Sometimes you feel like you want to go to the end of the world, a quiet strip of sugar sand beach and angelic white egrets floating over a maze of emerald green seaside marsh. This is Shell Island Resort at the northern tip of Wrightsville Beach, and its restaurant is a delicious slice of this Heaven on earth.
Dine right at sunset’s peak, when near panoramic views frame the sky’s golden rose bands. The ground-floor restaurant puts you at sea level. It feels as if you’re dining right on the shore. Sit inside or outside. Either way, linger.
Start with a refreshing signature cocktail such as Ocean’s Jewel, a vodka and pink lemonade blend with a splash of fizzy lemon-lime soda. Pair it with huge, pesto-marinated shrimp. Sit at the bar and share creamy crab dip seasoned with locals’ favorite Old Bay blend and a bottle from the lovely wine list. Beer lovers find craft selections, imports and their favorite domestics.
You could nosh on all appetizers – they’re that good – but reading the menu makes you crave more. Chef Chef Anthony O’Neil Green, Sr. sautes fresh tiger shrimp in garlic butter. He tosses the seafood with sweet tomatoes, salt-kissed tasso ham, mushrooms and scallions and then spoons it all over fluffy cheese grits for shrimp and grits that honor his South Carolina homeland.
Surprising touches mark many dishes incorporating the freshest ingredients. Chef stirs blue crab and roasted corn into Carolina Corn Chowder. Melted cheddar cheese naps bacon-wrapped barbecue chicken breast. Crab cakes are gluten-free, meaning lots of crab. Get a traditional fried seafood platter, and do not miss Chef Green’s crunchy fried chicken. Customers rave about the aroma and flavor, which would surely make Green’s mother proud. His cooking began in her Southern kitchen.
Lunch brings light but satisfying sandwiches and salads that prepare you for late-afternoon volleyball, kayaking, paddle boarding or poolside napping. Grilled black bean burgers with avocado and pico de gallo please vegetarians. Meat-eaters love the homemade chicken salad and the smoked pulled pork, a little apple cider vinegar tang and crown of coleslaw on a ciabatta bun.
Follow anything on the menu with authentic key lime pie mounded with freshly whipped cream. Better yet, end it all with Death By Chocolate Cake filled with chocolate mousse, glazed in chocolate ganache and loaded with chocolate chips.