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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tip Tuesday: The Garden Grove Seafood Sensation

Garden Grove restaurant

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to share my thoughts about the Garden Grove restaurant at the Swan resort.  Located on the main floor, the Garden Grove is comprised mainly of a single circular dining room with a artificial tree in the center.  The decor is light and airy.  Situated around the edge of the circle are buffet stations featuring all sorts of options (dinner only).  During breakfast and lunch hours, the Garden Grove offers a fairly standard menu with traditional breakfast fare and common lunch items.

What makes the Garden Grove so different is that the menu changes greatly during the week when it comes to dinner.  Dinner is served buffet style and the offerings were fairly good.

Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays feature a southern barbecue buffet complete with barbecue chicken, ribs, North Carolina pulled pork, beans and more.

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays feature a Mediterranean menu with pastas, baked fish, sausage and pepper, Beef Bourguignon and more.

For these two menus, adult price is (as of this writing) $29.99 each, kids $13.99.

Fridays, though, appear to be the most popular day of the week.  That's because Fridays mean the it's time for the seafood sensation menu.  My family was able to get an ADR for this Friday buffet, so I will share my thoughts.

First, this buffet is fairy large with snow crab legs, scallops, seafood paella, carving station and more.  If that wasn't enough, each table gets a huge bucket of fried shrimp and calamari.  But wait, there's more.  Each adult gets one half stuffed lobster (yes, half of a whole lobster -- tail, claw and all).  Now the lobsters aren't huge, but it's included in the price ($35.99 for adults, $14.99 for kids).  If a child wants a half stuffed lobster, it will cost an additional $10 per child.

There is so much food available here it's not even funny.  The lobsters may have been stuffed, but so was I.

While overall, I enjoyed the ambience of the restaurant, there were a few areas for improvement.

First, the service for the buffet areas was poor.  It took way too long to replenish many of the seafood offerings, especially the snow crab legs.  When they were finally replenished, they weren't as hot as I'd like.  They were cooked fine, but it appeared that they weren't brought straight out.

Second, the carving station attendant was missing often.  Too many times I was hoping to get a cut of beef or turkey and no one was there.

It very well could be that I happened to dine on an off night.  I'm not sure if these issues are consistent or I just happened to catch a bad day.

These two issues aside, the Garden Grove seafood sensation is a fine alternative to the Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club.  While I still prefer Cape May, it can be difficult to get an ADR there, whereas you might be able to get away with a walkup at the Garden Grove, depending on your time.

Just one more reason why you should keep the Swan and Dolphin in mind when you make your dining plans.

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