You did it! Congratulations! World’s Best Cup of Coffee! Well…not quite but, it is Post 100!!! Woo-Hoo! Schwing! Party Horn! Cow Bell! Fireworks!
I can’t believe we have hit the milestone of Post 100! Thank you to all of my followers, both new and old, for reading and (hopefully) enjoying this blog! I have big plans for Grandma’s Backyard in 2012 and you should be stoked that you are on board. Okay, enough with the jibber-jabber, let’s talk Post 100.
As I was getting closer and closer to Post 100, the talk came up at work as to what I would possibly post about. 100 posts is a true milestone and we decided that I should do something really nice and fancy for Post 100. While Skyline may be fancy on most days to me, I needed something truly fancy and over the top for Post 100. Bam! It came to me! Shula’s Steakhouse! Schwing. We would be visiting Shula’s for New Years Eve and, since it is the most expensive restaurant I visit, I decided it would be best for Post 100.
Shula’s Steakhouse is located in the Hilton in Naples (literally right next to where I work). Shula’s is known for legendary steaks and the side items are served to feed multiples. We have been to Shula’s a number of times and while I am not a huge fan of it, you are typically guaranteed a really nice meal. Shula’s requests that guests do not wear jeans or sneakers so I threw on a sweater & skirt – a big deal for Nicki if it’s not work. Our reservation was for 6:30 on New Year’s Eve and we arrived at about 6:20pm. The restaurant was quite full yet we were brought to our table a few moments after check-in.
After we were seated, we met our waiters. Shula’s provides two waiters per table. One waiter basically cares for your needs (water, drinks, extras) and the other waiter explains the menu (which is located on a football) and takes your order. After we ordered our drinks, we waited quite a while for them to arrive. I was already unimpressed with our waiters – not a good way to start the night. Shula’s waiters will explain the menu via the meat cart. The meat cart contains examples of all of their pieces of steak along with seafood options. Since this was not our first visit to Shula’s, we opted to not see the cart. While I enjoy the presentation, Mommy is not a big fan. Shula’s was also offering a special menu for the evening in addition to the normal menu. You had your choice of 4 courses from a number of choices, all for $65. When our waiters arrived back to take our order, we were ready to go.
Mommy decided to order the special menu with her choices being: Lobster Bisque, Tomato & Gorgonzola Salad, 6 oz Filet Mignon with Crab Meat topper and Seven Layer Chocolate Cake. Taylor ordered the 12 oz Filet Mignon and I ordered the Mahi-Mahi, grilled. Since you share sides at Shula’s, we opted for the Lobster Mashed Potatoes and the Creamed Spinach. After we put our order in, we also requested some bread. Our bread was brought out along with Mommy’s Lobster Bisque soup. The bread was served in a half-loaf and tasted like sourdough. The bread was semi-warm and not overly flavorful. While I could tell that it was indeed sourdough, I was not overwhelmed with the sourdough flavor. The crust was crispy and the interior was somewhat chewy. While not the best bread, it was okay.
I also tried a few bites of the Lobster Bisque soup. The soup was very thick in consistency yet did not have many large chunks of lobster. While you could see the pieces of lobster, they were not all too big. I thought the soup was okay – not bad but not great. The soup lacked any true flavor. While there were light hints of cheese and lobster, the flavors did not mesh well and there was no true winning flavor. The portion size was somewhat smaller than I would have imagined yet it was just enough as a taster. After we received the soup, the restaurant really started to fill up around us. The volume in Shula’s got significantly louder which I don’t think was a good thing. I also found that our waiters did not come over too frequently as my drink began to empty rather quickly. Once they did come out, they cleared the soup and dropped off the Tomato & Gorgonzola Salad.
The salad contained large slices of tomato and a lot of gorgonzola cheese. I am not a huge fan of gorgonzola cheese so I only tried a bite or two of the salad. The greens were crisp, the tomato very tasty and the dressing was sweet. As I mentioned, I don’t love gorgonzola cheese so the cheese to me was just fine. I think this salad would have been much better with feta cheese or mozzarella cheese. It wasn’t bad and the portion was fair. After Mommy finished the salad, we waited quite a while for the plate to be cleared. Once it was cleared, we waited for our meal to arrive.
Quite a while later, our meal finally arrived. Shula’s requests that guests cut their steaks when they arrive, so they can inspect them with a flashlight and assure that they have been cooked properly. Both Mommy and Taylor’s steaks were cooked correctly so our waiters dropped all of our food and went on their merry way. Before they left, I requested some cocktail sauce for my mahi-mahi. As I waited, I served myself some Lobster Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach.
