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“Worth a try, especially at lunch”
Review of The Grille - CLOSED

The Grille
Cuisines: American, Seafood
Description: This is a wonderful little restaurant (in a gas station behind Naber Dodge!) of all places! The chef (Sal) left a larger restaurant to go out on his own and he is clearly going to do very well. He makes the best shrimp and grits we've ever had, she crab soup, shrimp bisque, chicken salad, pizza's, homemade potato chips, homemade tortilla chips, etc. Open for breakfast and lunch. He also runs a catering business. Style is kind of local and simple but with a gourmet touch! Wonderful.
Restaurant details
Description: This is a wonderful little restaurant (in a gas station behind Naber Dodge!) of all places! The chef (Sal) left a larger restaurant to go out on his own and he is clearly going to do very well. He makes the best shrimp and grits we've ever had, she crab soup, shrimp bisque, chicken salad, pizza's, homemade potato chips, homemade tortilla chips, etc. Open for breakfast and lunch. He also runs a catering business. Style is kind of local and simple but with a gourmet touch! Wonderful.
Reviewed August 2, 2013

The breakfast is average, heavy country fare, but lunches are very good, particluarly the specials. Soups are very good, and the Jambalaya (a special, not on the regular menu) is very good, although a little salty, and big enough to split.

Here's a link to the official review in the Star News: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20120731/ARTICLES/120739954?p=1&tc=pg

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank pyrotom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (49)
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26 - 30 of 49 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2013

We went to the Grille based on a referral and our friends were spot on. I was not so sure when I saw a converted fast food building but once inside, we knew that we were in the right place. The daily specials were posted on a chalk board and one of them was the fresh grouper. The manager told me that they had just gotten it in at 5:30 that afternoon and that it was worth the reasonable price. We managed to order the grouper along with a complete seafood platter with sides. That combination dish was great and the Grouper was spectacular. I am surprised that we were able to eat it all but it was so good that it would have been a shame not to do so. The only slight negative was that they had a new cook on the hush puppies and they were a little overcooked. The other was that they did not serve beer and I enjoy a beer with my seafood but when they explained the reason (staying within the wishes of the property owner who did want them to serve alcohol due to religious preferences) we did not have a problem with that decision. The iced tea was great anyway. If you are going to load up on fried seafood at least once during a visit to the area, this is the place to go.

Thank Hooman42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2013

The Grille meets all of our expectations on flavorful meals. Everything we have eaten has been on time...definition...fantastic! Sal knows how food works. Only negative is that The Grille isn't in Southport full time... Every day would be a festival!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank southernpecan75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2013

Okay, it was originally on the recommendation of a Chamber of Commerce friend that I decided to start watching Sal's Grille. She said it was "fabulous" and "different." After that I checked with a few of my foodie and chef colleagues and based on their mixed reviews I finally broke down and dined there with the nephew this morning for breakfast. Here's how it went: First, the restaurant itself is unassuming, an old "Hardee's Hamburger" joint, and on entry it's more or less clean but disheveled and cluttered, clearly not cleaned between shifts. Wait-staff were very attentive and did their best to explain when I asked how the crab and shrimp omelet was made, where the seafood comes from and whatnot; it comes from "Lloyd's in OIB," is what I got about the crab and shrimp. I've only been buying seafood here for three years so I confess that I'm lost as to who "Lloyd's" might be but I'm sure another islander will clear me up.

Before I start and show you photographic proof let me say that I did not really expect much once I saw the prices, ridiculously low it turned out, for the portions served so there's THAT in "The Grille's" favor. What I would have liked was to have seen some of this "He's doing breakfast and lunch at a higher level than we've seen!"

That simply didn't happen. Apparently we southerners are enthralled by any new twist on how to use grease and starch.

