Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Duck's Grille and Bar (Swansboro, NC)

   During the deployment, some of the wives/girlfriends of 1/8 Marines started a Facebook group that was intended for support and camaraderie.  It ended up being a one big bitch fight and forum for discussing dresses and dinner plans for homecoming weekend.  I must say, overall, it was pretty amusing.  (Admittedly, I was a little upset when it got shut down because some of those asinine girls couldn't follow the retardedly simple rules of, like, not disclosing your Marine's exact location.)  Duck's is one of the restaraunts that kept popping up in mention for romantic plans.

   A month or so before I moved back to Tennessee last year, Duck's opened a location in downtown Swansboro.  (Original location in Jacksonville, NC.)  A couple weekends ago was the first chance we had to go.  It is on the second floor of a dock side building overlooking the White Oak River filled with yachts, recreational skiffs, and fishing boats.  Once you make it through the lack luster, vacant feeling, attempting to be upscale, 80s dining room you make it to the oddly carpeted deck, but the view is incredible!

   We ordered calamari to start.  After ordering, we heard the group next to us complaining about the texture.  With a half empty bottle of wine on their table, I could tell they were simply trying to sound intelligent concerning their food.  Their assesment of the calamari was that the breading and marinara were perfect but the calamari was overdone and chewy.  Now, maybe they had a completely different plate than we did, but our calamari was cooked to perfection.  While the breading was in the correct proportion, there could have been more flavor to it and it definitely could have been crisper.  And the marinara... well, it was the quality of a good jarred sauce.
   Louis had the applewood bacon wrapped sea scallops.  Again, cooked very well.  The bacon was crisp and the scallops were tender.  The scallops were huge, but that didn't play their favor.  The flavor was too diffused through the meat so the bacon flavor dominated in a rather extreme sort of way.  Also, they were served with an absolutley gratuitous ramekin of gag-inducing clarified butter.  The green beans were delicious though.
   I had the Hong Kong tuna.  Normally I stay away from Asian dishes at non-Asian restaurants, but I had a couple beers at the adorable little pub up the street from Duck's before dinner so I was not thinking quite clearly.  The properly seasoned tuna was an amazing medium-rare, the wilted garlic baby spinach was enjoyable, and the ginger soy broth was lovely.  The "sticky rice" on the other hand was the more the consistency of porridge; it was gross to say the least.  When the dish arrived (in a disconcertingly prompt fashion) it was luke warm.  I love cold tuna and cold wilted salads, but this was obviously intended to be served hot. 
  We split the New York cheesecake for dessert.  It was a good cheesecake, but not a NY cheesecake.  Also it was drizzled with... wait for it..... Hersey's syrup.  Yeah, way to go.  The oddest thing of the evening, was our service.  The waitress was really nice and attentive.  Yet, this is the setting that you would like to sit back and relax, enjoying good food for a couple hours.  We were in and out in just under 45 minutes.  Maybe they are trying to hide the fact that the food is subpar with the in and out, chain restaurant-like service.

   I wouldn't tell you not to eat here, but I won't be dining here again.  The food isn't terrible, it is just unmemorable.  The views are the best thing Duck's has to offer.  After writing this review I am getting more upset than I was when I was at the restaurant.  This location has all the potential in the world with a fabulous fish market less than a mile away and I know that fantastic local produce is available.  Also, the decor... the bones are there; I can't think of a single excuse for the terrible design.  The menu doesn't even need to be changed; the execution just needs to be perfected.  (Maybe the original Jacksonville local has done that; it has been open for quite a while.  So, at this point, I would not apply this review to that location.)

   Actually, you know what?  Don't eat here.  Let it go under and make the space available for a quality restaurant with a chef that has the drive and ambition to create something spectacular.

1 comment:

  1. Where is this? did the mexican place go out?



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