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Bill’s Seafood – Westbrook, Connecticut

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Kind of a fun vibe going on here and by fun, I mean rough around the edges in a way where weekend bikers and prissy college girls can all go mingle, drink and feel tougher than they are.  It has a nice, large deck that’s very crowded with happy patrons on a warm summer day.  It overlooks some type of water, not very pretty though.  My friend Jill, who joined me that day, pointed out that I shouldn’t miss the “singing bridge” view, apparently a big draw here.  Frankly, I don’t get it, it’s not pretty and I didn’t hear any singing, just cars.

After setting up camp at a prime table on the deck, we ordered up some vino (yes, they have a full bar) and I asked about the lobster rolls.  Yes, the meat is fresh picked and cooked there, according to the waitress.  I was actually only going to order the cold version, but since she said it was fresh picked we ordered up a hot and cold lobster roll.  Kind of unusual, and a good thing, to have a choice.  Most places are committed to one version.

Upon arrival, they looked to be good sized rolls, slightly longer bun than usual, but the meat just looked, well, sloppy.  It just didn’t look as appealing as you would like it to.  It was kind of a mess, shreds, chunks, poorly distributed mayo, all just shoved into a bun in an uneven manner.  They just didn’t look that good, probably partly because we had just eaten the beautiful, lobster roll perfection served by High Tide Gourmet maybe two hours before.  The lobster rolls both weighed in at about a hearty 8.5 oz, generous amount.  Trying not to judge a book by it’s cover, I tried out both.  The cold was pretty good.  I could do without the lettuce and tiny bits of celery, but it had good flavor, not too much mayo, buttery split top bun.  Really, pretty good, but not so good I’d come back soon for it.  The hot was worse.  There was a lot of butter and that certainly never hurts a situation.  The problem was the meat.  As Jill put it, it tastes like how lobster ravioli tastes when it’s been sitting around hot for too long.  There was tail and claw in both, and if the waitress was correct about the fresh picked status, which I do feel like I’m questioning, this should have been great.  Booze sold, waterfront, fresh picked, choice of hot and cold.  Bill’s had all the elements, but somehow missed on bringing them together.

Then there’s the check.  I get lobster stands not taking credit cards, I don’t like it, but fine.  By the way, most these days do take credit cards, I mean you can get a credit card swiper on your phone now.  This place is a full service, year round restaurant that serves booze and they don’t take credit card.  With checks that size, to only take cash is a problem.  They point out that they have an ATM in the front, great.  I’ve heard all the arguments why places don’t take credit cards, mainly because the card companies charge a % of the transaction, but I would think that works out in your favor when you figure how much less people spend when they know they can’t outspend the amount of cash in their wallet.  All cash business also depend on a great deal of honesty at all levels of the business.  While at the front for the ATM, I stopped in the restroom and had to hold my breath the whole time because it reeked of urine.  This is the ladies room, on a Monday afternoon.  I can’t imagine how the mens room smells after a Saturday night.  Never a good sign at a food service establishment.

On the up side, the onion rings were quite good.  Also, they do have an ice cream stand outside that serves Gifford’s ice cream and the staff was all very pleasant and fun.  I’ll be back to Bill’s for an ice cream, but doubt I’ll return for the lobster roll.

Weighed in at 8.5 oz. for cold and 8.2 oz. for hot

Bill’s Seafood website

Visited July 2012

Bills Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

One Response »

  1. Common knowledge – businesses don’t like credit cards not just because of the CC fees — they under report their earnings. Can’t say I blame them.

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