This month, Terry’s restaurant review features Elizabeths Cafe and Winery. Sophisticated Elegance in Duck
Quietly nestled in the back of the Scarborough Faire Shoppes in Duck is a treasure of a restaurant. Elizabeth's Café and Winery has been in operation for 23 years. Yet, many tourists don’t know it exists and even some locals aren’t sure exactly where it is.
Under the guidance of owner Leonard Logan and manager Alice Read, Elizabeth's operates in quiet serenity, turning out elegant and sophisticated cuisine each evening. If you have ever enjoyed a relaxed dining experience where cell phones are not chirping, dinner conversations are held in hushed tones, classical music plays softly in the background, and the wait staff is so professional that your every need is anticipated before you can even ask for something, you will relish the dining experience at Elizabeth’s.
The hallmark of Elizabeths Cafe and Winery is their prix-fixe Wine Pairing Dinner featuring some of their signature dishes. The meal starts with an amuse bouche of the chef’s creation, followed by an appetizer. The pecan-crusted Sweet Onion Torte with Goat Cheese, drizzled with an aged balsamic reduction is a perfect blend of sweetness, creaminess, and tartness. Or, you may select Elizabeth’s Original Scallop and Brie Bisque with Granny Smith Apples, a unique and sublime combination of flavors. An intermezzo of refreshing sorbet is provided to cleanse the palate in preparation for the entrée. The Prime Angus Beef Tenderloin Medallion Au Poivre with Porcini Mushroom sauce accompanied by generous portions of garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables is the star of the meal. As in all of the culinary creations at Elizabeth’s, the ingredients are top-quality and the dishes are flawlessly executed. Finally, there is dessert and fresh roasted coffee. Whether the dessert is the crème brulee or the blood orange sorbet, it is the perfect ending to a perfect meal. Each course is accompanied with a 4-ounce pour of wine, specifically chosen to pair well with each dish, enhancing the flavors of both the cuisine and the wine. To say that this is a fine dining experience is an understatement. This Wine Pairing Dinner is truly memorable; it is something you will think about long after you have finished your meal and left the restaurant.
If you want to opt for fewer courses, but still maintain the experience, you can order a la carte. The Smoked Mozzarella Roasted Red Pepper Ravioli with Shitake Mushrooms in a White Truffle Cream sauce is deliciously decadent. One of the most popular dishes at Elizabeths Cafe and Winery is the Pan Seared Sesame Crusted Sushi-Grade Tuna with a Soy Ginger Buerre Blanc served with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and an Asian Seaweed Cucumber Salad. It speaks for itself, doesn’t it? The wait staff is very knowledgeable about the wine selection and can suggest pairings for you. Speaking of the wine selection, it is varied and abundant. The wine cellar itself is a sight to behold. Bottle after bottle arranged on floor to ceiling racks, each hand-catalogued so that the staff can easily find the perfect match for your meal. Elizabeth’s will also sell bottles of wine for you to take home after your meal. Weather-permitting, during the warmer months of the year, you can relax, set a spell, and sip wine and enjoy appetizers on Elizabeth’s porch. And, if you find yourself looking for a particularly romantic location to celebrate a special occasion, look no farther than Elizabeth’s.
The impressive talents of the chefs are not limited to the kitchen. The walls of the wine room are awash in colorful paintings by Executive Chef Brad Price and intriguing photographs by Sous-Chef Shawn Pennington. Chef Price also paints the decorative gourds you will see there. He is a self-taught artist and conducts art classes during the winter months in Southern Shores. These paintings and photographs are offered for sale, along with jewelry pieces designed by a member of the wait staff.
Each Thanksgiving, Elizabeths Cafe and Winery offers a special prix-fixe Thanksgiving feast which rivals anything you could imagine having on a luxury cruise liner. Diners may order as much as they want of all the dishes and may opt to include wines paired with the meal. Several of Elizabeth’s signature dishes are on the Thanksgiving menu, along with traditional Thanksgiving fare. At $95 for dinner with wine pairings and $65 for dinner without the wine, this Thanksgiving extravaganza presents diners with a not-to-be-missed opportunity to experience all that Elizabeth’s has to offer. Reserve your spot for this incredible feast today!