As you can see from the photo we had the shrimp and crab omelet, grits, gravy, biscuits, bacon, home fries, pancakes, and eggs scrambled. AS you can also see the home fries are burned black, and what you cannot see is that they are totally devoid of any seasoning whatsoever, even a pinch of salt, nothing. The bacon is also burned black, which is hard to do when the bacon you are cooking is reject ends that are not fit for slicing, the scraps, and that's precisely the bacon you see in the photo. The grits are also unsalted, unseasoned completely, devoid of any savory quality. The pancakes, however, were DELIGHTFULLY FLUFFY and this was the highlight of the morning. We also ordered a side of Country Ham, as you see, and it was sliced thinner than deli meat making it impossible to cook into anything less chewy than two hundred year old boot leather; also it was not leeched at all and contained enough salt to kill a mule deader than hell with one bite.

A note on the home fries, other than their being burned to a crisp and having no salt, pepper, nothing, is that they use red potatoes, rinsed, removing the starches, and therefore causing them to hold onto every drop of oil used to fry them. They're literally sponges full of oil/grease/fat. Horrific!

Here's where it gets a bit crazy and I question this "He's doing breakfast.....higher level." -- Here goes, and this is a little bit irritating considering the fact that the Chamber recommended this place and the fact that I REALLY want hometown places to do well, so here's a bittersweet review since I really wanted to become a fan.

The Omelet and the Gravy and the Biscuit

First, the biscuit. I ordered a side of biscuit and a side of gravy just to see how special this guy's recipes might happen to be. My biscuit was flat, super heavy on baking soda, and served cold (not actually cold, but room temp, same thing to me, a chef).

Second, the gravy, and this is crazy as Hell. Apparently he watched Bobby Flay's "Brunch with Bobby," since that's the only other person I know who starts a savory gravy by building a Bechamel with nutmeg and then folds in raw flour and ends by lacing in a HALF TON of pig fat. I just cannot get past a Southern cook (Flay is certainly no Southern cook), and here I mean whoever dreamed up this crap for Sal's, who tries to make a savory southern staple gravy via classic French mother sauce methods. Ridiculous. It's like the gravy got caught between France and Alabama and couldn't decide whether it's a Mother Sauce, an enhanced Bechamel, sausage gravy, or a curried dessert. Good. God. Almighty. It. Sucks.

Finally, the omelet, crab and shrimp, and chef friends of mine, this one is going to blow your mind.

When the omelet came to table, just as you see it, it didn't look all that bad, not burned, very oily, that's for sure, but that's what I expect from a southern omelet on the exterior. It was when I cut it in half that the horror began.

Every chef...hell, every HOME COOK, knows that there are several things you do NOT EVER put with seafood and they are: Green bell peppers, cheese - especially heavy, oily, greasy cheeses -- and onions.

Sal's Grille serves all three in their "shrimp and crab omelet."

To say this was like eating a lead Zeppelin gut bomb would be kind. The peppers and onions, hammer-sauteed into a slimy pulp, the hallmark that tells you there's an Italian in the kitchen or giving cooking instructions, were predominant. The crab itself was HAMMER fried on the flat top and was totally overpowered by a three-prong food felony (musty green peppers, onions and CHEDDAR), not to mention the other hallmark that tells you there's an Italian in the kitchen giving instructions: EVERYTHING SWIMMING in grease/olive oil.

My God, this thing was horrendous.

The shrimp, however, was one component that was not hammered but I knew I'd seen this technique before, dropping the shrimp about 60 seconds before serving....and sure enough, I went to the kitchen and saw the same cook who did this dish for me at a local Mexican restaurant, only he served it as what are known as "fajitas" and on tortillas. Yep, and he does not habla de English, not one word. He was our cook at Sal's Grille for breakfast and that's our first impression. He does that omelet the same way he does fajitas at his other job.

Perhaps Sal's would be better for lunch, I don't know.

Up until now the greasiest of the greasy spoons was hands-down that disgusting, rancid Jerome's Buffet but I've got to say, Sal's Grille is probably the front runner at this point. If you're looking for a greasy, un- and under-seasoned greasy, oily gut bomb, don't buy those frozen White Castle burgers from your grocer's freezer case. Just .... well...just

Eat At Sal's.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank BiminiZane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2013

I frequent The Grille often and think their food is great. From salads to the best cheeseburgers around. Friendly staff too.

Thank BobShallotte_NC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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