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My little thing about red-lobster and olive garden

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Not really a review tho..

Sorry if some of you work there..

But its just not good...im sorry. I have a dam tilapia thing in a dam paper bag that was crap.( I thought so anyway)

People say its "fancy" but the prices are'nt a concern to me and prolly all of you as well. They try to cook and mix stuff up like some pasta(why would you get it there anyway??) But its horrible. And their sauces..


Olive garden. is just sick..its not italian at all..and the sauce isn't something to kiss you're fingers about..Its just not that great and they dont really base all their food about italian cuisines.

It might be fun working there but all you might do is just one thing and a stationery job that all you do is work the..Grill, fryer etc. etc.

We all can cook better then them..

Srry if i offended people..
post #2 of 40
Olive Garden was created out of market research about what general americans wanted in an "italian style" eatery. All the way down to the rolling chairs. It was never intended to be authentic but to deliver to a certain market segment, and it has done that wel, if poorly to a more food oriented segment.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 40
amen, most of the time, corporation kitchens suck. i cant find one good one...well when i say good, i mean something id take a significant other to.

i eat hot pockets and big macs
post #4 of 40
I echo Phatch's comments wholeheartedly.

We have to remember that the masses of Americans want cheap, convenient food. Moreover, to their unexperienced and ignorant palates, places like the Olive Garden and Red Lobster ARE upscale. And it is these millions of average joes that mass market eateries are targeting for the money. These corporations, like any other, are in it PURELY for the money, not the love of food.

Of course, as chefs we find the quality of these food factories to be deplorable. But we are in the minority, even with the increased interest in food in this country over the last few decades.

Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
post #5 of 40
Your review is funny.

We go to OG at least once a year, usually in Sept when they have their "unending pasta bowl" for $7.95. It's usually right after school starts. My son, now 18, adores the breadsticks (he can eat about 8 of those things) and getting to choose his pasta and sauces. So in our family it's been a tradition for the last 5 years or so. I do like the crispy eggplant parmigiana, which is hard to find at even some Italian restaurants. Also they will let you have lunch prices on most items in the evening, which is good for people that don't like huge portions. I like their salad with those pepponcini's and tart dressing. However, mostly I like it because it's time well spent with my family around a table with no TVs, video games, and no cleanup afterwards.
post #6 of 40
Hmm, I gotta check it out then. I'm part of that segment that doesn't necessarily love authentic italian dishes. Perhaps they've altered em just enough that I would like em.
post #7 of 40
Have to agree with Cook-Jetto, I really do not like either Olive Garden or Red Lobster.

I love Italian food, but do not hold it against OG if it is not authentic, I only want the grub to taste good. I just don't enjoy the food, it is bland and uninteresting. Will go there under duress (when everyone else wants to go), but always have to search for something to eat.

Red Lobster is another matter. Have been dragged there a few times, different locations, and found the food poor at best. Their fish may be fresh, as they advertize, but is not cooked well. And the rest of the seafood offerings are to me tasteless and have clearly been long frozen. Have also had poor service which I find surprising because have always found fine service at OG, which is owned by the same corporation (Darden Restaurants). Now I refuse to go there.

I remember about eleven or twelve years ago, when we lived in Orlando, the Darden company launched a few test Chinese restaurants called, as I remember, China Coast. We walked in one, ordered a drink, looked at the menu, looked at the buffet, drank up, paid and left. It was not that the food was not authentic, we often eat in regular American style Chinese restaurants. It is just that the food looked awful. Later our friends told us they had been there and the food had no taste. The restaurants were closed about a year later.

It seems the Darden company searches for menus and cooking techniques that are sort of average - food no one will rave about but stuff no one can have too negative a reaction to.

Would rather go to a restaurant where someone is cooking food they think will interest the diner, no matter whether it is a clam shack, a sandwich shop, a rib joint, or a fine restaurant.

If I want bland, there are plenty of frozen foods I can buy, heat, and eat in front of the TV.

