Update- unfortunately Captain VP's appears to have closed. We stopped by on October 25, 2013 and found a notice saying the restaurant was closed. There was no explanation. We are sorry to see them go.
We have three new restaurants in the area as of the summer of 2014. Santorini Grille has taken over the space once occupied by Captain V.P.'s. Also new to the area and in the space where Fairway Restaurant operated successfully for years is Angie's Lighthouse Cafe. The newest restaurant in the area is the recently opened Swan's Burro. In addition to these restaurants in permanent facilities, Lil Johnny's Crab Shack has provided some memorable shrimp and fish tacos this summer from a food truck at the Salty Air Open Market in Cedar Point.
It has been seven years since I was inspired enough to write one of my Dining Along Side Roads columns.
That is a long time and a lot of meals to find another restaurant that is deserving of a post on View from the Mountain. We have been reviewing lots of restaurants for our travel guide, but none merited a full article here.
I am thrilled to have found another restaurant where the food, the atmosphere, and the staff work together to create a memorable dining experience. It is only by chance that we dropped in at Captain V.P.'s for lunch on Thursday, July 25, 2013. We were headed for another place but fortunately we had some well-traveled and adventurous close friends with us.
We saw the open sign and stopped out of curiosity. The Crystal Coast is not a large area and a new restaurant, especially one on the water, is big news. Ron and I went in to check out the menus while the ladies waited in the car. We were on the hunt for fried oysters since Ron's wife, Jeanette, had told us that was what she wanted for lunch. After quickly glancing at the lunch menus, we found no fried oysters and were actually walking out the door, when we were lured back in by the admission that they were having some menu challenges and the fried oysters just had not made it on the lunch menu.
The meal that we enjoyed on July 25, was perhaps the best restaurant meal that I have had in the last five years. It could be longer but I cannot remember many meals beyond that length of time.
The food at Captain V.P.'s was perfectly prepared. The service was great, and the items that we tasted were unique. We got to meet the owner, Sassy. She was a gracious host, and we are excited to have her running a new restaurant in our area. They will inevitably have a few startup challenges, but there is no doubt in my mind that Sassy will make sure things are running smoothly as quickly as possible.
Glenda and I actually went back for a second meal on Saturday. The hush puppies which were very good on Thursday were even better on Saturday. I am perfectly happy to be patient as the food gets even better. Right now if someone asks me where to go for great seafood and a wonderful dining experience, I will tell them to go to Captain V.P.'s during the mid-afternoon. Without the crowds that might overwhelm them as they get up to speed, this place is hard to beat. That first late lunch we had was such a great meal that we did not even try to eat another meal later in the day.
So far we have tried the seafood nachos appetizer which is based on hand-cooked tortilla chips. It is so tasty that I plan for it to be my next meal. We also had fried green tomatoes and Down East style chowder before the fried seafood combination with flounder, clam strips, crab cake, and oysters that we split.
The flounder and clam strips were better than any that I have tasted in local restaurants recently. The crab cake was filled with crab and the oysters were fresh and delicious. My wife who is not a fan of Down East chowder absolutely loved the Captain V.P.'s version. I was exceptionally pleased with the overwhelming number of clams in the chowder. I think the fried green tomatoes were the best that I have ever eaten. We also split a piece of wonderful pineapple cake four ways. On the following Saturday, I tried an Oyster Po' Boy and my wife had a Reuben sandwich. Both were excellent. We have friends who tried a steam pot and enjoyed it.
It is actually very exciting to have a new restaurant to explore. We have seen lots of restaurants open over the years but very few actually warrant a second visit much less the planning of our next visit. I am looking forward to taking a friend who loves steam pots to Captain V.P.'s. I love steamed clams, mussels, and crabs.
Having a new restaurant to show off to friends is a great treat. There are obviously other places where we will still eat, but Captain V.P.'s has won the top spot as far as I am concerned. I will be wishing Sassy and her crew the best of luck at keeping their quality high and their prices reasonable.
While this is a really good review, my wife and I are actually demanding food critics since we want the readers of our travel guide for the Emerald Isle area to have the best possible experience when dining out. We dropped six restaurants from last year and listed only eleven restaurants and three fried seafood places that we recommend in our 2013 edition among the many places to eat in the area. That number has gone up to twelve restaurants since I have added Captain V.P.'s to the list.
Drop by Captain V.P.'s (Google map for directions to the location) and tell them David sent you. You will find them in the light blue building on the waterfront between the Highway 24 bridges in Swansboro right next door to my favorite seafood market, Clyde Phillip's Seafood where I get the shrimp and flounder that we cook ourselves. Keep in mind that any small restaurant can be overwhelmed during tourist season so follow my advice and have a very late lunch, you will not regret it.