I recently returned from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I go there a couple of times a year to rest, relax, and recharge my batteries. There is a lot a love about the area but I have to admit that the restaurants aren’t included on that list. I’m not saying that there aren’t some good eating establishments there. I’m sure there are. It just seems that I normally find the worst one. However, that wasn’t true this trip.
My daughter and son-in-law wanted to take my husband and I out to eat for our anniversary. I wasn’t sure where to go since typically they like a different kind of food from us. So we decided to try something totally new in hopes of finding a place that they would love as much as us. We definitely hit the jackpot with Kelly’s.
From the outside, Kelly’s looks like a huge, beautiful house. Once you step inside, however, it resembles an amazing hunting lodge with tall ceilings, deep wood accents, personal photographs of boats and fishing trips, a collection of duck decoys, and so much more.
One part of the establishment is a huge lounge and bar that is absolutely perfect for wedding receptions, class reunions, and other large get togethers. My daughter and I eyed it greedily because we both love to dance and Kelly’s has a party just about every night.
Another part of Kelly’s is dedicated to its cooking and catering kitchen. Kelly’s Catering has a reputation for providing outstanding service in the catering arena. It is often booked season ahead in order to ensure the perfect corporate retreat, gala event, or anniversary celebration.
Kelly’s cuisine is award winning, partially because they only use the freshest ingredients. They are dedicated to pleasing even the most discriminating palate. They are constantly creating savory signature dishes and homemade breads and desserts. They often customize menus according to the individual event. Whether is for two or 2,000, Kelly’s is ready, willing, and able to serve.
The remainder of Kelly’s is dedicated to its beautiful restaurant, which is multi-level. There is a lovely dining area tucked underneath the mezzanine level with huge, glassed in bookcases on one end filled with duck decoys. They are also featured on the wall. The floor up above hold another intimate dining area slightly larger but every bit as lovely.
Everything about Kelly’s is first class, from its beautiful waiting area that resembles a living room, complete with comfortable over-stuffed couches and plenty of material to read while you wait. I absolutely adored the animal print couches, which I could have rested on for hours.
Lamps that look more like candlelight beautifully light the dining areas. Each table is adorned with white linen tablecloths green linen napkins, and crystal glasses from water to wine. The silver is simple and elegant.
From the lighting of the room to the last sip of champagne, Kelly’s devoted staff takes pride in making sure every detail of the meal is exquisite. Our waitress was absolutely delightful, often anticipating what we wanted before we even asked for it.
Our drink glasses were never empty and she took time to speak with my grandson to make sure that his dinner was cooked to his specifications. I was also amazed that her beautiful smile never left. It was as bright a welcoming when she brought us our check as it was when we first arrived.
Kelly’s menu is certainly extensive enough to provide something for just about anyone. A wide range of early dining specials are available from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During the rest of the year, the early bird special runs from 4:30 until 6:00 p.m.
In addition to the freshest fish, shellfish and top quality duck, veal and Black Angus beef, Kelly’s offers vegetarian choices, a full raw bar selection, and a children’s menu that includes steak and shrimp. Here is a cross section:
Starters range from $5.99 to $8.99:
Oyster Rockefeller, Casino, or a Combo of Both;
Buffalo Tuna or Shrimp;
Warm Lump Crab-Artichoke Spinach Dip;
Smoked Tuna; and
Soup & Salad ranges in price from $2.99 to $5.99:
Warm Mushroom Salad;
Classic Caesar Salad;
Creamy Crab Soup;
Clam Chowder; and
French Onion Au Gratin.
Kelly’s Classics (how they spell it) range in price from $17.99 to $22.99:
Bronzed Chicken; and
Specialties range in price from $16.99 to $32.99:
Flounder with Lump Crab;
Lump Crab Remake;
Gulfs and Shrimp;
Smokey Filet Oscar;
Honey-Hickory BBQ Ribs;
Lump Crab Cakes, and
Pasta ranges in price from $16.99 to $19.99:
Chicken Penne in a smoked bacon-roasted garlic cream;
Shrimp & Sea Scallops Penne with wild mushrooms and a roasted tomato cream; and
Vegetarian Penne in a tomato pesto with wild mushrooms.
From the Grill ranges in price from $15.99 to $27.99:
Filet Mignon with Béarnaise;
London Broil; and
From the Sea ranges in price from $17.99 to $27.99:
NC Seafood Collection; and
From the Steamer ranges in price from $4.50 to $16.00:
Steamed Spiced Shrimp; and
Early Bird Specials range in price from $11.99 to $14.99:
We all ordered the Early Bird Specials. My daughter and I tried the London Broil while my son-in-law went for the Fried Flounder and my husband opted from the Fried Shrimp. All of our dishes came with a fresh, tossed salad, mashed potatoes, and cauliflower. The waitress even made certain that my grandson had his own scoop of potatoes.
I wasn’t wild about the London Broil myself but everyone else loved it so it was probably just my taste buds. I didn’t try the fried flounder but my son-in-law pronounced it delicious. My husband’s shrimp, however, was out of this world. I couldn’t quite place the flavors but they were perfect and the shrimp wasn’t over done; a common mistake a lot of restaurants make.
Everyone loved the cauliflower and potatoes. The salad was also quite good. My favorite part of the meal, however, was the bread. When we were seated we received a huge basket of rolls which included white, wheat, and sweet potato. They were all absolutely wonderful but I’ll admit, I was crazy about the sweet potato rolls. Who knew that something that sounds so odd could taste so delicious?
The food portions were huge so my husband I figure we will just buy one entrée in the future and split it. We couldn’t even begin to eat everything on our plates.
The prices may be a little steep but, trust me, they are well worth it. Eating at Kelly’s is a real dining experience. We’ll be going back a lot in the future.
This restaurant gets four and one-half out of five stars.