The lobster mashed potatoes were normal mashed potatoes with lobster and cheese baked on top. I really think they used the lobster bisque soup on top because it tasted nearly identical to the soup. The mashed potatoes were very thick and somewhat bland. The lobster and cheese on top tasted like the lobster bisque soup – once again neither ingredient offered too much flavor on their own or together. I did like how the lobster & cheese worked with the mashed potatoes. The final product was flavorful yet not to the point of being overbearing. The lobster and cheese provided the potatoes with the flavors they were really missing. Once again, these were okay but not great. This was our first time ordering these as our potato and we all agreed we would not need to have them again.
The creamed spinach looked very good and quite thick as I scooped some onto my plate. As I began to eat it, I immediately tasted garlic. As I continued, I received flavors of parm cheese and spinach. The creamed spinach was very thick and contained equal flavors throughout. I do believe the garlic was a bit overpowering after each bite was swallowed. During the chewing process, the flavors seemed to mix well together but garlic was certainly left in your mouth after each swallow. The spinach itself was cooked well and very tender. I usually don’t have garlic or parm cheese in my creamed spinach but, I thought the flavors meshed well together and overall, I enjoyed it. This has always been our favorite vegetable side as the broccoli at Shula’s is normally undercooked and under flavored. Once again, we all enjoyed the creamed spinach and will continue to order it in the future.
Once my cocktail sauce finally arrived, I started on my mahi-mahi. The piece I received was quite large and had light grill marks on top and bottom. I cut into the piece and found it to be moist and quite juicy. I ate a piece of the fish all on its own and the flavors I received were sub-par. Yes, the fish was cooked well and juicy but, it just really didn’t have a ton of flavor. Using the cocktail sauce as an accompaniment to the mahi-mahi did help quite a bit. This was certainly a large portion of mahi-mahi but it just didn’t wow me. As I continued to eat the piece, I found myself getting somewhat bored with the flavor of it. I did like the fact that it tasted very fresh and not salty or processed. The fish worked really well with the lobster mashed potatoes, more so than it did with the creamed spinach. Without the side items and the cocktail sauce, I would have had a really hard time finishing this mahi-mahi. Yes, it was good but, as with the rest of the meal, I just wasn’t overly impressed.
Mommy really enjoyed her steak & crab meat as did Taylor. They have always felt that Shula’s makes the best steak. Since I do not care for steak, I did not try either one. Both stated that the steak’s flavors were great and it was so tender that you could cut it with your fork. Once we finished our meal, we waited quite a while for our plates to be cleared. Our main waiter really ignored us and our secondary waiter had too many tables to really give any of us any attention. Once our plates were finally cleared, we received a dessert menu. Since we would be getting the Seven Layer Chocolate Cake with Mommy’s special meal, we decided not to order any other desserts. Eventually a waiter came back, we let them know and waiter for the chocolate cake.
When the Seven Layer Chocolate Cake arrived, it looked great. We also received our bill with the cake. The slice was quite large and full of layers of cake and creamy frosting. The cake also had a thick chocolate mousse and chocolate shards along the outside layer. The cake was served at room temperature and held together just fine. We all tried a few bites of it and still had plenty left over. The cake was moist and the chocolate frosting/mousse/shards were all quite good. The cake did not have an overpowering chocolate flavor which I believe is the key to good chocolate cake. The cake allowed the frosting/mousse/shards to assist with providing an overall great chocolate flavor. After we decided we were done with the cake, we waited and waited and waited for a waiter so we could request a box.
Since we had received our bill with the cake, and paid right away, neither one of our waiters ever came back to our table. After waiting quite some time to request a box, a manager finally walked by. I was able to flag him down, inform him our waiters were m.i.a. and request a box. He brought a box and boxed up our remaining half of chocolate cake. (side note – the chocolate cake was even better after it has been in the fridge for a few hours). We paid the bill and were on our way. For any of you who have not been to Shula’s, let me inform you of their price range. Steaks start at $45, seafood starts at $20 and all sides start at $8. Our final bill was just under $200.
Overall, our meal at Shula’s was nice. It was a special way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. If our waiters were actually good, I think our overall experience would have been great. The food was good but, to me, certainly not worth the price. I think next year on New Year’s Eve, I will skip the mahi-mahi all together. It is really just not worth the price. We will certainly order the creamed spinach again but not the lobster mashed potatoes. Shula’s is a great place for a special occasion and if you enjoy steak, you should try your best to go. We experienced the worse experience with waiters ever on this visit. In the past, the waiters catered to your every need and really made the visit even nice. This was just not the case on this visit which is really unfortunate.
So, was Shula’s really worth the spot of Post 100? Yeah, I guess so. It is somewhere that I don’t frequent and a step out of the box. Jeez, I can’t believe this is really Post 100. When Grandma’s Backyard first began, I blogged about everything I ate, every single day. This morphed into occasional posts about items and then to where we are now. Post 100 has now come and gone. I raise my glass (full of either Water, Diet Coke or Unsweet Tea) to you and thank you for reading. Here is to the next 100 Posts…may the journey to get there be even better than before and may the eating be sweet. Post 100…thank you.