Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >
Sep 14, 2009 07:05 PM

Jacksonville Churrascaria

Does anyone know of a churrascaria near Jacksonville, NC?? I tried searching and the closest thing I can find is in Raleigh..that can't be possible! Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's not just possible, it's probable. The population of Jax is only about 70,000 and 43K of those are Marines (mostly very young and don't get paid a lot).

    If you look at Yelp for Jacksonville, you will see that the most frequently rated restaurant is the Crapper Barrel and the top seafood resto is Dead Lobster.

    Big quantities cheap is what is valued here.

    I've been here since May. I'm jonesing for pho and Ethiopian, but I'd be up for almost anything!

    8 Replies
    1. re: BeaN

      Nothing even near by?! That's HORRIBLE!

      I understand the economic situation, howeverrrr they should also accommodate visiting families! They should atleast pretend that there are good places to eat!

      Any recommendations?

      1. re: cntrystr05

        I haven't found anything reliably good.

        For Thai, I think that Old Siam is the only game in town. I've had four meals there. Two were great but more recently it seems to be becoming unpredictable. When it's good, it's very good.

        Duck's is highly touted but I had a rather disappointing meal there, and for this market it's pretty pricey. I had beautiful little lamb chops but all of the sides were almost inedibly salty (and I carry a sea salt grinder in my purse). We were seated between the bar and a party of twelve and couldn't hear each other across the table.

        For seafood, I've eaten at Tony's and MArina Cafe in Jax, the Red Barn in Hubert (Swansboro?), T&W Oyster Bar in Swansboro and Jordan's in Emerald Isle each once. Tony's was really good, and T&W was decent (both for steamed clams, raw oysters at Tony's & raw clams at T&W). The barkeep at T&W told me that the custom was to steam the clams for ten minutes because juicy was offensive. After I had them raw he asked me if I wanted the steamed ones dry and rubbery (my paraphrase). Red Barn was blah - fried oysters, clams, shrimp and scallops and could only really distinguish them from each other by shape. Had a fine shrimp burger at Jordan's. Marina cafe was ok, but I'm not sure I'd go back there.

        I had a spectacular seafood pasta one night at Island Grille in Morehead City.

        I had a terrific grilled eel dish at Aji Ichiban on Western Blvd.

        Went to Hilda's once for southern home cooking and I'd swear that almost everything we ate was off of the Sysco truck.

        Had bbq at Thigs once. It was great bang for the buck, but the pork was mushy in texture and had NO smoke flavor. We decided we would go back on the weekend when they do ribs, but when we walked around back we found no woodpile. I guess they have a gas pit.

        I'm eating at home a lot more since I moved here. I think that I have to count on driving an hour to go eat almost anything.

        1. re: BeaN

          The Old Siam isn't the only Thai in town, but it's certainly the Jacksonville and anywhere else we've ever been. The Duck Basil is is the Basil Fried Rice and the Panang Curry. Nowhere we have been even comes close (even the 3-4 place we've tried around Charleston, SC where we live now).

          You're dead on about Hilda's. Horrible, sub-cafeteria quality "soul food". Everyone we talked to bragged about how good the mac & cheese there was. When I got my order it was nothing more than boiled noodles smothered in canned cheese sauce. One trip was all it took to cure us.

          Thisgs doesn't use wood. However, just a couple more miles down Catherine Lake (just beyond the lake itself) you'll find OAKWOOD BBQ. The absolute best Eastern NC bbq you'll find anywhere close to Jacksonville.

          There's no good steamed seafood in the area.

          Our one visit to Tony's (about 2-3 months after they opened) was less than stellar. Mediocre food on a not so busy night (where our orders should have gotten extra special attention). Again, a one trip wonder.

          Surprisingly, for pretty good sushi try the Shogun across from Tony's. Darn good portions and prices compared to other cities we have experience with. Nothing here in Charleston can compare in terms of quality or price. Pay the same price here in Chas...but get 1/2 the fish.

          1. re: JayL

            There is a lot of good Thai food in the area I moved from in May - the Tampa metro area. The first two trips to Old Siam were great. The two trips since May have been disappointing. We've had the duck dish three times, and the last two have been disappointing- not the same flavor profile at all of the dish that we had there before. Duck basil is common to Thai restaurants, and I do love duck. I'm sure that Old Siam is the best there is in Jax, but it seems to really be slipping.

            My husband does great bbq, so I'm not likely to go out of my way for it.

            Not only is there no good seafood in the area, there is surprisingly little good seafood of any preparation for a coastal area.

            Any new restaurant needs a few months to work out the kinks. I try not to go within the first four months or so. What I got at Tony's was good and I had good service in a surprisingly nice atmosphere. I haven't had a meal there - raw oysters and steamed clams at the bar.

            I've heard good things about Shogun, but I haven't been there yet.

            1. re: BeaN

              "There is no good seafood in the area"...I assume your definition of "the area" does NOT include Beaufort and Morehead City?

              1. re: bbqdawg

                sorry - that was an incomplete quote. JayL said there was "no good steamed seafood." In an area this close to the Atlantic and with an abundance of riverfront, I would expect an abundance of fresh seafood on menus, and seafood variety. I've seen few clam offerings except for the pre-breaded strips that come off of a truck (this is the same in my native Florida where great farmed clams are available). I think I've only seen squid available fried, and that not often. I've seen as many offerings of crab legs from the Pacific Northwest as I have of any local crab. I know that they are freshwater but aren't eels being farmed in SC? I've only had eel once here in a Japanese restaurant and it was probably from frozen.

                I've driven to Morehead twice but haven't made it to Beaufort yet.

                Please clue us in to where the good stuff is.

                1. re: BeaN

                  Big Oak Drive In and El's for shrimpburgers, Bistro by the Sea in Morehead. Beaufort Grocery, Aqua and Blue Moon in Beaufort.

      2. I've just added this to a place to visit on my next hike south. Yum.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Caralien

          You're Right! No place to eat in Actionville,Hildas way over rated and over priced for what it is and Ducks!Where do they get off charging prices like that? Its not Mortons for God Sakes.And I have to disagree about Tonys,I worked there a short time and its a dirty place. I wish I could say something good aboutJ-Ville but it is what it is a Fast Food Town.

          1. re: jellybear

            I wrote what I thought was a fairly evenhanded review of my experience at Ducks on Yelp and shortly thereafter came a rather indignant review touting Ducks to be on a par with the finest of NYC which the writer frequented.

          2. re: Caralien

            What "a place" are you referring to?

          3. I just drove through that area and but haven't spent any time there. Looks like you're within an hour or so of some pretty well thought of BBQ places..Wilbur's, Moore;s and McCall's in Goldsboro or Kenley, NC. The famous Skylight Inn is a little further in Ayden. I'd have given those a try if time permitted..especially Skylight.

            If it "has" to be churrascaria, I saw an ad for 1 of the big chains; Fogo de Chao or Texas de Brazi, etc in Myrtle Beach..maybe 1 1/2 hours?

            I love the Brazilian steak places but if I spent time in that area, I'd probably check out the BBQ places. I also noticed some smaller places but can't recall names.