Justine suggested we try the new North Beach Fish Camp located at 100 First Street, Neptune Beach, Florida 32266 904-249-3474
On their facebook page the description states, "Located in the heart of Neptune Beach, Chef & Owner Ben Groshell has once again outdone himself with the newest edition to his restaurant family: North Beach Fish Camp. Following in the success of Ponte Vedra Beach's Palm Valley Fish Camp, the NB Fish Camp will delight diners with fresh creative Southern fare, fresh seafood, and sought after bread pudding. This location adds a bonus of a roof top bar with extended weekend hours. If you like PVFC you will love the new NBFC!"
I hadn't heard any reviews - so I wasn't biased either way. I knew it was related to Palm Valley Fish Camp, which I love, so it sounded great to me! When we first arrived at 7:00 pm we were told that there was an hour and a half wait for outside seating and inside was at least two hours. Since we weren't in a rush we said first available was fine and put our names down. The hostess agreed to call us on my cell phone when the reservation was ready so we walked to the Lemon Bar on the beach to have a drink. We had just barely finished one drink when the hostess called - in less than an hour. We walked back over and were seated at a table outside.
Our waiter was not overly friendly, but nice enough, and brought us our glasses of wine. I ordered the house chardonnay for $6. We did notice that there is a happy hour in the main dining area from 4-6 pm and in the upstairs bar area from 4-7 pm but we had just missed that. Next time we'll know to get there earlier!
Our waiter went over the specials and I decided to order the Green Tomato Salsa over Herb Crusted Tilefish with Jasmine Rice and Seasoned Vegetable special for $22 and Justine ordered the Blackened Mahi with Grits and Collard Greens for $22.
While we waited for our entrees, we relaxed with another glass of wine and watched people stroll by. At one point I walked to the powder room through the main dining room noticed that the noise level was significantly greater with a very spirited crowd inside, as well as a busy bar area - so if you're looking for a lively atmosphere sit inside, and if you want a more casual, relaxed atmosphere for chatting, sit outside.
When our food arrived, I noticed the significant portion size and impressive food presentation. My special was mouth-wateringly tangy with chunky, deconstructed green tomato salsa and citrusy lemon topping the herbed mahi - all the flavors and textures were well balanced.
Justine's said the blackened mahi with a creamy sauce, grits and collards was her favorite dish on the menu, rating it a first-class recipe with its bitter-sweet greens and creamy grits.
We rounded out the meal with my favorite desert flavors in a Chocolate Torte with Sea Salt. This rich dessert was perfect to share and each bite had the taste of peanuts, caramel, chocolate and sea salt.
Our entire meal came to $80 with two glasses of wine a piece, two entrees and a dessert. For the price, it was a nice birthday night out, but I could see myself also going there for a normal week night enjoying appetizer and a few cocktails for probably a third of the price.
I will definitely be going back as soon as I can to review more of their menu items.
After dinner we headed over to the historic Casa Marina hotel in Jacksonville Beach to go dancing and had a blast.
This was one of my best birthdays yet!