Legal Seafoods

When you are at a shopping mall, you are limited to food options than what is there inside the shopping mall (unless you are willing to leave the mall and go back afterwords).  We went to a mall on one weekend, and decided to have lunch there as well. Just as I expected, we had limited options. As we walked around the mall, we spotted Legal Seafood. We always enjoy seafood, and they had nice, large menu, so we decided to give it a try.  The interesting thing about this restaurant was that, even though it was inside the shopping mall compound, but you have to go outside the building in order to get inside of the restaurant. I am not sure why they made the entrance to be only accessible from outside… I wonder what they do during a stormy day? I am not sure people would want to go outside in the storm just to dine here. Maybe they will utilize the side doors that they have, which opens up to the inside of the mall. Regardless, we went outside for a brief moment in the cold, and saw their entrance is guarded by a giant gold fish. They take “theatrical” pretty seriously by the look of it.

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Once we got (back) in to the warmth, we were welcomed by some koi fish under the floor. Pretty cool to look at while waiting for a hostess to come take you to your seats.

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The inside was quite large, they had nice bar area to the right of the entrance, and then lots of booth and table seating that goes all the way back. I don’t even know how many customers they can get inside, it really was huge space.

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They had kind of nautical themed light fixtures, which I have seen very similar (or many the same) ones at other seafood restaurants. It was quite empty, even thought it was lunch time on a weekend. Which was good so that it was not loud. I can’t imagine how loud it can get if the place was packed.

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And, as if that amount of seating space was not enough, they had extension to this large dining area, which can be used as a private dining space for a party or something. We saw a group of people leaving from that room when we got there, I wonder if they had the space rented out? After they finished clean up the room and put all the table and chairs back where they belong, they opened up the glass door, so I could see the inside of the room, which really was just an extension of the dining room.

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So, there we were, hungry for some seafood. Fist, we ordered Crispy Montauk Calamari ($13.95) for appetizer. While we waited for the food, they brought us some bread, which were nice, soft bread, but nothing really special. They offer calamari in four different style, and we chose Rhode Island Style, which comes with hot peppers and garlic. The portion was not so big, but they were very tasty. The hot pepper had nice kick to it, and garlic added extra flavor, and the marinara sauce was pretty good too. But, for $13.95, I was hoping for much more calamari…

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I was starting to worried their portion-to-price, I thought a huge, family restaurant type like this would be generous with food portion. Anyways, we ordered Legal’s Crab Cake Sandwich ($17.95) with french fries, and Fish & Chips ($16.95) as our main. The sandwich comes with jumbo lump crab on a bun with mustard sauce. They gave a generous amount of fries, and it also came with cole slaw. The crab cake was not really in “cake” form, but more like “lumps,” making it very difficult to eat, as they crumbled with each bite.

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Another interesting thing about this sandwich was that it had extremely thick slice of tomato in it. And they created the sandwich with lettuce on the bottom, then tomato, then crab “lumps”, so it was really hard to keep it all together. Pretty soon, it became more of a sandwich with lettuce and giant tomato, with few bits of crab lumps that managed to hold on. The rest of the crabs were dropping down on the plate… Regardless, it was tasty, but they do need to think of a different way to construct their crab cake sandwich…

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Fish & Chips is offered in two types, “regular” or “spicy.” We went with regular, and it also came with lots of fries, onion rings, and cole slaw. The onion rings were more like onion strings, which I really like. The portion was huge, large pieces of fried fish and crazy amount of fries. Needless to say, I was no longer worried about the portion-to-price here at this point. The fish was ok, nicely fried, tender and juicy.

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Overall, the food was decent, service was not horrible, and the price was still a bit high for the quality and appetizer portion. We did have some food to take home, but mainly just fries and some pieces of fish. Our waitress was nice enough, but it seemed like we were forgotten most of the time. When another table in her section came, she was sitting down with them and chatting.  We felt very different treatment there…maybe they were her friends? Who knows, but it was not very professional… The restaurant was very clean and definitely a good place to hang out with a group of friends or family, since they do have the space. As for food, it was nothing really special. But they do offer the convenience while shopping at the mall, and you an enjoy a little peace and quiet, away from all the shoppers and enthusiastic sales people.

Legal Seafoods – 1200 Morris Turnpike, Route 24 & JFK Parkway, Short Hills, NJ 07078

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