Thursday, July 27, 2006

OBX Finale

The last place we ate out at during our Outer Banks trip was Howard's Pub and Raw Bar on Ocracoke Island. From Avon you drive to the southern end of the island and catch the ferry over to Ocracoke Island. I would suggest an early supper, since traffic lines can get kind of long. The night we went over we got back to the ferries and they were running 3 at a time in order to get everyone back. The ferry ride is a nice 45 minutes or so and not unpleasant at all. Once you get off the ferry, just drive. You cannot miss Howard's.

Despite appearing to be packed to the gills there was plenty of space and we were seated immediately. I was disappointed to learn that they didn't serve Root Beer, despite serving beers from some breweries that brew Root Beers, as well. I was satisfied with the Ice Tea, tho. We got right down to business and started our ordering. My wife was delighted with her choices of beer, (Howard's offers over 200 beers on their beer list!) and even bought herself a nice pint glass to indulge herself with when she was at home.
Not being a beer fan and having no Root Beer I settled down to getting some eating done. We ordered up a platter of Conch Fritters and I got a half dozen Oysters on the Half Shell. Even tho they were out of season by a few days the Oysters were a nice starter. Not as good as Gulf Oysters, but they were pretty good. The Conch Fritters on the other hand were only decent. They were a bit on the bland side and just didn't do a lot for me. We also had an order of nice Onion Rings. They were nice and crunchy with sweet onions on the inside. Nice!

As with many places in the OBX the kids meals were served up on "frisbees", which were a delight for them. The pizza and chicken strips for the kids were pretty good, too (according to the kids). While I'm not sure that I would care for Big Bread Pizza and Hush Puppies it was a big hit with my eldest.

Next it was our turn to get our orders. My wife had a seafood platter that she was very happy with. Hushpuppies, Shrimp, Flounder and Crab Cake, along with a really good beer made her a happy camper. I wish I could say the same. I ordered a full rack of Howard's Baby Back Ribs, which they advertise as smoked in their own smoker until they are "fall-off-the-bone-tender" and then finished on the grill. They were moderately smokey but were hardly "fall-off-the-bone-tender". The sauce was something from a bottle or jug that was OK, but not as good as you might make at home. They were meaty, they weren't bad, but they weren't anything special, either and that's too bad. I had heard that North Carolina was renowned for couldn't prove it by me. I've had the ribs at Big Bib Gibson's in Decatur, Alabama and they -along with my own- set the standards for what I look for in a restaurant serving BBQ. Sad to say that Howard's has OK ribs, but I'll order something different if I go back. It's not a 'Que joint, for certain. The Hush Puppies are pretty good, tho.

All in all our trip to Howard's was a success. The food was good, the service was good and we got to experience a new place. Always a good thing. I recommend Howard's on Ocracoke Island if you're down that way!

PS: I can't report on their desserts since we were too full for that. Maybe next time.

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