Date of Visit: Friday, June 19, 2009 at 8:20 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: It seems like the Outer Banks are bursting with breakfast options this year! Most of the restaurants offer lunch or dinner specials, often featuring local seafood. But this year, as we cruised down Highway 12 toward our house, I feel like more and more of the signs boasted of early breakfasts for the vacationers heading to a busy day fishing or swimming or just generally laying out. So we made note of some of the signs, intending to come back later, and today we took advantage of a cloudy morning to visit Oceana’s Bistro.
ATMOSPHERE: We caught Oceana’s a lull, with only one table filled when we arrived, but it was soon packed by the time we got our food.
The overall atmosphere is beach casual, busy but subdued, with lots of families: mixed wood accents, different varieties of lighting, TVs with sports or CNN over the bar, paintings of beach themed stuff, plus some random pictures of wine bottles and pears. And a few leftover Christmas decorations. The whole place smells a little smoky – I often forget that not everywhere is smoke-free like Columbus. But this was eased by the blasting AC. There’s not a lot of seating: a full service bar with 12 stools, 2 big tables, 2 cafe tables, and 2 big circular tables.
FOOD: Oceana’s has a full menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their breakfast features enough variety to please anyone, with a few local touches (read: seafood). They offer different versions of eggs: steak & eggs, benedicts, quesadillas, and the like, as well as a range of omelets: the Seafarer’s, the Santa Fe, or you can build your own. On top of this, they offer all sorts of the breakfast standards: biscuits & gravy, French toast, BLTs, chicken and biscuits, muffins, and the typical range of drinks.
My eye was immediately drawn to the Seafarer’s Omelet, which is a basic omelet stuffed with crab meat and parmesan, served with a side of grits or potatoes. The omelet itself was simple: eggs, a little bit of cheese, probably some butter, and the crab. To their credit, the crab really took center stage, and I can’t complain about it. Not the most dynamic omelet, but being on vacation, I wanted seafood, and this didn’t disappoint.
Here’s a closer shot of the crab pouring out of the omelet. Mmmmm. The grits weren’t bad, either! Very light, with a good smattering of cheese.
We also ordered a side of French toast, which actually disappointed me. The bread seemed as if it had been toasted, then dipped in the batter and cooked. Or perhaps they didn’t use enough batter. Either way, the edges were crusty and hard, and I like my French toast custardy.
Breakfast Quesadilla. Also good, although my sister-in-law said it need a little more something to hold it all together. Like maybe a little more cheese or salsa or something.
And the chocolate milk was good, too.
SERVICE: Our server was very nice, and the food came out quickly. But she was the only person there to handle every table, aside from some guy standing behind the bar, so it was hard to get her attention when you needed something. Again, she was nice, although she wouldn’t split checks for each table.
And one shot of the chalkboard listing the week’s specials. Sounds like they have a good lunch and dinner menu, too!
OVERALL: Oceana’s offers a decent breakfast, although not the best on the islands. But it’s a comfortable, family-friendly place that features some local favorites (i.e. fresh seafood) as well as good versions of all your breakfast favorites. My only real complaint with the place is their logo, which features a practically naked mermaid. This was featured front and center on their menus, including, oh, the kids’ menu. It seems a little out-of-place for this type of restaurant.