Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brunswick Co.: Some very fine eats

The family headed down to the Sunset Beach area for a conference last week. And while I won't go into the details on the horrendous experience at the resort at which we stayed, I do want to sing the praises of the culinary experiences we had.

Our first stop was dinner at the Sugar Shack in Ocean Isle Beach. Man, oh man, this may be one of the best meals we've ever had. We started with crab fritters (with a fantastic lime sauce) and then split a full rack of ribs. We were a bit suspicious when there was no barbecue sauce with the ribs, but our concern was quickly put to rest. These were perhaps the best ribs we've ever eaten. If you attempt to go to the Sugar Shack, be sure to make reservations.

The next night we hit the Giggling Mackerel, also in OIB. Admittedly, it would be hard for any place to follow the Sugar Shack, but the Giggling Mackerel held its own. The food is not as adventurous, but the service was fantastic, the food was brought out quickly (and when you have a 3-year-old and a 19-month-old, you don't want to dilly-dally), and there's plenty of stuff to do before you're seated. The restaurant is located in a fishing center, complete with a seafood market and a very neat nautical-themed store.

Our third night there was spent at Ella's in Calabash. Some may poo-poo Calabash-style seafood for just being fried, but I'm not complaining. Ella's is one of several Calabash institutions, and the food was fantastic.

Oh, and the best part about all these places? They are VERY reasonably priced -- especially for coastal restaurants. For instance, at Ella's, I got the deluxe fried platter -- with shrimp, crab, flounder, oyster and scallops; fries and coleslaw -- for just $15.

(Sugar Shack image from Myspace; Giggling Mackerel photo courtesy of its homepage)

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