When you live in New England a day spent at the beach in October is a rare thing; the weather is usually too cool. But in Eastern North Carolina it is not at all unusual. So that is what we did on a beautiful sunny day, when the temperature was in the mid -70’s. Driving a short distance from where we were staying, we took the Minisotte Ferry ( a free ride) to Morehead City and on to Atlantic Beach.
This whole area of the coast is made up of creeks, salt-water inlets, sounds, and various other bodies of water which require that you drive around them to get to the next town down the line. These are all beach-oriented communities that have summer visitors who rent the cottages lining the beach, but by fall most have left the area, and the communities become quiet with only the local full-time residents left. Surprisingly there were quite a few stores, restaurants and other business still open, so we drove around enjoying the sights of pastel cottages, quaint streets and very friendly people.
Atlantic Beach is located over a cause-way from Morehead City, and is comprised of one street running parallel to the beach, along which you find many very pretty cottages, interspersed with beachy-type shops and restaurants. At the very end of this road is Fort Macon State Park.
We came to this narrow strip of land in search of a seafood restaurant in which to have lunch. We were in luck to find the Crab’s Claw, an oceanfront Caribbean restaurant situated right on Atlantic Beach and featuring locally caught fish. It was a warm, sunny day, so we chose to sit outside on one of two decks overlooking the sand and the water. What a lovely spot!. We relaxed and watched walkers and bikers on the boardwalk as well as a few folks out on the beach.
Our waitress was knowledgable about the menu and the day’s special offerings. Most lunch entrees were very moderately priced ranging from $8.00 – 12.00. The special offering for lunch was fresh sushi-grade tuna, lightly seared and then chunked for a tuna salad with added finely grated carrot, red onion, and a “bite” of chipotle. This was served “open-faced” with a melt of Swiss or American cheese on the top, and accompanied by triangles of toasted flour tortillas. Two of us chose this offering and we both loved it. The tuna was cooked just right, tender and flavorful, not overwhelmed, but enhanced by the additional other ingredients.
My husband ordered the Cuban Sandwich on a Kaiser Roll. This consisted of thinly sliced ham and pork with lettuce and tomato and melted cheese. It was served with sweet potato fries. He enjoyed his choice and said it was very good.
The other gentleman in our party ordered the Caribbean Barbecue Burger, also served with lettuce and tomato and french fries. He ordered his burger rare, which it was, and he really enjoyed it. There were slices of hot peppers in amongst the lettuce and tomato, giving it that Caribbean kick.
All of us were well-satisfied with our choices, and left this delightful place feeling that we had been well fed.
If I lived here I would be going to the Crab’s Claw frequently for lunch, so for anyone vacationing in this part of the country, be sure to make a visit. Since the season is winding down, they will be closing on select days of the week, so call ahead to check about days they are open.