife and I went to 2400 South Pleasant Valley Road and the new Red Lobster Restaurant, which had just opened on Monday. As I had expected, there was a waiting period and we were given a pager to be called when it was our turn. It took only 12 minutes before we were seated.
We had been looking over the menu while we were waiting, and I was disappointed in the selections it offered. There were no fried oysters listed; the only oysters were on the half shell as appetizers. The only clams available were fried strips, and the crab selections were somewhat limited. The greatest variety was in shrimp dishes.
Of course, the menu also had lobsters. A tank in the waiting area held live lobsters that you could select for your dinner, at $21.99 per pound. There was also a lobster pizza available as an appetizer, and several types of fin fish entrees. Non-seafood items were a few steak and chicken dishes.
My wife ordered an apple walnut chicken salad, while I had half a dozen steamed oysters on the half shell, followed by a popcorn shrimp order. It took the food a long time to come, and I was disappointed in the oysters. Only one of the six was full size, and two of them were not as fresh as I would have liked. However, the shrimp platter was good. As usual, neither one of us had room for dessert.
In retrospect, I believe that the Red Lobster is overrated, and I don't believe we'll be going there often. My favorite local seafood place is still the East Side Raw Bar & Grill on Route 50 East.