NAGS HEAD, N.C.
There’s a slight problem with visiting the Outer Banks. There is a basic lack of effort when it comes to the restaurants on the sandbar. Few are standouts, most are mediocre and the rest are chains — Outback, Applebees, and national pizza chains dot U.S. 158. Bar-and-grills are plentiful and break down into two categories in terms of value —
“reasonable” and “you’re kidding.” There are more than a few pub-style restaurants that charge $14 for a hamburger or chicken sandwich. Two that we’ve been to fit the first category. Barefoot Bernies, a Pittsburgh Steelers bar with a rather vast menu, is in Kitty Hawk. The Outer Banks Brewing Station is in Kill Devil Hills.
Opened in 2001, the Outer Banks Brewing Station was America’s first wind-powered brewery. The wind turbine behind the restaurant pushes 10 KwH of electricity into the restaurant, supplementing its overall energy usage. The brewery is contained in the southern wall of the restaurant behind the bar.
The menu at the brewing station is eclectic. Standard pub fare of burgers and sandwiches mix with grilled meats and seafood. There are distinct Southern flavors — Smithfield pork and Virginia ham, among others — and a handful of Asian influences: sake is on the drinks menu, and edamame and seaweed salad are among the side dishes. Local produce and seafood is emphasized throughout the menu.
Because it is a brewpub, I opted for a sampler offering of beers. The Flight serves four six-ounce glasses. Olsch, at 4.8 percent, is a Kolsch-style ale in the spirit of summer ales like Harpoon or Samuel Adams. Nitwit (3.7 percent) is a Belgian-style white ale that is really hoppy. Stone Roses Stout (5.7 percent) is a coffee-style dark beer, reminiscent of Empire Brewing Company’s Black Magic Stout. My favorite was the Pipeline Pale Ale (4.3 percent), a citrusy, lightly hoppy refreshing ale. Also available was Santa’s Lil Sledgehammer, a 10 percent ale that I couldn’t bring myself to order, and homemade root beer, cream soda and ginger beer.
The Wife went for the OBBS cuban sandwich, a panini made with rotisserie pork loin, ham, pickles, swiss cheese and dijon mustard. She said it was good, but missing the citrusy, shredded pork found in a true Cuban. The Yard Bird, my choice, is a fried, but not breaded, chicken sandwich with a cilantro-lime aioli. The brown crust carried a nice flavor, while the aioli offered a cool herbal complement.
The service was questionable. Our waitress opted to serve people by handing my drinks and dishes to pass out to everyone. At bill time, she brought me six portfolios and had me divi up the bills to the appropriate people.
Service faults aside, the beers are first-rate and the food shows that little something that lacks here in the Outer Banks.
It shows effort.