Recently KC Food Guy and I were provided gift cards to sample the fare at Bonefish Grill and their "closest competitor". That comparable turned out to be Red Lobster. Way to shoot for the stars Bonefish. I'm sure your customers enjoy the fact that they are faced with the nightly dilemma of choosing you or Red Lobster. What about aspiring for The Bristol or even M&S?
Anyway our joint review of Bonefish is contained in our archives. (I guess if I was computer savvy this is when I add a link to that story, but you'll just have to scroll down and find the damn story for yourself). I recently hit up the Red Lobster "riding solo" to get a good comparison of the two places.
First of all, the service was fantastic. From the initial greeter to my actual server, I was made to feel welcome and cherished as a customer. Bonefish wasn't rude by any accounts; it was just that Red Lobster made me feel truly welcomed.
I ordered a shrimp and steak combo. I felt like this was representative of a good comparison with our meal at Bonefish. I didn't think it would have been fair to get a full lobster or something and then try and compare the two places. The price of the meal was fairly economical coming in at around 15 bucks. I upgraded my side to the grilled asparagus for a few bucks more.
First of all, all meals at the Red come with a side salad and their legendary cheddar biscuits. The Biscuits were as good as I remembered them. The salad was stuck in 1982 and sucked. Some crappy looking iceberg lettuce with pre-fab croutons and some slices of cucumber made me feel as though I was getting a salad from Winsteads (yes they have salads there!).
The meal itself was solid. The steak was a smallish 5 ounce cut that was tasty but unspectacular. The shrimp was cooked to perfection, and while slightly over seasoned, it was good. When I mean cooked to perfection I mean not overdone (as most shrimp offerings are in places like the Red). I confirmed that the shrimp was actually placed on the skewer at the restaurant. There is no way that Bonefish does this.
Overall, the meal was good. Service was great. Drink selection was normal.
The big complaint most folks have about the Red is the price. They don't mind spending more cash at a nicer seafood joint. They just feel as though Red Lobster should be more economical.
I want to sincerely thank Bonefish for giving us the opportunity to sample their fare and put it to the test with another restaurant. I just didn't see a marked difference between the two places. And in my opinion that makes Red Lobster the winner. You see, when you choose to go to Bonefish you are choosing to have a better dining experience. You expect to pay more and also get better food. The food at Red Lobster was average seafood. You expect that... nothing more.
So maybe Bonefish is a victim of its own aspired standards? I don't know. I do know that if someone gave me a free dinner and the option of going to Bonefish or Red Lobster... I'd choose the Red.