CJ, you want to talk lobster, fine, I’ll talk lobster. (I do believe you’ve heard this story already, my apologies for the repeat)
The year was 1993 and I was a much younger and ambitious Jr at this time, I took a vacation with what would turn out to be my future wife and in-laws. The location of the vacation…Las Vegas. Now let me explain to you my father in law is what would best be described as a bit of a frugal man, while he enjoys drinking and gambling and having a good time, to him, fine dining is a waste of your drinking and gambling budget. A “foodie” he is not.
This being my first trip to Vegas I truly had dreams of grandeur, breaking the bank, Presidential Suits, last call with Wayne Newton and a few show girls thrown in for good measure. Well after a week of losing every single bet I made, from the first $1.00 I put into a slot machine in the airport gate after landing, to the desperate last ditch $100. on black…please dear God, please dear God, please dear God, only to hear; 12 RED!!! I lost every single bet for 5 days and to add insult to injury I had every meal at every $ . 99 buffet Vegas had to offer. Powdered eggs, grits and horse meat prime rib were just not cutting it anymore.
Since we were in Vegas I couldn’t help but notice on the top of every taxi, side of every bus and on several billboards was an advertisement for the Rosewood Grille steak and lobster house, Vegas Finest. I would drool every time I saw one of these adds, and on our last night in Vegas, I couldn’t stomach another night of losing my money, but I could sure stomach a good steak. So I made the offer to my fellow vacationers (my future brother and sister in laws) to join me for dinner at the Rosewood Grille. Dinner for all on me!!! (I figured I would use my projected gambling losses and put them to better use)
You can’t walk into a place like this with a table for 10 without reservations and expect to be seated immediately so after giving our name to the Maitre D’ we made our way to the bar. My FIL being a drinker, like myself, we decided to start with the 100 year old Grand Marnier they had proudly displayed on the bar. Approximately an hour and half a bottle+ of Grand Marnier later, our table was ready and we made our way, albeit rather staggered to our table.
The waiter came to take our order, starting from my left; “I’ll have stuffed lobster” next person “I’ll have surf and turf” next person “I"ll have the lobster tails” and so on and so on and so on…finally it was my turn to order last, rather proud of myself for taking control of the evenings events I asked the waiter this question; “How many various forms of lobster do you have for the table”…he repeated the orders to me…to which I said;
“cancel all those orders for lobster and just bring us your biggest lobster!!” The waiter trying to politely warn me placed his hand on my shoulder and said; “But Sir…” in a semi-drunken obnoxious manner I brushed his hand off my shoulder and said; " BRING ME YOUR BIGGEST LOBSTER"!!! With that the waiter repeated " Yes Sir, 1 order of our biggest lobster"…and left the table.
Appetizers, soups salads all came and went as the night progressed we were all enjoying the good food, company and ambiance of one of Vegas’s best steakhouses/ seafood restaurants. As the time neared that I expected our entree’s to be served I couldn’t help but notice much of the help were asking people to move their chairs in slightly, moving a wine bucket here, a person nudged over there…all in what seemed to be an odd path from the kitchen to our table. It literally seemed like they were trying to clear a landing strip from the kitchen doors, approximately 50 feet away, to our table. Obviously curious as to what was happening the lights suddenly dimmed in the restaurant, at the same time the piped in Sinatra playing in the background all night stopped and a booming God like voice announced;
" Ladies and Gentlemen…welcome to the Rosewood Grille Las Vegas premier steak and seafood house proudly serving our customers since 1980. Many of you might have noticed our many billboards, and advertisements with our Manager Enrique in which he is holding Pierre’s our mascot and staple resident of our specially designed tank where he has lived for the past 7 years…Tonight table 115 ordered Pierre…!!!" With that the doors to the kitchen swung open, 4 servers as if carrying a coffin, carried a full sized baking sheet on which rested Peirre’ the lobster pictured in this advertisement. The announcer went on to give us a brief history of Pierre’s life; “He was approximately 60 years old has had between 50,000 and 150,000 children and 1,000,000. + grandchildren…and tonight table 115 will enjoy him”…and with a rather dramatic “thud” they dropped the baking sheet bearing Pierre on my table, and the waiter proudly proclaimed “That Sir, Is our BIGGEST LOBSTER”…and walked away.
The women of the table got up screaming…it looked like a cross between a high school biology project and a first year medical students cadaver. I had to request it removed from the table, and they would bring us out chunks of meat roughly the size of a 14oz NY Strip Steak. It was tough…it was horrible, after my first piece I had enough…my father in law being “frugal” wasn’t gong to let it go to waste, he ate portion after portion after portion. I do not know if he finished Pierre…and to be honest I couldn’t care less if he did.
23 years later I still have this advertisement we brought home from that night…I also have a picture somewhere of my brother in law, a larger man himself, holding that big claw up next to his head, and the claw was larger than his head.
That my friends is my lobster story. I swear to God on my children’s lives the major details are 100% accurate and true.