NAGS HEAD, N.C.
FACT #1: Unless they are located in Las Vegas, buffets have nothing to do with culinary achievement (I recommend the buffet at the Wynn).
FACT #2: Buffet dining has everything to do with gluttony and nothing to do with eating well.
FACT #3: Seafood buffets are disgusting.
FACT #4: The exception to fact number three is Captain George’s Seafood Buffet.
I’m a pig. We’ve covered this in The Weight Loss Story and, as you may have noticed, I have some slight weaknesses when it comes to food. This trip has long been one of those weak spots. (Another handful of potato chips? Only if there is dip!)
Seafood is difficult to come by in Syracuse, N.Y. On North Carolina’s Outer Banks, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a roadside seafood store. (None of them look clean, but there are a few where looks are deceiving.) In addition to the seafood restaurants, there are three seafood buffets. Carolina Seafood is cleaner, but old. Lots of paneling at this spot on N.C. Route 12. Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet has been renovated in the past few years, but a dump. This was our main haunt for a number of years, always with the fear that one of us would end up with Ptomaine.
Captain George’s has a few things in its favor:
- It opened in 2008 and is fairly new.
- They clean it regularly.
- The ambience. It’s more hotel banquet hall than it is total shithole.
I’m sure that the other stuff at Captain George’s is fine, but the visit is about two things: crab legs and shrimp, though the latter is a distant second. The average visit involves about three or four trips to the buffet line and no less than 50 crab legs. I justify this because of something a nutritionist once told me. I saw a clinical dietician in 2000 who said that as far as she was concerned, I could eat as much seafood as I wanted as long as it was steamed or broiled.
So I do.
I always wondered how they made money charging $31 a head when The Wife and I could clear 80-odd legs in one setting. As I walked around and saw the one trip and done crowd, I got the idea.
$31 per adult for dinner, kids age 4 and under eat free with the purchase of a beverage; $3-$3.50 for a draught beer; $2.50 for soda; and $5.50 for a glass of house wine. Dinner for eight adults, two under 4s and a couple of infants that took up space was $351 with tip. Not too shabby.