Ever since it opened, I have been trying to get out to Nippers Beach Grille. Lucky for me, it was on Living Social a little while back so I snagged a voucher! We finally went this weekend. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the place has a famous owner/head chef, the winner of Top Chef Kenny Gilbert. On one hand I thought it was going to be really good, and on the other hand I was worried that it was going to be one of those “fancy to be fancy, expensive to be expensive” sort of places. We were a little worried when we walked in on a Sunday at 11:30am and the place was empty. But once we sat down, it started to fill up (it’s also worth noting that it was a very rainy day). We started our meal off with the Chorizo con Queso and Salsa Fresca. We were pleasantly surprised when the waiter brought out a huge tub of chips! The salsa was pretty amazing. It was very thick but not chunky, and had more flavor than it was spicy. The queso was also a hit. I wish it was a bit thicker because it was a little runny, but the flavor was great. The chips had a dusting of Cumin and I really liked it!
I was going back and forth with what I wanted to get. I wanted the Shrimp and Grits, but in the end the Garlic Crab Mac and Cheese was the winner. The portion was big and there were lots of crab in the mac. The only negative I would say is that there were a lot of bread crumbs on the top. I think the dish would have benefited from having a sprinkling of bread crumbs rather than having the entire top on the mac covered. Still, the mac and cheese was delicious and very rich.
Ivan got the Fisherman’s Platter which had Fried Mayport Shrimp, Fried Fish, Conch Strips, Fries, and Pineapple Slaw. We have never had conch strips and were very curious about them, so I was really excited that they came on the platter. Ivan let me try one and I can now say that I am a fan. They reminded me a lot of fried clams. The breading on all of the items was very tasty and believe it or not, our favorite part was the fries…they were battered!!! OMG they were amazing! The also had a bit of seasoning on them and we agreed that they might have been the best fries we have ever tasted. I could talk about them all day, but I will try to move on...The fish was very tender and easily broke apart with a fork and the shrimp were large and fresh.
Verdict-Loved it! We were very pleasantly surprised at the quality and taste of the food. While Nippers is on the pricey side, we fully believe that it is worth every penny. Our service was also wonderful and we never had a dirty plate sitting in front of us for too long because they have staff that come around to help the waiters clear everything. Our experience was wonderful and we will definitely be back because I still have to try the Shrimp and Grits!