A few Outer Banks meals

Back from vacation at Nags Head. Here are some notes on restaurants we visited:

1. Blue Moon Beach Grill in Nags Head. I picked up on this small, completely anonymous-looking restaurant thanks to TripAdvisor and Patrick’s blog. I thought we’d like the place after we were walked through the strip mall where it’s located early one morning (it was near our cottage) and found an herb garden sandwiched on a thin strip of land between the restaurant’s back door and the highway. The restaurant features high-quality meals at a more-than-fair price for what you get, and it’s welcome in an area that’s starting to get too big-beach-buffet-dominated for my tastes.

2. The Sugar Shack, a seafood market next to the enormous Sugar Creek restaurant on Nags Head’s bay side. Sugar Creek is the kind of massive seafood restaurant we usually avoid, but this market, in a separate building nearby, was a real surprise. All of the seafood appeared to be of very high quality, and there are a handful of tables where you can eat in if you desire. Best part: Some of those tables are outside, overlooking the sound. We picked up a dozen crabs here and ate them on a picnic table outside, watching as the geese and gulls engaged in strategic warfare on the nearby dock. Local watermen and a couple of highway crews also wandered in to eat while we were there, which is always a good sign.

3. Tortugas Lie, located on the beach road in Nags Head. This place radiates a surfer vibe, down to the beach volleyball courts out back. We went on Sushi Night (the joint was packed with a long waiting line), then again for lunch a couple of days later. The food was good (although not as good as the TripAdvisor reviews I read would indicate) and the vibe was top-notch-laid-back-beach-bar. One down side: The second time we went, my wife ordered a crab cake, which turned out to be a round ball of shredded (not lump) crabmeat that was rolled in cornmeal and deep fried. However, my fish tacos were terrific on that trip (surfer vibe means ‘order the surfer food’). Above all, this is a great place to hang out at the bar, which takes up more than half of the entire place.

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