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Nov 16, 2008 05:24 PM

Tangerine carribean grill carolina beach north carolina

There is nobody more anxious than I to see a formidable restaurant in Carolina Beach . Yes we do have very nice restaurants but you know a special restaurant, one that you would travel to just to eat there because it's so special..................................Well I thought I had found it in "The Tangerine Carribean Grill "granted it didn't start out so great it got a REALLY low restaurant grade in its first few weeeks of opening but it was explained in an article in the Star-News that it resulted from "a plumbing problem" and then the article went on to to further exonerate the restaurant by saying Kyle McKnight although lured by big city venues chose to chef at this restaurant.
Well Mr. McKnight was chef at "Savannah's" in Wrightsville Beach a side of Wilmington that is a mecca to a number of fine dining or shall we say "in" restaurants and was highly lauded for his endeavors. My husband and I found the Sunday Brunch to be exceptional and high quality dining. SO it was with great anticipation that we ventured today to have lunch at "Tangerine's Carribean Grill"
OMG, it took many moons to revamp this restaurant / variety store/ayce restaurant to the establishment that now houses the orange colored building that reflects its name.
When we walked in we were pleased to see how cute the place was decorated we then had about another 10 minutes to reflect on this because no one was there to greet us or show us to our seats. Most of the bar stools were taken but the restaurant was mostly empty. Someone finally approached us and we were seated.
The waitress was sweet and brought our drinks pronto. We ordered the Calamari and blood orange sweet and sour sauce and it came in a timely manner.
The Calamari was okay but the sauce was an enigma it had no flavor but you could feel the sting of the spice on your tongue.......................................
I didn't find anything appetizing on the entree menu so I ordered an appetizer the "lump" crabcake with "vooDoo" sauce and mango salsa.
My husband ordered the broiled "Grouper" sandwich with "voodoo" sauce which came with fries and a jicama slaw.
We were so looking forward to this which made it that much more disappointing (excuse me but I have to burp yet again)
Where was I? Oh yes the entrees............ again I felt I had lost my taste buds everything was bland except for the crabcake which was extremely fishy............I was wondering why my husband wasn't saying anything then he finally said "You want to taste some of my grouper sandwich" and I said "Only if you take a bite of my crabcake" we exchanged taste tests and before we could comment the waitress came over and asked how everything was. I'm not a poker face so I said "gee this crabcake is really fishy tasting' Her rehearsed reply was " Yes we have gotten complaints that the crabcake is fishy tasting in the past but it's beacuse the chef wants to showcase the crabmeat and not mask it and so there is very little fillers" and then offers "Would you like tartar sauce?"
As a person who has enjoyed many a five and four star restaurant along with my husband in Wilmington as well as around our country and internationally to be told I just didn't know that it was all about the crab and needed to drown it in tartar sauce (which eventually was brought by our waitress and was not the classic sauce but inundated with spices and not in a good way) was to me extremely patronizing.
The crabmeat was about the farthest from "lump" that you could get and was "why" it was so fishy. IF it was lump crabmeat then by all means then you never mask it's sweet taste with fillers but this crabcake needed all the help it could get.
My husband's Grouper sandwich was again tasteless and more like mystery fish than anything else........................By the time we got to our house minutes away from the restaurant my husband had a reaction to "whatever" ( maybe it was the "voodoo" sauce that they didn't "do" so well)and I had bad indigestion.
How disappointing! I can not believe that this is the same chef that created all those wonderful dishes at Savannah's it's just too much of a stretch.
Carolina Beach deserved better than this and I say good riddance if this restaurant doesn't make it.

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  1. I didn't read anything that would lead me to think "Caribbean". Is that term simply a marketing strategy for them?

    2 Replies
    1. re: JayL

      When it opened the original chef, according to the Star-News article, had too many Carribean items on the menu so the new chef toned it down a bit. They had "jerk" chicken and they did have a conch soup and some other conch dish on the menu the only Bahamian items in my opinion.
      I think it's a concept and a restaurant gone awry if you ask me.

      1. re: ev2008

        So a Caribbean restaurant toned down their Caribbean items because the local rag said it had too many CARIBBEAN items?!? Me thinks the Star-News should stick to reporting on the election and leave a restaurant's menu to it's own devices.

