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Dinner Reservations at the Blue Point Bar & Grill in Duck, North Carolina

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For our second night in town, Cindy Price in the New York Times recommends the Blue Point Bar & Grill:  “Any restaurant that tries to marry progressive philosophy with old-school Southern comfort food is usually worth a gamble. The Blue Point may look like an upscale Johnny Rockets, but the food is as serious as it gets. This stylized diner sits right on the sound, so reserve a table on the porch before 8 to catch the sunset. The only proper way to start a meal here is with the tender duck confit and pasta ($9.50). For dinner, try the pecan-crusted catfish, served with a crayfish and ham jambalaya ($19.95). Side dishes vary with the season. Recently [July 2005], a side of bright green fiddlehead ferns ($6) graced the menu, wound tight as roly-polies and sautéed with shallots, bacon and Parmesan.”

Brent’s friend Stacey confirmed: “I would recommend Blue Point in Duck, although we didn’t get to go because it was booked, but so many people have told me it was wonderful.”

Shelley Rauch reviewed Blue Point in July 2006 at the blog, noting that Blue Point had remodeled since the New York Times spent 36 Hours in Duck, NC.  You can click on the link to read her thorough review, but here are some highlights that provide some flavor:

“Duck’s Blue Point has been a dining destination for vacationing Hampton Roads families and lucky locals for years. Hungry folks wanting good food and service have lined up on the ’sound side’ of the Outer Banks since 1989 for the well-prepared and familiar, with a deliciously frisky little spin.

Perched on a picturesque vantage point of the Currituck Sound… the restaurant has finally grown up and filled out its dockside home. Black-and-white checkerboard still covers the length of the floor, while the walls are ruddy and warmly lit. Cozy red booths are in abundance… An open kitchen boasts a long expanse of stainless steel, backed by beautifully laid tile walls…

We arrived a few minutes before our 7 p.m. reservation to a bustling dining scene. The hostess said it wouldn’t be long before our table was ready – would we care to enjoy some drinks on the back patio while we waited? Indeed. Procuring wine and glasses from the bar, we trooped out to the new outside deck, perched directly over the sound… it proved to be the perfect spot to kill some time over Conundrum 2004 ($40), watching a perfectly rosy sun slip slowly into the sound.

The hostess returned, took our party to a booth and presented our menus. We poured over the choices, which ranged from fresh seafood to enticing cuts of beef. Our server was soon tableside, reviewing the specials. I was immediately swayed by the promise of seared U-10 scallops (a classification meaning there are less than 10 scallops per pound, so there are some huge, fat specimens of scallop-dom). They were presented with crisp-tender asparagus, tomatoes and a summery corn sauce. The scallops were outrageously fat and juicy, perfectly cooked through – the sauce really gilded the lily on this one.

The rest of my dining companions chose to start with salads. The classic Caesar ($7.95) was as good as ever, which is to say, very nicely done. The almost classic crisp iceberg wedge ($8.95) was topped with Maytag blue cheese, sweet ‘n’ spicy pecans and gorgeously thick cut bacon. Let’s be real, folks, the wedge is purely a blue cheese-delivery method, and this one met and exceeded expectation.

Plates were swept away, and we chatted among ourselves, straining to hear over the growing buzz of surrounding, multi-layered conversations. Duck is, ultimately, a tourist destination, and the people who fill its restaurants are a reflection of that mindset. Family-types, younger couples and older friends all share seat space with tea-swilling Southerners and some who seem to have had a bit much to drink – it’s all part of the atmosphere.

Our waiter soon swept back with the entrees. I had the grilled marinated Atlantic swordfish ($23.95), presented beautifully stacked atop Chanterelle mushroom and smoked Surry sausage lentils. The fish was extremely mild, and completely overpowered by its accompaniments. Sweet lump crab salad perched atop, festooned with micro-greens: mixed together, very tasty and fresh. With room to spare, I nibbled on the meals of my companions. Dave had the cider-brined pork chop ($18.95), a thick and juicy cut of meat that was flawless bite after bite. A fat square of elbow mac ‘n’ cheese was quite good, but slightly shriveled. The cumin-lime coleslaw was vibrantly crisp, while the green-chile barbeque sauce fell sweetly and flatly short.

My dining companions seemed to have made great selections all around. Saute of jumbo lump crabmeat ($24.95) was alive with bright ocean flavors. Surrounded by smoked salmon and perched atop spoon bread, it was Southern goodness in one happy little bowl. The grilled prime beef tenderloin ($32) was a succulent and well-prepared cut, quite tender and leaving the mouth filled with a deep, beefy sense of satisfaction. Completely worth the price of admission, as were the crispy onion rings, roasted new potatoes and black truffle butter – in a word, luxurious.

It was an impressive amount of food, but we were far from finished. Dessert was a simple array of enticingly homey dishes. I had a Madeleine-studded buttermilk ice cream ($7.50), strewn with blueberries and strawberries. A few spoonfuls proved a rich and satisfying end to the eve. Dave went with the strawberry-rhubarb cobbler ($7), nailed dead-on between sweet and tart, and made richer by a scoop of the lavish buttermilk ice cream.

The ever-changing menu is a study in the world of regional fresh foods, prepared with an eye to detail and consistency.

The Blue Point Bar & Grill, 1240 Duck Road, overlooking the Currituck Sound from the Waterfront Shops in Duck, NC. Phone: (252) 261-8090.  Reservations may also be booked online.

Hours: Open daily for lunch from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner seating from 5:00 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m.
Alcohol: Beer, wine and full bar
Smoking: No

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