FOOD WITH A VIEW

Topsail Shrimp House – St. Regis Condos

My brother is a great restaurant scout.  I can always count on him to have a recommendation for a new spot that isn’t just interesting food wise.  We’ve been coming to the same beach since we were born. My grandfather built the house when my mom was in her 20s, if that gives you any indication of how long it’s been that Topsail Island has been a part of our lives.  It hasn’t changed much in all the years.  Storms have rolled through, devastating the island and local favorites, but buildings make it back up in their places. The staples still remain.  Names change, but the decor, the cuisine, and the folks never do.  This year, there was a new spot a few miles from our regular radius of fun.  The Topsail Shrimp house is a new restaurant at the top of the St. Regis Condo Complex.  They opened in April and I’d say so far they are doing a fine job.

http://www.topsailshrimphouse.com/

Overall:  3.7 out of 5

Food/Beverage:  3.3 out of 5

Ambiance: 4  out of 5

Value: 3.5  out of 5

Service: 4  out of 5

I should start by mentioning that we went as a family.  All nine of us.  Two kids and seven adults.  We made a 6:45 pm reservation very easily at 4pm that same day.  I was surprised at how easy it was to get in, considering the restaurant is at the top of the St. Regis hotel, and the view is absolutely spectacular.  Each table has a pair of binoculars and is situated by the window so everyone can look out as far as the eye can see.  On this particular day it had been raining, so we had a rainbow enhancing our view.

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When we arrived, the lobby was pretty packed.  We walked right up to give them our name at which point they informed us it would be about a 30 minute wait.  Right, two kids ta 6:45 pm are going to be GREAT at waiting.  We asked if this was normal and they informed us it was a pretty common occurrence.  Would have been good to know walking in.  No worries, when the patriarch of our brigade arrived, he was able to use his amazing people skills to get us seated quickly and with a smile.

We ordered a few appetizers as we sat, which were my favorite part of the meal.

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The fried pickles, $4.95, were lightly breaded and cooked very well.  They were served with a ranch dip over a bed of mixed greens.  They were devoured.

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The firecracker shrimp, $8.95, were also very lightly breaded and fried.  The bang bang sauce wasn’t quite heavy enough for me but I really enjoyed them.  Both of these were a great value for the portion size.

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My brother ordered the low country chowder ($4.95).  This huge bowl of soup was jam packed with sausage, potatoes, celery, cream, onions and shrimp.  The base was of course that of a creamy chowder.  I really enjoyed the soup.  It had a great flavor.  The kids, one of whom is not a fan of chowder tried it and liked it.

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We had asked for suggestions from the waitress.  Upon her suggestion, I ordered the ahi tuna served with a garlic butter sauce and green beans ($16.95).  I was hesitant about pairing tuna with a garlic butter sauce but decided to give it a try.  She said it was one of her favorites.

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My sister and cousin both ordered the tuna paired with the Asian glaze, a smart choice.  I’m going to start by saying that I’m pretty picky about tuna.  I like it rare, with a nice sear, which is how we all ordered it.  None of us had fish cooked to this temperature.  The quality of the fish seemed good, but the cook made it a little tough.  The Asian glaze was very very good, the butter was a bit much for the fish as I expected it would be.

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The crab cakes ($19.95) were ordered by my brother and split between him and my sister-in-law.  They were a little doughy but were cooked very well. The sauce served with them was great, but sadly the baked potato was way under cooked.

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My mom ordered the fried shrimp platter ($14.95) which also came with two sides, tarter and cocktail sauce.  The breading was nice and light and the shrimp were cooked very well. It’s hard to mess up a fried seafood platter.

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Both of my lovely nieces ordered the shells and cheese, a basic mac and cheese.  The older of the two really enjoyed this dish! She gobbled most of it up.  I was impressed with her culinary bravery during this meal.  Typically she’s a picky eater, but she was courageous enough to sample some of everything and did a nice job of giving a descriptive analysis of what she thought of each dish.  I’m in the process of trying to convince her to be a guest blogger and give the kids POV on dishes that we could create together.

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The traditional hush puppies were served to start the meal.  They were pretty tasty, but loaded with corn kernels.  The honey butter served next to them was a good addition. I should mention, the beer and wine list was pretty extensive.  And the bar area was great.  The only thing I wasn’t blown away by, ambiance wise, was it appeared that this new restaurant had just moved on in to the spot that someone else had occupied.  It looked like your typical hotel restaurant.  The tables were unfinished wood, which was a nice touch.

Our service, considering we were such a large party, was pretty good.  We had to wait a while for our second round of drinks, but she was polite, helpful with menu choices and quick with most items.

Overall, I’d go back in a heartbeat.  The view alone, and that they can easily seat large parties, made this an ideal place for a group like ours.  If you are in the Topsail Island area and in need of a new place to eat, give this spot a chance!  You won’t be sorry you did.

 

 

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