        My fiance is from the southern Caribbean and seriously don't think we'd venture to this place if we were looking for Caribbean cuisine.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. We decided to stop here last night around 7pm. After getting our drinks I ordered calamari plus a salad. Waiter comes back to tell me they are out of calamari. So I ordered the shrimp instead (on the appetizer menu) You guessed it...out of shrimp. Nothing else looked appetizing from, what I thought, a very small selection of food anyway so we left. We live here and this place will never make it especially reading other reviews this morning here and on the internet. Its more of a bar than a restaurant so I jhope they make great drinks. Summer is not here and running out of food already? We really don't even know what the food was like since we never had a chance to sample it but from what I'm reading, I'm glad. Too many other really decent restaurants on the island (Freddie's, Michael's, etc)

        2 Replies
        1. re: NCBeaches

          After re-reading this thread again (thanks NCBeaches for bringing it back to the top) two things stick out in my mind:

          1) A "chef" cooking good Caribbean food doesn't exactly set my mind at ease. I enjoy ethnic cuisine, but what I like about them is their authenticity. Chefs tend to go off on their own a bit. They have ideas on how a dish should be interpreted and usually deviate from the original. I just spent five weeks in the Caribbean and ate 95% of my meals in private homes. Not once was I offered crab cakes, a grouper sandwich (or anything else "broiled" for that matter), calamari, tartar sauce, or some type of fancy blood orange sauce. We ate real food...Caribbean food.

          2) The other thing I picked up on above is that the food was tasteless. WHAT?!? Tasteless food from one of the more flavorful areas of the world? Many American's won't like true Caribbean food as it tends to be a bit spicy, but not all the food there is hot. Spicy or not, most everything is packed with flavor. I can tell you that I have NEVER had any more flavorful food that what I was served during my five week stay. Cooking Caribbean food without flavor is heresy.

          I'll repeat what I said in one of my original posts above. It's ridiculous that a chef, or restaurant owner, would change their menu around because the local newspaper didn't like it. Tone down the Caribbean items on the menu of a Caribbean restaurant because the local paper says it's too Caribbean? Come on people.

          1. re: JayL

            If you would read ev2008's comments carefully, you would see that the new chef dropped some of the old chefs dishes; it had nothing to do with the newspaper making any menu suggestions. The newspaper merely reported the revision of the menu by the chef.

        2. My boyfriend and I went to Tangerine's tonight for the first time. We are locals (Wilmington) and we go to Carolina Beach a few times a week. We always pass Tangerine and it looked so nice from the outside; the bright orange, the outside patio, the band playing, etc. So tonight we decide to check it out. I wish I had stayed home. I should have come here first to read the reviews, but I guess it would not have mattered much...we did not get a chance to eat anything. After entering, we waited with another group for close to 10 minutes. We saw plenty of people that worked there, but no one acknowledged us. After a while a hostess came bouncing up and seated everyone. We look at the menu and check out the restaurant's motif and personally I was getting very excited to try some stuff on the menu. Then nothing happened after sitting there for 5 minutes...nothing. Ok mabe they were busy right? The patio may have been full, but inside there were maybe 10 tables full and many employees running around. Not busy at all. So after ten minutes of no service I look around to gain eye contact with someone to get some kind of assistance. Enter bouncy hostess seating another party and looking right at me, she turns around and goes about her way. The party that she just sat down gets waited on in a matter of seconds. That was it and we were over it. I calmy went up to the hostess stand on my way out to let the hostess know we were leaving and why, but she cut me off before I could say anything. She says, "I know you haven't been waited on yet, right?" Ding ding ding and that's why we will not be back.

          1 Reply
          1. re: win4ecu

            My friends and family ate at the Tangerine Grill last weekend and I want to warn others against dining there. The service was very poor to start with. We had a party of six adults and six children. They forgot to cook up one adult's food and one child's meal. I had the caribbean shrimp and grits, it looked like a blob of dirty sewage. The grits were very mushy. Because we had waited almost an hour for the food I was hungry and ate it anyway. I woke up a couple hours later and was violently ill. Over half of my draft beer got spilled because their tables were uneven/wobbling and the waiter said "don't worry, I will get you another". He charged me for two beers, lol. Then they had the nerve to put an 18% forced gratuity on the bill. We asked for money off our bill but were told the owners won't allow any change. Save yourself the trouble, don't eat there...

          2. If small portions of overpriced mediocre food and inattentive service is what you like, this is the place for you. I am a local and have given this place 3 opportunities, all with similar results. The last time my girlfriend requested water when ordering, when the cocktails arrived, and also when the food arrived. She never got the water at any time. (Maybe they ran out.)
            And don't be surprised if groups of people who arrived much later than you, get their food sooner. That's just part of their charm.
            You have a better chance to catch a glimpse of Bigfoot or Elvis than your wait staff.

            1 Reply
            1. re: john14

              We were just driving by Tangerines yesterday on our way home from the beach and I commented to my husband, how surprised that this place is still in business!