Six of us ate dinner at Breakwater tonight, a Friday, and overall, it was a pleasant experience. We should mention at this point that service was quite good. We were served at table by "William" who in spite of being extremely busy with many other diners, made a valiant effort to do an excellent job. He was largely successful.
To begin with, I must comment on the wine list. This is one of the poorest wine lists I've encountered anywhere within reason. Wines are apparently chosen for the wine list based on price and nothing more. My guess is that it was assembled by a salesman for one of the wine distributors, not by anyone with any in-depth knowledge of wine or the menu selections of this restaurant. For the most part, the wines on the list are obscure and/or unremarkable. Pricing on the menu appears to be mostly at multiples of three times retail and in some cases, even more. Add to this a $20 corkage fee and we have a situation abhorred by any oenophile. The management should really take a look at this and consider some changes. If the cellar is to stay as it is, at least substantially reduce the corkage fee.
The restaurant environment is not unpleasant, although the tables are like most restaurants, too many and too close together. One wall is covered with wines held in place by hooks, with tables crowded against the wall/wine rack. This results in guests having to accommodate servers trying to retrieve bottles from the wall. This is not very thoughtful treatment of the people who are paying the bills.
The menu is ok, but rather limited. There is an attempt to be all things to all diners but there really isn't much depth. For a restaurant with a name that suggests it is a seafood restaurant, there isn't a whole lot of seafood on the menu. One of our six diners had the fried shrimp tapas plate and found it a bargain, with six or seven large shrimp. On the other hand, another one had the tapas plate of lamb chops, and had two very thin, very small lamb chops. Two of us had the Mahi, whih was quite good and a generous portion. The diner who had the salmon was also quite pleased with his choice. Overall, the food is good, the presentations are excellent but the portions are barely adequate for the most part, but not priced accordingly.
The restaurant was quite crowded, largely with thirty-somethings and it was very noisy. This made for occasionally difficult communication among the dinner guests at our table and with our waiter, as well. That is not very different, as most restaurants in Greenville are crowded on weekend nights.
Breakwater is a fairly good restaurant for socializing but we would not recommend it entertaining clients. For a white table service establishment, it is having birthing pains and will continue to have growing pains but the waitstaff (in our experience) and the two executive chefs appear to have what it takes to keep it going. We will try to pay another visit on a weeknight and see if some of the problems are just a function of being crowded and very busy. The wine list, however, will only improve if a professional consultant is employed to fix the situation.
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