In late 2017, I noticed a new restaurant had just opened up on Route 347 in Nesconset, New York called The Green Turtle. The restaurant had taken over a spot that had previously been occupied by Famous Dave’s Barbeque Restaurant. Like any new restaurant that opens in the Smithtown area, the place has been packed day and night since it opened. The origins of the Green Turtle goes back to 1976 when The Green Turtle Restaurant first opened its doors in Ocean City, Maryland. After many years of growth and franchising, The Green Turtle Restaurant has landed in the very competitive New York restaurant market. Will they last longer than Famous Daves? Well, so far people seem to be making return trips to the place which is always a good sign. We made our first stop today. Here is a quick review of our initial visit to the Green Turtle Restaurant.
Our first impression as soon as we walked through the front door was “wow! this place is loud.” When you enter The Green Turtle you are led into a small hallway with openings that lead to the restaurant on both your right and left side. To your left is the bar area which also contains many tables. To the right is the side that is all dining tables. The right side is also the area in which The Green Turtle seems to seat all the big parties. As the hostess was leading us to that very loud side, I begged her to please seat us on the other side, which she happily obliged to do so.
The bar side of the restaurant is loaded with television screens which you can observe in our photo at the top. The bar is rather large and I have heard it gets very crowded during big-time sports events. Our request to sit on the bar side may have backfired if it was during an important game. Nonetheless, it was not that loud during an early Sunday afternoon during the summer.
We were received very quickly at our table by a very friendly waitress named Lorraine. I asked Lorraine what were the most popular items on the menu and whether or not those would be the food items she would recommend. Lorraine assured me that the half-pound Maryland recipe crab cake dinner or crab cake burger were the most popular entrees. As for an appetizer, Lorraine raved about the pretzel and crab cake dip. She also argued that besides those being the most popular items, they were her favorites and gave them her highest recommendations.
For drinks, I ordered a diet coke and my wife a frozen Strawberry Daiquiri. No one brought water to the table. The Strawberry Daiquiri arrived looking good and loaded with whipped cream on top. My wife loved the drink as it was just the right amount of syrup, ice, and rum. She did, however, complain that the second was much weaker than the first.
Our appetizer of pretzels and crab dip arrived very quickly. The dip was as good as Lorraine raved it would be. One could easily taste the fresh crab meat covered in parmesan cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella and assorted spice. It’s not a spicy dip, but it is a bit heavy and easily feeds two people. Priced at 13.99, it’s an appetizer that you should be able to stretch across the table for two people. The pretzels were large, but a bit dry, although some people probably prefer their pretzels to not be soaked in heavy butter like the Aunt Annie type. Gourmet pretzels and dips seem to be part of a popular trend in franchise restaurants these days. My favorite is still the pretzels and dip served at Applebees.
Our waitress Lorraine was very busy handling many tables. However, she always made it a point to keep us updated on our orders. The restaurant utilizes different people to deliver drinks, appetizers, and entrees. It seems very well run and organized, and everyone is very friendly. It’s a smart business model because the last thing anyone wants is frustrated customers before they even had a bite of food.
Our two entrees arrived in good time after we were done with our Maryland Crab Cake dip and pretzels. I took Lorraine’s advice and ordered the Maryland Crab Cake Dinner. My wife ordered a Black & Bleu Shrimp Salad. The salad featured grilled shrimp, mixed greens, bacon, bleu cheese, onion, and tomatoes. There was as a side of Bleu cheese dressing served with the salad. The salad was delicious. All the ingredients were incredibly fresh. The greens were crisp as was the bacon. The dressing was perfect. Our only complaint was that the shrimp was just a little undercooked.
The Maryland Crab Cake was as good as our waitress Lorraine described it to be. This was no typical crab cake. The Green Turtle’s Marland Crab Cake was a half a pound of fresh crab meat baked with moist ingredients that wrapped the crab cake into a perfect texture of complete happiness. This was good crab cake. One of the best I have ever had. Hands down, it was the largest crab cake I have eaten. If you’re going to try one item on the menu at The Green Turtle, you have to try the Green Turtle Maryland Crab Cake. However, it’s a shame that the sides that come with the crab cake do not measure up to the same level of perfection as the crab cake. The french fries were good, but nothing special. The so-called power slaw, which was in essence very dry cole slaw, was a disappointment. It’s possible I just received a dry mix, but that’s what they served me. You might want to ask if you can change the sides with the crab cake.
Any restaurant that serves such a spectacular Crab Cake resonates with the possibility that there may be a very special dessert on their menu. The Green Turtle Restaraunt did not disappoint in that category. The dessert menu had a very enticing photograph of a dessert called Monkey Bread. It was a dessert described as a cinnamon bun topped with vanilla Breyers Ice Cream, caramel drip, Heath Toffee Bar bits and whipped cream. Now come on, how can one pass that up? The only question was, would it look as good placed in front of me as it did in the photograph?
Well not only did it look as good, it looked better! And yes, it was a dessert to die for. As we are somewhat health conscious. we took only one bite of the fried cinnamon bun, but the rest of it was just too good to stop devouring. Amazing dessert and a great way to end a really great meal and dining experience. While the sides may be a little weak, the quality of the crab cakes, salads, and desserts were outstanding. We could not have asked for more friendly service. The Green Turtle is a restaurant that I have no problem recommending to anyone who wants to have an enjoyable and worthwhile dining experience. It’s also moderately priced.
The Real Thing!
More photographs from our Green Turtle Restaurant Review