A Fond Farewell to OBX at Elizabeth’s Café & Winery

Our last day of vacation was spent exploring the island. Hubby and I started with trail walking in the northern part of Corolla. I was disappointed that we only saw one salamander, although we did encounter some of the largest spiders and spider webs that I’ve ever seen in the wild. After walking around the trails, we went to Outer Banks Cheesesteaks for some of the greasiest, best tasting cheesesteaks I’ve had outside of Philadelphia. From there, we walked around the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, which is a working lighthouse, and Historic Corolla. We left there just in time to make it to Duck Town Park and watch the thunderstorm roll over the island from the mainland. While we weren’t able to capture the lightening in our photos, we both managed to get some good shots of the ominous storm clouds over Currituck Sound before the crazy rain started.

After drying out, Hubby and I went to Elizabeth’s Café & Winery for dinner. We had 6:30 reservations, but they were able to accommodate us when we arrived early. Elizabeth’s has been open for 20 years and has won awards fromWine Spectator and The Wine Enthusiast. Chef Brad Price is also an artist, and his paintings are on display in an art gallery that is part of the restaurant’s tasting room. Owner Leonard Logan, Jr. writes Elizabeth’s blog, The Wine Guy Uncorked.

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera or my notebook with me, so my tasting notes are sketchy and I don’t have pictures to accompany the post. However, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of sharing this little treasure with other food and wine lovers.

The six-course dinner menu was wonderful. I had the prix fixe dinner with the wine pairings, which was $125, and it would have been $200 per couple if we both had wine (a nice $50 discount), but as Hubby doesn’t drink and as I needed a designated driver, he order his without wine, which was $90. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that up until this dinner, our meals in the Outer Banks were overpriced disappointments. Elizabeth’s Café & Winery changed all that, allowing us to leave OBX on a high culinary note, as this dinner was worth every penny.

The Dinner

Initial Champagne & Chef’s Amuse Bouche
Blueberry, goat cheese, and chipotle pepper crostini
Perrier Jouët Grand Brut (the house, retail $40)

The crostini was very different, but I thought it was absolutely delicious. The blueberries added a touch of sweetness to the creamy goat cheese, while the chipotle peppers added the slightest hint of a spicy finish. Hubby was not a fan.

As for the Champagne, as someone who can’t stop smiling when she has a glass of bubbles in her hand, I thought it was predictably fun. It had subtle yeasty and citrus aromas that made for a beautiful champagne and a perfect way to start the meal. It paired nicely with the crostini.

Appetizer
Pan seared sesame-crusted tuna with a soy ginger beurre blanc and Asian seaweed salad
Dopff & Irion 2007 Alsace Pinot Blanc (1/2 glass) (
vineyard, retail $11)
and
Iris 2006 Pinot Noir (1/2 glass) (
vineyard, retail $20)

Both Hubby and I loved the tuna, which was seared and flavored beautifully—nice crusty outside, with a rare, warm center. The soy ginger sauce was addicting. My one complaint is that I wish there was a little more sauce, as I ran out before I finished the tuna.

Having both a white and red wine to accompany the tuna was a nice touch. Our server explained that most people don’t think about drinking red wines with fish (not surprising), so they wanted to be sure to include it as pairing with this dish. I thought the Pinot Noir was a better match for the tuna than the Pinot Blanc. The Pinot Noir brought out the soy and ginger flavors of the sauces without overpowering the tuna, creating a pleasant blending of flavors. That said, the Pinot Noir should have been decanted, as it was still a little “tight” and there was some sediment in the glass.

The Pinot Blanc enhanced the more fishy aspects of the tuna, which is not as much my style.

Overall, both were enjoyable, but the 2006 Iris Pinot Noir really stood out with this dish and, with a little decanting, I think it would have sparkled.

Salad
Mixed Napa greens – fresh and dried fruit with a pecan White Burgundy Chardonnay dressing
Colombelle 2008 Vin de pays des de Gascoigne (retail $9)

The salad was…well, salad. The vegetables were fresh and delicious, but it was the Colombelle that was the nice surprise of this course. The grapefruit aromas were so pronounced and juicy that I couldn’t stop smelling the wine. I actually made Hubby take a whiff. He was kind enough to humor me, and even as a non-wine drinker, he had no difficulty smelling the grapefruit aromas. The wine was refreshing and crisp—the perfect pairing for a salad or a hot summer day.

Intermezzo
Palate Cleanser Sorbet with a splash of Champagne

This was a delicious, tropical fruit flavored break before we started the main course.

Entrée Selection
Baked Alaskan halibut and crab cakes with lemon zest butter companied by Romano polenta and sautéed vegetables
Jordan Family Winery “J” Estate 2006 Russian River Valley Chardonnay (
vineyard, retail $36)
Or
Prime Angus tenderloin medallion au poivre with Porcini mushroom sauce accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables
Clark Claudon 2003 10th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (
vineyard, retail $50)

Hubby ordered the tenderloin, which he said was as smooth as butter and seasoned to perfection. He eats his steak well done, and often chefs ruin it either by burning the outside while undercooking the inside or by cooking out the flavor. Chef Price did neither, and Hubby said it was one of the best steaks he’s ever had.

I ordered the halibut and crab cakes, which were wonderful. The crab cake was placed on the halibut, which in turn was on a bed of polenta, and everything was drizzled with lemon butter. The halibut was flakey and tender, while the crab cakes were seasoned nicely with a good ratio of crabmeat to breading.

Admittedly, the Chardonnay was the disappointing wine of the night. Alone, it was simply ok. I expected the creaminess from the malolactic fermentation, the vanilla from the oak, and the peachiness from the grape to be a pleasant combination that brought out the flavors of both the wine and the entrée. Unfortunately, though, the wine was a little flabby and neither the wine nor the food showed anything special with the pairing. Matching a chardonnay with the dish was a good plan, but this wine just fell a little short.

Desserts
Ice cream
Pots de crème

The fresh roasted coffee and the rich, pots de crème was a perfect ending to my wonderful meal. Hubby happily finished off with the ice cream.

Overall, it was a night of delicious food and great wine. The service was impeccable and the servers were very knowledgeable. If you find yourself in Duck, don’t leave without trying Elizabeth’s Café & Winery.

Comments

  1. restaurant refugee says

    I had my farewell to OBX meal at Elizabeth's too. It was four years earlier and the first real vacation I had taken in a long time. Four days was what passed for a vacation back during my restaurant days. I had just started to really relax when it was time to head back. I entered Elizabeth's with some pre-return angst. It melted away very quickly over a delicious meal and top notch wine pairings.

  2. elizcafe says

    Thank you both for the kind comments- we love to hear praise and suggestions. Plesae join my facebook page- accessible from elizabethscafe.com. Thank you again, Leonard Logan

  3. Alleigh says

    RR…You know I love your feedback! Glad to hear that you had a similarly great experience.

    Leonard…thanks for stopping by A Glass After Work! The praise definitely well-earned, so thank you for making our last night in Duck a good one.

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