We went to this James Beard approved restaurant in the gorgeous seaport town of Beaufort, NC, after a wonderful day at the beach. We were hungry and prepared to spend a lot for a great meal. Apparently the restaurant was also hosting a private rehearsal dinner party for a large group (we kept getting "mea culpas" from our server about the slowness of the food) but to my mind, if you want to keep the public restaurant open while simultaneously serving a large private party, you (the management) should plan ahead to have extra anything and everything on hand to accommodate both interests--especially if you're going to be serving entrees in the $30+ range. First problem: prompt seating but nobody came to check on us. By the time someone asked if we wanted a cocktail, all we really wanted was a menu. Second problem: the bread took forever to arrive and when it did, it was covered in garlic. I hate it when garlic bread is the norm, and I especially hate it when I am not told in advance that it's the norm. How hard is it to ask a patron, "Do you prefer garlic bread or plain?" Third problem: the server clearly wanted to be anywhere else but at this restaurant. She spoke like a robot, didn't make eye contact, and basically treated us like impositions. I've had better interactions with the cafeteria workers at the local hospital. Fourth problem: my entree was very good (seafood of all sorts, over linguini), although again, way too heavy on the garlic. My husband's entree, should have been called the not-so-special special: the rice was bland, the grouper was overcooked and dry, and the asparagus was limp. Good points: you are allowed to bring your own wine, and the corkage fee is a very reasonable $15. Plus the food arrived hot, which is always a big plus. The Harker's Island soup was just divine.
By the time the server circled back to us to ask about coffee and dessert, all we wanted to do was pay and leave. Save your money and go to one of the far less pretentious "seafood joints" right on the water, and have dinner served by folks who are glad for your business, don't have any issues with being helpful, and act like humans. Plus you'll have a great view!
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