Oh Bobby, don’t you know we’re in a recession?
Bobby Chez Seafood
Cherry Hill, NJ
Price: $30 (3 people)
Menu: HTML/Website Menu
Meal: Dinner / Weeknight / 6pm (Takeout)
Having seen several of the local chains, I’d never actually eaten any of Bobby Chez’ renowned seafood fare. Last week, though, I decided to give in for the sake of science, country, and all things Chewru. With Autumn at my side, I grimaced at the price list and muttered my order to the obligatory-friendly staff. Looking around, I noticed a super-clean, spacious and otherwise upscale interior certainly fitting of the ‘premium’ feel. We didn’t wait more than a minute or two for our partially-cooked items (you can instruct them to fully cook if you wish, but it takes a while), and headed back home.
Since it took 15 minutes to cook most of what we ordered, we had to nervously pace around and watch a horrible series of infomercials. Major loss of points there. In all, we ordered a chicken pot pie, three crabcakes (one of the mini variety), and a shrimp puff. As far as portions were concerned, we’d classify the pot pie as medium (enough to share with another, but really a full meal for one person), the regular-sized crab cakes as large (huh?), and the mini crabcake and shrimp puff more like appetizers. As we’ve alluded to, the cost for these items can vary dramatically depending on what you’re ordering. We thought the pot pie and the mini crab cakes were fairly priced, but wished the larger crab cakes and shrimp puffs ($7.50 and $6.50 respectively) were a touch cheaper. Their homemade salads were grossly overpriced ($9 for a couple ounces of seafood salad? $10 for mashed potatoes?), and we accordingly avoided them.
Pricing aside, we understand why people continue to support the franchise. The food is absolutely wonderful. Starting with their signature crab cakes, we were not disappointed. Filler-free and fresh, they melt in your mouth (provided you cook them properly!) and remind you why you love crab meat. The shrimp puff, best described as a loosely-held-together and breaded ball of detailed-shrimp in a zesty sauce, was also terrific. Although not numerous, the shrimp were fairly sized, very flavorful, and different enough to forget you may have just paid a buck per shrimp. We liked the pot pie for its chunky chicken bites and flakey top, but we had to add some pepper to give it a little more flavor. The three of us ate the items with additional food we prepared at home – so it’s important to note that the $30 didn’t cover three people with average diets.
Overall, Bobby Chez lives up to its billing as a gourmet seafood joint. If you like top of the line seafood and don’t mind the expense, we recommend you try the crabcakes and let us know about the other delicious-looking offerings like their fresh fish, scallops, and clam strips. For the Zagat crowd with unlimited income, Bobby Chez is a perennial hit. For the rest of us, they’re a great song most economically played only once in a while. Still, our score will reflect what is certainly a labor of love for the hometown franchise. We need good businesses in our neighborhoods that aren’t selling out to multi-trillion dollar corporations, and for that we think Bobby Chez has just enough balance to keep their offerings top-notch for many years to come.
– Hometown franchise
– Great crabcakes (we’d make the news if we disagreed!)
– Excellent presentation
– Clean and spacious interior
– In-house seating is really only cosmetic
– Expect 15-20 minutes to complete cooking of most orders
– Some menu items astronomically priced
Guru’s Score: 4.4 Chews
Subjective rating: We’ll go back.. in a few months.
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