Just venting, sorry about the length of this. :D
post #8 of 40
Once upon a time I worked at an olive garden. Yeah, there food is far from authentic, uninspired, and appeals to the masses. But, they had there systems down! In my stint there, i saw rotten food in there walk ins twice. That was in a year and a half period. They do know how to be efficient.
My life, my choice.....
My life, my choice.....
post #9 of 40

Efficiency equals high profit margin

So I assume we're discussing ALL of the chains that fit in this category of cookie cutter, over-hyped, "froo-froo drink" havin', boil-in-the-bag sauce and soup "cookin", teenage server serviced, eateries that hire guys to heat up food that have little experience with food beyond warming up a frozen fish taco in the microwave? Yeah, dude! It's all about money! I can't eat in places like that because I'm jaded much like many others in this forum when it comes to places like that. If I'm forced to go with a group, I'll order some fries and bottled beer and say: "Wow, that bowl of Rasin Bran I had this morning really kept me full all day today. I'm tired. I think I'll just go to bed early tonight." Then on the way home, I stop at the nearest Labamba and order a burito as big as my head and pick up a twelve pack of Tecate and some fresh limes and have feista at mi casa. You want high class quality dining...out? I assume you know what's available in your local and you know it's not gonna be cheap! You know where the corporate executives eat? I got two words for you: table crumber.
post #10 of 40
I really dislike eating out. I tolerate Olive Garden on occasion because a particular friend of mine (a very nice, but very average joe) enjoys quantity versus quality and he can eat to his heart's content and I can stick to salad and unending refills of Coca-Cola.

I have found it increasingly difficult to find non-corporate restaurants.
post #11 of 40
Has anyone eaten at Biaggi's? They're a chain which operates mostly in the Midwest. It's quite good... amazingly consistent across the board. Not fancy, Hilton quality at Olive Garden prices.

They do a fantastic job at hiring and training. The industry could take a page out of, no, steal the whole book.
post #12 of 40
"consistent across the board"... by that you mean at each branch of the chain? Each is the same?

I'm on the odd side of food. One of the best meals I ever had was pupusas at a roadside stand in rural El Salvador. Give me different. ;)

Agreed that most people like consistency, however, and the ability to find what they're used to wherever they are.
post #13 of 40

Sad but true

O.G. is a thaw and serve monster. there breed of Italian, is just as bastardized as Pizza Huts vision of pizza.

I try to avoid corperate chains at ALL COSTS, but was draged to a Carrabbas, and honestly, it wasn't that bad. Things were freshly prepared, and the quiality was good. As far as "authentic" Italian, it wasn't, but it was good Italian-like food.

AS far as red lobster is concerened...people like bargain food, especially seafood. That is the only draw....unless you count the chedder biscuits.
Besides, being BDA born and breed, and living on a east coast resort town, I would get shot for going into a Red Lobster:D. If it is one thing we have here in V.B.(besides tourists) it is a pletheria of seafood places, some are really good too.
Like all good meals, this too shall pass
Like all good meals, this too shall pass
post #14 of 40
I went on a bus tour a couple of years ago with my (23) son. My Baby. As one would expect, there were more americans than any others. Most of them were very predictable. Large people in white shorts, tops and sneakers. We went from France to many other countries on the continent, and got to know each other a little. They were nice, and I liked them. But one of them would not eat the food provided. He insisted on the fast food places, like mcDs and Big Mac. He did not even eat the very well presented meal in Austria. A lovely, light, veal roast with rosti and veg. a touch of jus and the nicest bread roll I have ever enjoyed. Christian, as always, ate half of mine. We were a perfect fit, 1 and a half to 1/2. The waiter was an elderly cherub. He kept slipping things onto Christies plate. A lad so large in these countries can be seen. And in this case sneakily fed. What delight. But he was as skinny coming home as he was before he left. Never mind.

This is not what I meant to talk about. I do not know why people seek restaurants? like Mcmicks. When there is a local resto. right beside. When we got back to London, we just shambled all over the place. And ate in the strangest places, the american was not with us then, for which I am very pleased. It was the niece that was the bother. She was 18 and very beautiful in a proper way. In any event, we ended up in a Greek resto. Mum was at the till. I remember spreading my arms, exhausted from the Bond Street shopping overload. He asked what was the limit for food. We had a budget, sort of. I told him to order whatever his heart desired. Greek Mum abanded the till and saw to us herself. Christie ate about 10 kgs of various foods. I had their superior soup and a plate of olives. Mum from the till fussed continually. Over Christie, not me. How us mothers love to feed a lad. I have no idea what the bill was, I just paid it. Then we were put into a wonderful London taxi and arrived back at our hotel barely able to move. We slept 12 hours.
post #15 of 40
I actually went to Biaggi's once and got sick... sorry...

Red Lobster may suck but growing up in NE it was the only seafood restaurant within a two hour radius and the ones in the immediate outside radius weren't really much beter.

And here I'm in seafood heaven, but my date dragged me to Red Lobster last month. Ha!

I still don't mind that place, I enjoy the kitsch factor if not the food.
post #16 of 40
I am very happy and proud of my fellow Cape Codders to tell you the Red Lobster lasted only one season in Hyannis, Mass.

