I put out a plea. And Bubba Gump was there for me (29 minutes later).
@goodiesfirst With us and Bubba, of course!— BubbaGumpCo (@BubbaGumpCo) April 10, 2013
But really the deciding factor was that out of the many choices in a one-block radius, it was the only chain I'd never tried before. That shrimpy alien-eyed mascot in a top hat had beckoned many times in New Orleans, but I'm not a monster. Three visits in, there's no way that even I could justify allocating a dining occasion there in such a food-rich city. But I'm here all the time and have no problem sacrificing a meal in search of greater knowledge. Bubba Gump Times Square is a very YOLO experience.
I expected tourists. I did not expect foreign tourists. There's a heck of a lot of Italian, Spanish and British-accented English being spoken in line--and yes, there's a line, despite the multiple wood-planked dining rooms that sprawl along the second floor overlooking the northeast corner of 44th and Broadway. More American than New York, though, two diners will still be given a raised booth that could easily seat six, almost making it worth the wait. (For the record, Guy's American Kitchen, equally large, on the same block, looked like you could walk in and snag a table immediately.)
Are the foreigners Forrest Gump fans? I ask, because a friend who's worked in the Viacom building and wondered why anyone would line up, didn't realize the restaurant was themed after the movie. Memorabilia is everywhere and so are the cameras capturing it. My only interaction with the film was once choosing it over True Lies on an unusually hot Portland night because I was desperate for air conditioning, drunk, and I could get in free to movies. I missed the first half, and barely remember the second half.
They push the commemorative glasses with the cocktails, but you can buy your Sierra Mist, blue curacao, rum, vodka, gin and pineapple juice, a.k.a. the Blue Hawaiian, to consume in the normal manner, just renting the glass. The drink are sweet and you won't get drunk, despite the Long Island Iced Tea-esque list of ingredients. Even two stiff brown spirited cocktails at Rum House afterwards won't mitigate the aqua-ness.
Calories are listed on the menu, as is now the law, and no surprise, quite a few dishes break the 1,000 limit. Peel and eat shrimp will not (only 300, if you care). The most popular dish by far is the Shrimpers Heaven, basically 1,420 calories worth of fried shrimp every which way. Vacationers don't care.
If you want a little more cheese and fat, with spinach and artichokes thrown in, Bubba's Far Out Dip will suffice.
And if it's requisite breading and frying you're after, the coconut shrimp with a marmalade dip, supposedly Cajun, works and you don't even have to like seafood because of all the orange and coconut sweetness.
There is a dish called Bubba's After the Storm "Bucket of Boat Trash," which I hope makes more sense to those who paid better attention to the movie.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. * 1501 Broadway, New York, NY