Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I will admit, until now, I was terrified of the reasonably priced restaurants on the Outer Banks. Here's why: I have had really bad food at some of them and just swore the others off. Thankfully, Christy and Claire had been to Mama Kwan's quite a few times and excitedly suggested it as an option for Saturday night. These are the people that you trust and think 'okay, if they say its good, let's go'. We pull up and immediately see what we think is a gray feral cat hanging out in the parking lot. We have to pet him and worry about his existence but fortunately, discover that he is Kwan, Jr., the well-fed and beloved cat of the restaurant. We all felt much better and could eat in peace knowing this about Kwan, Jr.
Mama Kwan's menu has an Asian flare, but with some familiar casual dining selections. Appetizers range from wings and blackened tuna nachos to honey jerked chicken fingers and pork wontons. Sandwiches, salads, burgers and entrees, such as crab cakes, scallops and the infamous garbage plate make up the rest of the menu. I was torn between ordering one of two appetizers or an entree. I finally settled on the Pad Thai for $11.99 (plus $1 for an egg). You can add tuna, shrimp or chicken for a few bucks. Nikki ordered the California style fish tacos, which were highly recommended by our waitress for $12.99 (plus .75 for blackened), Claire chose the oriental chicken salad for $9.99 and Christy went with the wings ($8.99) and Thai Money Bags ($6.99 and a really cool name). I note the prices because everything is reasonable and portions are generous. The Pad Thai comes mild, medium or spicy and I opted for medium this time. I usually always go for spicy or hot, but with a new place, I wanted to be cautious and I think I would stick with medium going forward. The dish had a good amount of moisture, which is a plus since some Pad Thai meals are a little on the dry side. I was very excited about my meal. I tried one of the money bags and they were very cute to begin with and filled with shrimp and some vegetables. Its a take on an egg roll, but with less money and more bag. Christy said the wings were great did Claire in regards to the salad. I tried one of the tasty cucumbers, which are doused in Japanese rice vinegar. These are offered as a side, as is Butter Rum rice, which is on the list for my next visit. Nikki's fish tacos were huge, big enough to also necessitate a doggie bag (or kitty bag, as you will see) and she said they were some of the best she had ever had.
Nikki had a glass of the house Pinot Grigio and was pleased, as were Christy and Claire with the margheritas (mango is a flavor option). With the margheritas, you get Mama Kwan cups to take home, so you can try to remember your evening the next day. Other frozen drinks come in Tiki mugs or parrot-shaped glasses. These are the kinds of drinks that put me on the floor and I was driving, so I had to steer clear. Mama Kwan's bar is a happening place. It was almost full from the time we arrived (sometime after 8pm, a little earlier this night) until we left (after 10pm). The restaurant has a 'tiki' feel and is bright and clean inside. Our waitress was nice, but quiet, so we had to ask her to repeat a few things. Unlike, the jerk at Tortuga, this gal was very nice and happy to oblige.
Leaving the restaurant, we saw Kwan, Jr. sleeping on one of the benches outside. Again, we had to pet him, but this time felt better since he is the resident kitty at Kwan's. On our way home, we stopped for gas and saw a few feral kittens hiding in the brush by the gas station. Immediately, Nikki's leftover fish tacos were donated to the kittens. Its sad that people do not take care of their pets (spay or neuter) and these poor things have no homes. We hope that the fish tacos took care of them for a bit and hope for their best. They were shy, but I know they devoured Nikki's leftovers as soon as we pulled out. We were all happy to give to these cuties and only wish we had had more to offer to them. Some cities have a feral cat program where volunteers catch them, spay or neuter and then release the cats where they found them. The Outer Banks has a large feral cat population and this would be a good idea for the area.
Mama Kwan's is open daily for lunch and dinner and I will definitely be a repeat customer. Look for Kwan, Jr. to greet you.
Mile Post 10 on the 158 Bypass
Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948