I was flabbergasted that some idiot would even contemplate putting a RL on Cape Cod.

However, I must admit the dreaded OG is pretty successful.

O well, one out of two is better than most places.
Don't mess with dragons. You will be crispy and taste good with catsup.
Don't mess with dragons. You will be crispy and taste good with catsup.
post #17 of 40
As a Massachusetts transplant (I was born and bred there, 18.5 years) I concur that Red Lobster is about the worst "seafood" I've had. The only time I've been there over the last few years was twice, and not necessarily by chioce. The food is tolerated at best, but if given options, it ain't one of them.

As for the Olive Garden, I've noticed changes in their food going more towards the reheat style, and I don't care for it either. Mrs. Big Dog loves their Fettuccini Alfredo, and there is enough there that I enjoy (even though it certainl isn't authentic) that we patronize on occassion.

I love their salad though. Best part about going to OG is the salad, IMHO.
"Life ain't always beautiful; Sometimes it's just plain hard. Life can knock you down, it can break your heart. Life ain't always beautiful: You think you're on your way. And it's just a dead end road, at the end of the day. But the struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise. And...
"Life ain't always beautiful; Sometimes it's just plain hard. Life can knock you down, it can break your heart. Life ain't always beautiful: You think you're on your way. And it's just a dead end road, at the end of the day. But the struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise. And...
post #18 of 40
It's the same thing with Outback Steakhouse. They have nothing whatsoever to do with Australia! The American owners just thought that would be a good theme for their restaurants.
That says a lot about our country, doesn't it?
post #19 of 40


i had the worst time at og in cape cod mass this past winter with my family. i told them i didnt want to eat there but we were on a small vaca and i didnt have a car so og it was. i got pork tenderloin which i wanted MR. she informed me she wasnt sure if they could cook it that way. when i asked why not she said it has to be cooked to 165, i told her she was wrong and thinking of ground meat. so she said ill see what they tell me and get back to you. that stupid no good *********never got back to me. in fact the pork was probably around 200 degrees. i meen it was so over over cooked no amount of sauce would make it good(plus the dish got no sauce). not to mention the vegtables tasted like nothing if they werent charred and burrned from the grill, the only minor saving grace is that the potatoes had sooooo much rosemarry on them along with enough oil to for an entire table to dip bread into, werent that bad. that is once i got them out of the puddle of oil and seasoned them. i hope i never have to go back to another og for the rest of my life.
Sweet Jesus
Sweet Jesus
post #20 of 40

Don't know a lot about OG, BUT I went to RL in Vegas...

...and it was singularly the WORST food I've had in a long time.

Someone in F&B management forgot to mention hiring someone that knows about preparing Lobster? It was completely inedible. Like trying to chew little chunks of cured silicone.
I spoke to the manager, nothing, wrote to them and absolutely NOTHING!

Outback...well...I haven't had a lot of seriously bad experiences with them. The grill cooks seem to all know how to treat their meat. <:rolleyes: > We've traveled a LOT and been to many in several states and it was all pretty good as far as commercial steakhouses go. We've also been comped and whatnot on the rare occasions when something was wrong or they were super busy. The only inconsistency is the bloomin onion. It's hard to do well. I understand that some of the better Outbacks have a prep/fry cook devoted to this one item, and it certainly shows. <considering just about every table orders one>

Conversely LONESTAR is the Outback equivalent in Australia. Lonestar in Oz rocks. Watching little Aussie waitresses trying to line dance is a hoot! They have a version of 'bloomin onion' but don't call it that...I think it's a cactus something or other but wouldn't swear to it in a court of law. Ironically enough Lonestar is also here and HERE it sucks little bits of burned meat.

I have never had a good meal at a Lonestar here. After the 3rd try I stopped going. I'd complain, they would get it right the second time. Hmmmm...

I THINK I went to an OG about 20 years ago but I'm not sure.

(lets you know how impressed I was)

post #21 of 40
Out of all the major chain restaurants out there, I consider Darden concepts to be at the top. I eat olive garden knowing that it isn't real italian food the same way I eat taco bell knowing it isn't real mexican food, doesn't change the fact that they are enjoyable when I get a craving.

When I applied for a host position at Red Lobster, I was required to take a basic skills/math test & a seperate personality test. My understanding is that every personality test is sent to their corporate office and reviewed. The corporate office then returns the personality test and informs the restaurant management whether or not they can hire the applicant. Ultimately, I ended up not getting the job due to my age. This is still a far more efficient way of weeding out troublemakers or laziness in the system as opposed to the typical interview process that most restaurants use.

