Chow, Baby: Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Blue Goose, Black Eye

Searching for a nice seafood restaurant in a town 300 miles from the sea reminds Chow, Baby of John Cleese’s line in the 1986 movie Clockwise: “It’s not the despair. I can stand the despair. It’s the hope.” Chow, Baby, still mourning Water Street Seafood Company, had high hopes for the similarly named Blue Goose Fish Company. Despair kick-started when Chow, Baby’s navigator pointed to a former Black-Eyed Pea on the grounds of Grapevine Mills, as if Blue Goose knows its only hope is a captive audience with low blood sugar. Despair rumbled into second gear with truly wretched sangria ($4.50), a sans-fruit mixture of, seemingly, Two-Buck Chuck and Hawaiian Punch. Despair red-lined with the appetizers — limpid thawed-shrimp cocktail with zest-free tomato juice ($7.95) and rubbery calamari with a frail remoulade ($7.95). The gum stuck under the table had more gusto than anything on the top.

Hope re-entered the race on the back of Chow, Baby’s grilled tuna ($14.95). With a great fresh-fish taste and texture, it gloried in its nudity — no marinade, no herbs & spices, nothing but plain steamed vegetables and boring white rice. The navigator didn’t care for her fish, though; Chow, Baby could tell because she asked, repeatedly, “Is this what grouper is supposed to taste like?” At $16.95, that’s not a good sign. Rock-bottom despair came with dessert: Both the insipid key lime pie and the gloppy flourless chocolate cake ($4.95 each) had apparently been frozen, thawed, and left to sit around until no hint of flavor remained. Which seems to be the whole idea at Blue Goose.

Beat the Clock

Chow, Baby is built for comfort but can turn on the speed when absolutely necessary — like when the buffet at Le Port Surf & Turf is 12 minutes from shutting down and Chow, Baby hasn’t yet gotten its $17.99’s worth ($8.99 at lunch). Le Port’s alleged closing time is 10pm on weekends, but Chow, Baby and sweetie arrived at the former Black-Eyed Pea (1925 Airport Fwy, Bedford) at 9:18 to find near-empty steam tables and the de-aproned staff hanging out at the bar. Pretty blue walls, though.

Three minutes for appetizers: Boiled shrimp, great; sushi and raw oysters sitting out who knows how long, pass; king crab legs, looking good but too time-intensive; more boiled shrimp. Six minutes for main course: Good thing the grill-to-order steaks and fish are paper-thin — a sliver of ribeye for sweetie, a teeny yet delightful red snapper fillet for Chow, Baby. Too bad there’s no time for seconds; must scrape the bottom of the steamer tables for salmon Wellington, fried rice, tough steak with “house sauce,” stuffed shrimp, crusty potatoes au gratin, and meaty baby-back ribs. Three minutes for dessert: Pretty good pecan pie, pretty bad flan, and a bunch of weird-colored cheesecake-wannabes that all tasted pretty much the same (chalky). Well, that’s what Chow, Baby gets for going to a buffet right before closing. And for going to two ex-Black-Eyed Peas in the same week.

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