Thursday, December 23, 2010

Birthday Bonanza at Bubba Gump's

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
321 West Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802

Another blog post, another birthday. This time it is Katie's sister Emily's turn to blow out the candles. Last year we went to the Loft at the Montage for her birthday, and this year we are headed to another of her favorite restaurants, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

I have never been to a Bubba Gump restaurant before. They started in Monterey, California in March of 1996. Now in their fourteenth year, they operate 33 restaurants, including such exotic locales as, Malaysia, Japan and the Philippines. Bubba Gump's are usually located in high traffic, tourist areas. Another claim to fame for Bubba Gump's is that they are the only major restaurant chain to be based upon a motion picture, (Forrest Gump, for the two people left on earth that have not seen it).

For Emily's birthday we had a party of twelve, (she is a very popular girl). We arrived at about six on a rainy Sunday night. We had reservations but, I had heard that the wait was running about fifteen to thirty minutes, at this Garden Walk location.  All of us seated, this is what we got to eat.

We ordered the three appetizers above. None of these really impressed any of us. The Onion Rings were pretty pedestrian, and over-priced at $7.99. That worked out to just under eighty cents per onion ring, not worth the price, even if they were gold plated. The Mama Gump's Garlic Bread Basket was next.  Rachel put it best when she said, "The garlic bread had too much butter, and very little garlic". Lastly, we had the so-called Best Ever Popcorn Shrimp. This was heavily breaded, which really took away the shrimp flavor. The sauce served with this helped a little, but not enough.

Above is the All-American Burger and Fries, or as Kevin called it, "the best burger I have ever had!". I did not get to try this burger, but it did look juicy, and the cheese was perfectly melted. If I ever go back I will have to try this to see if it would be my best burger ever.

Here is something that I did try, my choice for dinner, the Shrimp New Orleans. I liked the spicy after taste of this dish, the shrimp however, did not stand out to me. I also would have liked more bread to sop up the sauce that came with this. A pretty average meal. I am also not a big fan of shrimp served with the tails on. I am sure this makes them seem fresher, but it is just a quirk I do not like.

Jimmy went south of the border for his choice of dinner with the Baja Shrimp Tacos. These three shrimp tacos are served with Mayan salsa, avocado tomatillo sauce, and Mexican crema. These condiments could not save this meal from Jimmy's wrath. He called this dish, "un-spectacular, and nothing he could not have made better at home".

The shrimp parade continues with Katie's, "I'm Stuffed!" Shrimp. These shrimp were stuffed with crab stuffing, then baked in garlic butter, and topped with jack cheese. Katie felt that this dish was very rich, and really salty. I tried one of the shrimp, and it was okay, it did not wow me.

Sara's choice for dinner was the, "Of Course We Have Scampi!". Here the shrimp were sauteed with capers in a lemon garlic sauce, and served over linguini. Sara claimed that this dish was very sour, and the lemon really took over the plate. I would just say that this dish matches her personality, sour. I am just kidding Sara, you know you are my favorite!

What we have here is Rachel's pick, the Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp. Rachel felt that this should have been called the bad luck coconut shrimp. She did not feel very lucky to have picked this. I tried this and felt that the breading that was used on this was dry, and plain tasting. The coconut was not very prominent, and the shrimp was buried under the odd breading.

Marcy, the health nut amongst us, ordered the Pear & Berry Salad. This salad consisted of greens, chicken, strawberries, pears,  glazed pecans, feta cheese, and was served with raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing. Marcy felt that the berries in this were very fresh, and of a high quality. She also mentioned that she liked the dressing.

Katie's Mom, Lynn went with the Shrimp & Veggie Skewers. These large shrimp were surrounded on the skewers by red bell peppers, red onions, squash and zucchini. They were served with jasmine rice and lemon garlic sauce. Lynn was not a fan of this dish. She stated that she was, "very disappointed with this". She felt that this was very bland and lacking in taste.

Our birthday girl went big with her choice for dinner, (actually she split this with her boyfriend). Emily got the Shrimper's Heaven. This had coconut shrimp, chilly shrimp, fried shrimp, tempura shrimp, and fries. Now Emily is not the worlds biggest eater, and she left most of this on her plate. I do not think it is because she didn't like this, but she was probably just excited about turning another year older.

So what were our general thoughts about Bubba Gump's? I thought that the place was trying to hard, the service and food were just about average, the prices were too high for what you got, and the whole atmosphere seemed hokey, even for the tourists.  I also found it odd that they chose to base a restaurant around Forrest Gump. Sure I liked the movie when it came out, but that was many years ago.

It has now become tradition that I include a picture of Emily on her birthday. So here she is showing off some of the bling that she received for her birthday. Happy birthday day Em, I can not wait to see where you pick to go for your birthday next year.

Out of five boxes of chocolates, (yes I took the easy way out here!), five being best to zero being worst, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company gets 1.5 boxes of chocolate.

For more information on Bubba Gump's, click here:

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on Urbanspoon

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