â€ś Address: c/o LandryÂ’s Inc / 1510 W Loop South / Houston / Texas 77027 / USA â€ž
We ate at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co on our recent trip to San Francisco and, whilst the food was OK and the service good, I wasn't bowled over by the whole experience to be honest. It was nice enough, but it has all the trappings of being part of a big chain where deep fried food and a reliance on a tenuous theme are the order of the day.
-About the Restaurant-
Like I said, this is a themed restaurant based on the film Forrest Gump. It's a long time since I have seen the film so I'm not sure what the specific connection is, but there are lots of things in the menu that relate to characters in the film. You also have little placards on your table that say 'Run Forrest, Run' and 'Stop Forrest, Stop' which you display according to whether or not you need a waiter to stop. I'm not sure why you can't just call someone but then I suppose that wouldn't be thematic. The theme in general is quirky and fun, but like I said a bit tenuous.
The chain is American based although it also has branches in the Far East and in Mexico. The restaurants tend to pop up in very popular locations, such as Times Square in New York City. This branch is on Pier 39 - a very busy and fun filled area of Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. I think it is a great place to have the restaurant to be honest because it is in keeping with the atmosphere of the pier - fun and simple.
-Booking and First Impressions-
We tried to book a table the day before because the restaurant is right at the end of Pier 39 and has lovely views over the Bay and to Alcatraz Island and we wanted to get a table by the window. The very helpful waiter at the welcome booth told as that they didn't take bookings. The restaurant is so big that I think it would be unlikely that you would ever have to wait for a table, but a window seat is less likely and it is a shame you can't book them.
The restaurant is big and airy and lined with windows so it creates a nice open space by the sea. The walls are covered with sea related memorabilia such as giant fishing nets and the like.
-The Food and Service-
As the name suggests, Bubba Gump's serves mainly shrimp and it serves them in more ways than you could imagine. We opted to try a bit of everything with the combination starter, the 'Run Across America Sampler' which contains five of the restaurant's most popular choices. I particularly enjoyed the Far Out Dip, which was full of flavour and served with crispy tortilla chips and the unusual but tasty corn and shrimp Hush Pups.
For main course I went for the fish and chips whilst my husband opted for Mama Blue's Southern Charm Fried Shrimp. Both were tasty and well cooked, the fish was lovely and white and coated in a very light batter the shrimp was good but maybe a little bland. Unfortunately the main courses were cold when they arrived though, which is obviously a big no-no. The reason for this was that they had initially brought the main courses when we were only half way through our starters. It didn't just seem to be a mistake either though because when we said that we were still eating our starters the waiter asked if we wanted the mains just leaving on the table then! He eventually took them back to the kitchen but I strongly suspect that they were just kept warm and not very successfully either.
We didn't bother to complain about the temperature of the food though in the end because we were so full from the giant starter that we couldn't have managed anything more anyway and I'm not one for complaining for the sake of it, it did somewhat sour the meal though unfortunately.
-The Price and Value for Money-
The total cost of our bill, for two courses and a couple of alcoholic drinks each, was around $90 including taxes but excluding tip. To be honest I don't think it was particularly good value for money. Whilst the portions were huge, I thought the food was a little bland. In fact I'd go as far as saying that the names of the dishes were much more inspired that the dishes themselves.
Overall I would say that it is OK, like I said at the beginning, I wasn't bowled over but it was an average experience, with average food but great views. It is what it is - simple, chain restaurant food served in quirky surroundings.