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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Alabama's White Sand Beaches: Part III

After leaving Tacky Jacks, Eric and I had a few hours to kill before we needed to meet up with the group again for lunch.  Naturally, we used that opportunity to try to find a few craft beers that we can't get in Baton Rouge.  Since we were rolling around before 10 AM, finding an open liquor store proved to be a bit of a challenge, but eventually we spotted one with an open sign and walked on in.  After grabbing a couple of six packs we journeyed back to the Phoenix All-Suites West where Brett/Robinson Properties put us up for the weekend.  Thanks, guys!

The View of the Oil-Free Beach from our Room at the Phoenix All-Suites West in Gulf Shores, AL
Once we got back to the room the time had come to pry open a few cold ones.  Eric, my beer-blogging brother, selected the Tommy Knocker Imperial Nut Brown Ale and the Bell's Two Hearted Ale for us to "research".  You can check the BR Beer Scene for some reviews of the beers themselves.  I will say that I really enjoyed the Two Hearted Ale as it fairly excellently combined malt with some great hops to leave a well balanced pale ale.

Tommy Knocker Imperial Nut Brown Ale and Bell's Two Hearted Ale
After bumming around and drinking a few brews, Eric and I headed to King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant for lunch.  King Neptune's is a local joint that has good character and some entrenched history of surviving hurricanes and now an oil spill.  They are known for their quality seafood and outstanding prices, as well as the royal reds that they serve up (deep-water ruby red shrimp).

King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant in Gulf Shores
I met Al Sawyer, the owner of King Neptune's, and chatted with him for a little while about his restaurant, the food on his menu, and his love for seafood.  He gave us a couple suggestions on what to order as well, though he naturally stressed that it is all good!

Jay Ducote and Al Sawyer Inside King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant
Al sent out a round of appetizers to get things started.  We began with some coconut shrimp and assorted baked oysters.  The shrimp may have been the best coconut shrimp that I've ever eaten.  I'm usually not a fan of coconut shrimp, but these were spot on!  The shrimp get dunked into a Coco-lopez batter then covered with shredded coconut and fried before getting served with a Creole Marmalade.  They oysters were certainly edible, but again they just weren't like the Louisiana oysters that I'm used to!

Coconut Shrimp at King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant
Four Kinds of Baked Oysters at King Neptune's
As an effort to not quit drinking, Eric and I each ordered a round of beers.  I opted for the Jimmy Buffett-inspired and Anheuser Busch-produced Land Shark Lager (which, due to the Parrot Head ties, is pretty much the beer of choice down there) while Eric ordered a Yuengling.  Ah, cheap, light swill.  I'll give Land Shark this... it is refreshing!  It tastes like a mix between a Budweiser and a Corona, for whatever that is worth!

Landshark and Yuengling... Enough to Keep Us Going!
As good as the coconut shrimp were, the highlight of the appetizers and really the entire meal had to be the West Indies Crab Salad.  The dish consisted of jumbo lump crab meat and sweet Vidalia onions that were drizzled in a special vinegar-based mixture.  The crab meat tasted fresh and absolutely delicious.  It may not be the cheapest thing on the menu, but it certainly is delightful and worth every penny!

The West Indies Crab Salad at King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant
For our entrĂ©es, as if we needed more food, Eric and I ordered shrimp just about every which way we could.  I figured it would be easier to make a decision that way!  My favorites were the boiled shrimp and butterflied shrimp.


 Starting at the Top Left and Going Clockwise: Boiled, Butterflied, BBQ Skewer, and Broiled (with Scallops and Flounder)

Finally, no good meal can be truly complete without dessert.  King Neptune's delivered with quite an interesting option: a deep fried cheesecake!

Deep Fried Cheesecake
I have mixed emotions about the cheesecake.  First, it was incredible.  The crispy exterior, the warm and gooey interior, the caramel and pecan sauce... I really wanted to like it for all the right reasons.  However, I'm a huge fan of cheesecake, and for some reason, something just proved interesting and mildly disturbing about eating a slice in this fashion.  On my first bite, the inside was so warm that it changed the texture of the actual cheesecake and some of it dribbled down my chin.  Hot melted cheesecake just isn't my thing!  However, as I got into the center the texture returned to normal and from that point on it was every bit as good as I had hoped.  Basically it is a frozen wedge of cheesecake that is coated in cornflakes and then flash-fried.  Interesting, yes, but that's just all the more reason for me to suggest that everyone give it a try!

Overall I had a very positive experience at King Neptune's and I would gladly go back.  The only think I really didn't enjoy were the skewed and barbecued shrimp.  Other than that, everything tasted great!  After King Neptune's it was on to a kayaking adventure, but I'll save that for the next post!

King Neptune Steamed Seafood on Urbanspoon

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