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“Great location on the waterfront, but ......”
Review of Saltwater Grill

Saltwater Grill
Ranked #7 of 36 Restaurants in Swansboro
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $12 - $25
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: Waterfront dinner at it's best, Chef David Owens serves only Fresh Local Seafood. With a Dock & Dine feature allowing boats to pull up and dine on our docks. Restaurant is open 7 days a week, serving Lunch & Dinner.
Reviewed July 9, 2013

While vacationing in Emerald Isle, wanted a seafood restaurant on the water. This was recommended. Read mixed reviews, but decided to try it. Called ahead for seating on the outdoor area, wait would be about an hour, that was ok, got there expecting about another 10 minute wait; turned out to be about another half hour, but that was OK. We got some drinks and sat outside near the boat docks. (A side note, it might be a good idea for this restaurant to have a bar set up outside during busy times for those waiting for tables; would eliminate the crowd hanging around the bar inside; would lessen the wait for those trying to get drinks waiting for their tables, and would eliminate having to go up and down the steps to the restaurant area while waiting & perhaps more income). The outdoor dining deck is small, but adequate with a nice view of the sound; a layer of clear vinyl around the deck cuts off the breeze, but still enough to enjoy dining on the water. Then, downhill from here! Two of the five plates on the table (which I guess where bread plates, yet we were never offered any if they do serve it) were still wet and had food particles on them. We ordered another drink - two lemon drop martinis with a sugar rim - came with no sugar and were quite tart. Another's margarita was served in a small, "on the rocks" glass, a gin & tonic came in a very tall glass (could hardly taste the gin) - all these drinks were $10!!!. We ordered the calamari as an appetizer to share. Was a small portion of very small rings of fried calamari with two sauces. They were just OK. Then, we had to ask for silverware and napkins! She Crab soup very thick and bland, although did have ample amount of crab, Caesar salad was just romaine lettuce; almost no dressing, in fact, there were pieces that didn't even have a bit of dressing on them! Was to come with crostini croutons and shredded parm; neither were on top and when mentioned to our server, she did bring a couple of crostini, but no parm; didn't feel like asking again. My son & I asked for a grit cake on the side, if possible, it was; however, grit cakes were barely warm, hard crust and tasted as if they were fried in bacon grease, even after you got through the crust to the actual grits; didn't eat them. On the other hand, one in our party got the shrimp & grits and there was a sauce over her grit cake and she enjoyed hers. Two others had a fried seafood plate and was good. I got the appetizer scallops as an entrée - three large scallops wrapped in bacon; bacon was very crispy, which is the way I like it, but the presentation was lacking and they were placed on a thin, bland sauce; could have sprinkled some parsley or on a bed of wilted spinach or something. The crab stuffed flounder was bland and looked like a small crab cake was inserted in the middle. Then, one ordered coffee; it came luke warm! Server was very polite, but should have noticed no rim sugar, no croutons or parm, no bread, no silverware of napkins and could have felt the coffee cup as not hot. Did talk with the manager, politely explained that I've been in the hospitality business for over 30 years; don't normally complain, but this was just too much to ignore. He said the grit cakes came frozen and were "flash fried"; asked if we had checked out, we had, then he handed us his card and said "let me know when you come back in". Not even an apology!!! I've been a manager on duty at a hotel with a restaurant and bar and would never have given my card to a customer/guest without some type of resolution right then and there (either redo the bill & apply a credit the credit card, give a certificate for something when you come back and most certainly apologize and acknowledge our experience wasn't what should be expected. Even my husband who doesn't complain much said the next day "our dinner last night was really disappointing, especially at those prices!". Will usually give a restaurant another chance, but just too many things at this one to ignore; servers need more training, something's gotta be done in the kitchen, and truly disappointed in the non-apologetic manner in which the manager responded. Unfortunately, wouldn't recommend Saltwater Grill; will go to the Ice House right up the street.