Also, management positions in chain restaurants are supposed to pay really good (or so i hear). I have heard that the KM for the TGIF I used to work at makes $80g/year. Only makes me wonder what the GM is making.
post #22 of 40

DRAT! Olive Garden got me again!

Hopefully, I am not the only one here who does this. But, every 4 or 5 months or so, I get the hankering for Olive Garden. I know the food will suck and/or the service. But to satisfy my craving, I ignore my mind and follow my gut.

It happened again tonight. We went to OG and had a terrible time. We were sat promptly (giving me false hopes of a good time) which was then followed by 1) a lack of bread plates, 2) our entrees being brought out just moments after we started enjoying our soups; and 3) a waiter who forgot about our table.

I never realized how important it is to have a liquid...ANY LIQUID...to drink during a meal. We finished our drinks during the soup, and NO ONE stopped by to see if we needed anything. Until half way through our entrees. But by that time it was too late...no amount of water would help.

Why oh why do I go back...convenience isn't worth this hassle.

Seriously...I have never felt so parched during a meal ever!
post #23 of 40
Olive Garden or Red Lobster = Walmart or K-mart.
IMO Support your local Mom and Pop restaurants as they are quickly becoming extinct by these type of establishments.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
Fluctuat nec mergitur
post #24 of 40
I stay away from Red Lobster for a reason, but I did enjoy when my boyfriend and I went to Olive Garden in Des Moines. The server was friendly, the service was excellent, the food was really good for what it was, and I loved the salad. I don't go into Olive Garden expecting four-star perfection. In fact, I'd go there again.

I think that in most of these restaurants location makes a big difference. I also tend not to **** an entire chain for an experience had at one establishment. If I did that, I'd never eat at any franchise restaurant.

If you want good food for a decent price, Italian anyway, the Cucina Bravo is a good place to go. They have excellent food (I had the salmon with lobster butter as an entree and chose a lobster bisque soup over a salad as a starter), great service, and prices that are under $30 per person in most cases. In fact, my boyfriend and I are due for our bi-yearly trip.
post #25 of 40
Never ever been a fan of OG or RL. Just another Mc-King in disguise. Although I do like the other Darden Concept. Bahama Breeze. They seemed to have it on the ball there or atleast trhey did back in 2000-01. They opened a location in Henrietta NY.

I would stop in from time to time for a "5:01 Blues" cure. (worked the 7-5 shift at another place :smiles:) Anyhow speaking as an Italian, one of the better places that you could visit and have a great meal is Buca di Beppo. One of my favorite places. The n of course there's Maggiano's. But when it comes right down to it, for me the best Italian food and service is at home.:D
post #26 of 40
Another thing about chain restaurants that usually gets overlooked is the fact that each individual restaurant is not equal to another one. Each individual restaurant has unique management, cooks, chefs, waiters, etc... that make it somewhat unique when compared to another seemingly identical restaurant.

When I get the craving for Applebees, I drive an extra 20 mins to get to one that so far seems to know what they are doing. I wont eat at the one closest to my house.
post #27 of 40
The guy who created the Olive Garden concept for Darden now does restaurant consulting and owns a couple of chains in central Florida. Really amazing guy to talk too, I interviewed with him a while back for an exec position. This guy is a genius when it comes to restaurant operations.

Anyway I wonder if Olive Garden knows there is an ad for them at the bottom of all these posts?
post #28 of 40
Firstly, I love red lobster. Their menu and fish is terrible but they have the one thing I love most in the world: Lobster! You can't do lobster wrong. Boil it and throw it on a platter. When I have a hankering for lobster and don't feel like making a trip to the seafood market, this is my stop. I also like their stuffed mushrooms but I was able to duplicate the recipe at home and it tastes much better IMO. Plus lobster comes with a baked potato. I wouldn't have anything else on their menu though. Maybe a shrimp cocktail.

I hate olive garden. I think their food is bland, their salad is unoriginal, and their wine...ugh! The waiters haven't been taught anything about wine and they keep pushing it on you. Plus its always noisy. Its good for cheap food during their pasta specials though.
post #29 of 40

Yes you can...

Somebody forgot to tell the cook at RL when I went there for my birthday that you can indeed overcook lobster.

Can we say cured silicone boys and girls?


post #30 of 40
Well I guess you can overcook them (or under?)! But I've never had one at RL that was overcooked.

At RL I figure they have a chart that tells them how long to boil a lobster of a certain weight.
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