Gladstone's gets reamed

It's not often that the LAT rates a restaurant "poor," but then again, there aren't many places more deserving than the Malibu assembly line. This week, Leslie Brenner does the honors (she subbing for S. Irene Virbila), and her overall verdict on the food is "abominable." Plus, it'll cost you; prices are beyond belief. One of those iced seafood towers weighs in at $75, and for all that money (we're talking about a full tank of gas for many of us)Brenner found the shrimp "drowning in a pool of melting ice water" and having a "terrible off-taste." Gladstone's clambake for two, which the servers apparently push hard, runs $95, and a one-and-a-half pound lobster goes for $50.

Dinner for five? I almost fall out of my chair when I get the bill: It's just over $500, before tip, and we didn't even order a bottle of wine. (We had three cocktails between us, three glasses of wine and one beer.) That's Pacific Coast Highway robbery.

None of this will make much difference to a money machine that took in $14.5 million last year, according to the Gladstone's management. Never underestimate the willingness of folks to eat crappy food at stratospheric prices - just so long as it's on the water (even though many diners don't have much of a view). I can just imagine the Gladstone’s owners shrugging their shoulders - who even reads papers these days? The place has been a dump for as long as I can remember, and yet it sells 500 pounds of shrimp and seats 1,500 to 3,000 people per day. This isn't a restaurant - it's a slop-eteria.

Parmesan halibut. Salmon pesto pasta. Something called "Gladstone's original seafood molcajete: Hot lava cauldron filled with scallops, shrimp, 6-ounce lobster tail, panela cheese, bell peppers, onions, cactus and ranchero sauce." Memo to chef: With few exceptions, fish doesn't go with cheese.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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