Calling on Cake Ladies for Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach
Hey thanks. I do love those two restaurants, the best in Beau/MHC. Not sure which I like better. More research.
I'm not as up on Wrightsville as I would like to be. I've heard good and OK things about Savannah's and 22 North. Robert's Market, a little grocery story, is great for take-out (the pimento cheese, if your into that). Search the chowhound South board on those restaurants. If you try them, let me know what you think.
Very close by on Eastwood Road, just over the bridge in Wilmington, is the amazing steakhouse Max's ($$$), good French technique at Opus (the chef worked at Le Cirque) and interesting Americana at PortLand Grill, all located in Lumina Station. I've had great meals at all of them, as well as good apps and music Thursday nights at nearby Boca Bay. Great, great Italian market and take-out at Martino's, 7041 Wrightsville, not far from the corner of Wrightsville and Eastwood. Fun Italian, decent food, at Terrazzo's in Landfall Center at the corner of Eastwood and Military Cutoff/Oleander.
And at Wrightsville, if you're into beer and wine, check out Lighthouse Beer and Wine.
re: Cake Ladies
Just back from Wrightsville and here is my report:
Went to Savannah's, PortLand Grill, South Beach Grill for dinner. Had breakfast and lunch at Sweet and Savory, lunch at Clementines (Wilmington) and picked up some pimento cheese at Roberts.
Savannah's was good but I would mark it down for limited creativity in both the menu and the plating. Having said that, the crab cakes were the best of all the restaurants and my daughter ordered them at each place so we know! They also had a great she crab soup that she ordered as well. My advice, therefore, is to stick with the traditionals at that restaurant and you will get a good meal.
PortLand was the best meal of the bunch but I do have some issues with them. Great service and an intriguingly creative menu but, as their name suggests, they do not know whether they are fish or fowl. Or beef, as is the case here. Are they going to be a great steakhouse or a creative restaurant? It's almost as if they feel they have to be both to be successful in this market and maybe that is the case. We had some very good, creative dishes but the portions were way too big (steakhouse influence, perhaps?) and each dish could have benefited by removing one or two ingredients. Clearly an example of where less is more. If they really focused in on the creative side and controlled their tendency to excess, they could be among NC's finest. And, we would have had room to order dessert! Oh, I almost forgot, the bread is terrific. If only more restaurants paid attention to the bread they served to the same extent as the rest of the menu.
South Beach was very enjoyable and, as ILM LOCAL promised, served local seafood creatively prepared. They produced the dish of the weekend with their eggplant and shrimp stack ("herb crusted eggplant layered with sauteed shrimp, tasso ham and fire-roasted red peppers in a light roasted garlic, boursin and asiago sauce") - an astounding dish. The service was not as good as at the other two locations - the waitress forgot to ask us if we wanted dessert and just brought the check after the main course, for example, but it was a more casual spot without the professional wait staff of the other two dinner restaurants.
Sweet and Savory is a fun spot with creative omelettes at breakfast and clever sandwich combinations at lunch. Nice beer selection, too, so it could be a fun place to go for a drink at the end of the day.
We went to Clementines by accident, as we were hoping to have lunch at Catch. Catch being unexpectedly closed, we walked into the first place that caught our eye. Clementines is an unpretentious meat and three. The atmosphere doesn't fit the concept. In fact, there is almost no atmosphere. However, the food was quite good, with plenty of fresh vegetables. Fried okra was a twist as it was not breaded and, in fact, may have been sauteed. Very good. Also good were the green beans, the butter beans, the broccoli salad and the tomato pie. Collards were just OK and the mashed potatoes were a surprising disappointment. All in all, a good salvage for our lunch.
Finally, Robert's bacon flavored pimento cheese was a good souvenir of our trip. Neat old style grocery store with some unusual items.
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone, and I hope I can return the favor if you head west.