Thursday, September 01, 2005

Captain George's Seafood Restaurant

Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant is a small chain of restaurants in the Tidewater region of Virginia. The restaurant that I frequent is their location in Williamsburg, Virginia. There are four more restaurants in Virginia Beach, VA, Hampton, VA, Pungo, VA and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This is a fancy seafood restaurant with a complete menu and… the mother of all seafood buffets. This is the seafood buffet that all other seafood buffets should be judged by.

The Williamsburg restaurant is large with a separate dining room for smokers, a separate room with the “haunted” dinner theater attraction, and a large main dining room. The décor is that of a harbor front. One wall is a lighted façade of old shops and harbor side buildings. Another wall is an ocean view mural. In the main dining room is a three-masted schooner that is ONE of the buffet tables and it is almost the width of the restaurant on a diagonal. Another smaller schooner is adjacent with another buffet table and then two more tables are at the side. Scattered through the room are floor to ceiling supports that resemble the deck supports in the hold of a ship. This is the quintessential seafood restaurant.

Dinner here is not inexpensive. The buffet costs $25.99 per adult and unlimited soft drinks are $1.99. A maitre-de escorts you to your table. Tables are set with fine napkins and silverware. A menu is offered or the buffet. Your server comes to your table, introduces herself and takes your drink order. There is a bar and cocktails are available as are wine and beer. You order and then go off to the buffet. The server will bring your drinks, make sure there is a full drink always there, and clear your plates. Plates are located at the bottom of the schooner buffet table and you take them as you need them.

The start of the buffet is a small salad bar with greens, toppings, and prepared salads. You will find REAL crab salad here – large chunks of crabmeat (not sealegs) in a mayonnaise based sauce. The buffet moves along to two soups. One is white clam chowder that is thick and full of clams. The other is she-crab soup, a specialty of the restaurant. This is a thick, cream based soup full of crabmeat with a pleasantly, sharp taste. The buffet moves along to several broiled fish choices – on this night there were catfish in a cream sauce, salmon, and mahi mahi. As you continue you find pork barbecue, prime rib (pre-sliced), manicotti, potatoes, vegetables, gumbo, rice, a variety of fried seafood including shrimp, calms, scallops, and pollock. There are hushpuppies, rolls, corn on the cob, and then you come to the area seafood specialties – seafood Norfolk (Norfolk Special), deviled crab, Crab Imperial, crab cakes, stuffed clams, clams casino, baked clams and more.

On the next schooner are the highlights of the buffet. You first find large, steamed king crab clusters. These are large, hot, and full of meat. They are not sitting in water and are not soggy as they often are at some buffets. Next there are steamed hard blue crabs, steamed crayfish, steamed clams, mussels, Oysters Rockefeller, and hot, spiced, steamed shrimp. You will find non-seasoned shrimp cocktail on the salad bar. Of course, there is lots of hot butter sauce, cocktail sauce, and tartar sauce. Nut crackers are at your table to break the shells, along with several extra large, fancy paper napkins, and wetwipes. Take an extra plate to put the shells in as you eat.

Next there is a small round buffet around one of the ceiling supports with several cakes, Greek pastries, tarts, and cookies. This is followed by another buffet table with puddings, hot cobblers, and fruit. The deserts are exactly the same as those found at the Country Harvest Buffet Restaurant located a few miles away – see the article on that restaurant for my comments. The desserts are a feature here,

All of the food is excellent. There is every seafood that you can imagine with one exception – there is no lobster on the buffet. There is lobster on the menu. You will not miss it as there is everything else. Crab is king here and there is plenty of it in every form that you can think of along with every other type of seafood. This is a seafood feast.

Service is excellent. The server continually comes to the table to clear your plates, ask if there is anything that you need, and to keep bringing more beverages. Each time you get a new glass full of ice and drink with a new straw. At dessert you are invited to switch to coffee or hot tea if you wish.

This restaurant is frequented by both locals and tourists. At home 600 miles away, I have mentioned this restaurant and it is known. Even Santa Claus eats at this restaurant. Several years back in early December my wife and I visited this restaurant and there, a few tables away from us, enjoying crab claws was an elderly gentleman with a large white beard along with a lady with white hair in a bun. The gentleman was dressed in a plaid, flannel shirt and work pants. The lady was wearing a plaid skirt. They had their dinner and left without fanfare – but it was them, Santa and Mrs. Claus – there was no mistaking it!

One of the recent additions to this restaurant has been the haunted dinner theater – a theatrical production in a dining room separated from the main part of the restaurant. It is a spooky murder mystery and always has a crowd of both adults and kids. With the show you get the full buffet and come into the main dining room to pick up your meal and return to the fun.

Dinner starts serving at 4:00 in the summer and 4:30 in the winter. There is no lunch – on Sunday the dinner menu and buffet starts at Noon. The restaurant closes at 10:30 from Monday to Saturday in the summer and at 10:00 in the winter. Saturdays in the summer they open at 3:30. In the winter they close at 9:30 on Sundays. They state that the buffet menu may change with the season. I have been here both in the summer and the winter and do not recall much difference, if any.

In Williamsburg, the restaurant is located at 5363 Richmond Road. There is a website and it is linked at the side of the page. If you like seafood, do not miss Captain George’s. Even if you do not like seafood, there is something here for you. It is definitely an experience not to be missed by people who love buffets.


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Tracy said...

I really love Captain Georges, I am so very sorry that they moved from Richmond Virginia the restaraunt in Williamsburg I love the food.