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2  Thank Bess A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 9, 2013

Leaving from a church retreat in Salter Path, NC, I stopped for lunch in Swansboro and chose to eat at the Salt Water Grill, a second-story restaurant with an enclosed porch looking over the water. I was very happy with the spinach and strawberry salad with candied nuts, craisins, and Feta cheese crumbles and had a delicious fried lobster tail on the side. You can also order the salad with grilled chicken or shrimp or salmon. For dessert I had a pudding that was not as flavorful as the salad. I was also tempted by clam chowder, crab cakes, and other seafood choices on the menu. The restaurant is suitable for a romantic dinner or a family meal or a lone traveler. I think stopping at Salt Water Grill is likely to become a habit whenever I go to Trinity Center in the future. Sunday brunch is also available.

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Thank Jane C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2013

While on vacation we used to go to this location a couple (few?) owners/varieties ago. This most recent attempt seemed appealing so we decided to try it out as our "new" restaurant on this vacation. Among our four kids, we have a two year old, and she was in a two year old mood when we arrived. We were given the option of inside or outside, and we chose outside. This was in part because that's where we used to sit when we came here and also because we didn't want to be "those people" with the loud toddler inside the restaurant. There was a nice breeze during the visit, and we had a great time sitting outside overlooking the river. The kids liked looking at the water, and a musician helped make the outdoor atmosphere really enjoyable.

The staff from the hostess to waitress to whoever it was (manager?) that thanked us on the way out were very polite and made us feel welcome. We all enjoyed our meals, from the appetizers to pasta dishes to the rare tuna entree. My 10 year old son voted the cheeseburger sliders as one of his favorite meals of the vacation.

The Saltwater Grill was a nice night out for a family of six. We enjoyed the visit. Now to see if it made the "Vacation Permanent Rotation" of restaurants - that will be determined in the 2014 "family vacation restaurant election."

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Thank flightlessbirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2013 via mobile

Truely disappointing. The is the second visit I have made to this resturant. Was let down on a birthday dinner last fall, worse today. Sunday afternoon group of 15, only customers in the building. Pathetic cooking of most of the meals. Appetizer bread was nothing more that " brown n serve" bread that was placed on the table RAW. Was not even warm enough to melt the butter substitute that was placed on it. At the end of the meal 1/2 of the bread was still on the table.
My Ceasars salad was warmer than the plate it was served on. I was impressed with the cold plate a rarity these days. Salad had little to no dressing, no croutons, and a tiny amount of Parmesan cheese on top. The two bread slices on the plate were actually tough, not crunchy, tough. I was laughing after taking a bite of it. My children wanted to taste it to see what was so bad. My steak was 30% fat, and rare to the point the center of a 3/4" thick steak was raw. I ordered med-rare. My son and wife ordered crab stuffed flounder. My son asked me to take a bite to see if it was good. It was horrid. The flounder was mushy with no taste. The crab stuffing was lost in the Old Bay seasoning sauce. I could not tell the difference between the flounder and the mashed potatoes it was served over. How's that for a recommendation?
The wait staff were great, but the food was a waste of calories. I would not recommend this to anyone but my worst enemies. This is sad because Swansboro only has a few resturant locations, there is no room for such a bad experiance in such a perfect location. Gene Taylor. Resident of Swansboro NC for 50 years.

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Thank Genertaylori
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2013

There has been a restaurant at this location for probably a decade or longer. It has housed various types of restaurants with a variety of cuisines over the years. Recently, another change of ownership has created the Saltwater Grill. When friends suggested we try it and told us where it was, we thought "here we go again". Well, the current owners finally got it right !

We did not have reservations but were seated in the bar area with a table on the window overlooking the river. Our server was polite and courteous and seemed to be very efficient. The wine list, while not extensive, was certainly adequate. Our host recommended the grilled salmon special which we all ended up having. It was well prepared and quite tasty and as good as any I've had in a restaurant in some time. The service throughout the meal was good and the prices very reasonable.

The key lime pie was "average" but the rest of the desserts seemed to be good from what the others dinning with us said.

After many disappointing meals at various attempts to have a decent restaurant on this site, the present owners seem to have gotten it right and it's worth a trip for a nice dinner in Swansboro.

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Thank Birdieputt13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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