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King Neptune's Restaurant Review & Recipe

Before visiting the Gulf Shores of Alabama, I wouldn't be caught dead with a crawfish in my mouth. It's not that I don't like shellfish, it's just that crawfish are just so... I don't know, maybe… southern. However, in my quest to explore Alabama's culture, I met Bebe Gauntt from the Alabama Visitors Bureau. With typical southern charm she said, "What do you mean you've never eaten crawfish? You've got to try it darling, it's delicious!"

Gulf Shore Eats

Obediently, I ordered the Crawfish & Tasso Fettuccine at The Bayside
Grill Restaurant and it was absolutely delicious. Fresh fettuccine tossed with sautéed crawfish claws, colorful bell peppers and garlic in a spicy Tasso cream sauce; I couldn't get it into my mouth fast enough. It had an unexpected shrimpy - lobstery taste, definitely not one of those vague "tastes like chicken" dishes you never eat again.

A sky-high platter of Southern seafood. Photo courtesy of The Gulf Coast Visitors Bureau.A great southern dish like crawfish had to be followed with a great southern dessert, and what better than bread pudding? Made with French bread and topped off with a cream-rum sauce, it was yummy… until it hit my stomach. It started to expand. The bread pudding sat there like some extra heavyweight matzo ball or, if you prefer, dumpling. And think about the calories! No matter how luscious, I vowed never to order it again.

I Have Three Words For You: Royal Red Shrimp

After my crawfish and bread pudding extravaganza, I swore I'd eat on the lighter side for the rest of my trip. That lasted until dinner when I was introduced to – bless 'em – Royal Red shrimp at King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant. Served with their scarlet bodies intact, piled mile-high, they challenge you to attack. I never fought so hard to eat as I ripped off the heads and struggled to peel their shells. Royal Reds have a mouth-watering flavor like a combination of sweet crab and shrimp. I ate so many Royal Reds I lost count. I relished in them. I indulged in them. I ravished them.

After making a spectacle of myself, I dug into none other than that great southern dessert, bread pudding. Will I never learn?

Contact Info:

The Bayside Grill Restaurant. Tel: 334-981-4899

King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant. Tel: 334-968-5464

Other don't miss dining places are:

Mangos on the Island (rather upscale for this relaxed part of the world) Tel: 334-981-1416, reservations preferred

Mikee’s Restaurant (mouthwatering golden fried hush puppies)
Tel: 334-948-6452

Calypso Fish Grille (lump crabmeat salad- scrumptious)
Tel: 334-981-1415

Gulf Shore Explorations

In between my frantic feeding frenzies, I managed to explore the
many recreational and historical opportunities in Alabama. What has
disappeared on other coastlines, flourishes on the Gulf Coast with 400,000 acres of protected waterfront. Besides 32 miles of sugar-white beaches, fabulous championship golfing, boating, tennis and fishing (there are 15 summer tournaments); it's also possible to travel back in time when you tour Fort Morgan. Civil War reenactments, candlelight tours and soldiers in authentic Civil War uniforms shooting rifles, bring history to life.

Courtesy of The Gulf Coast Visitors Bureau. Fort Morgan:

Dating back to the 1550s, the fort is best known for the pivotal Civil War battle in 1864, when Admiral David Farragut steamed past the fort's defenses and uttered his immortal words, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" The fort is part of Historic Baldwin County, home to several historic sites; many listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (334-540-7125)

Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System:

Serving as a field laboratory, this estuarine research reserve system is the perfect place to learn about ecology in a natural setting. Activities include nature hikes, an interpretive center and gardens. A guided Stunning, yet poisonous flower. © Denise Bomstein boardwalk tour through a bog of carnivorous plants is especially fascinating.

How can flowers so beautiful be so deadly? (334-928-9792)

Wildlife Refuge:

The 6,200-acre Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established to preserve the rapidly vanishing coastal habitats. Hike through a maritime forest, coastal marshes and sand dunes. A great place for those of us that enjoy birding. (334-540-7720)

Bellingrath Gardens and Home:

Listed with the National Register of Historic Places, Bellingrath Gardens and Home is featured on A&E's American Castles series.

Courtesy of the Gulf Coast Visitors Bureau.Visitors can enjoy a guided tour through the 15-room house constructed of ante-bellum brick and ornate ironwork. The 70-year-old house was built by Walter and Bessie Bellingrath, Alabama's first bottlers of Coca-Cola (smart people). For 40 years, they collected antiques from all over the world. View their comprehensive collection of fine furniture, rare porcelains, silver and other European treasures.

In full bloom year-round, Bellingrath Gardens features 10 unique gardens on 65 acres (bring your walking shoes). A glorious array of mums in autumn to an explosion of over 250,000 azaleas in spring, the gardens are breathtaking. The rose garden alone blooms for nine months. The garden's tranquil atmosphere runs a bit askew with the huge red and white Coca-Cola sign, in Japanese, at the Oriental Garden. (334-973-2217)

Gulf Shore Sleeps

Gulf Coast accommodations vary considerably from The Beach House, a secluded bed and breakfast on the beach (800-659-6004), to the luxurious Perdido Beach Resort (800-634-8001).

For a Gulf Coast Vacation Guide call 800-745-SAND, or access
www.gulfshores.com. Gulf coast Visitors Bureau: Tel: 800-982-8562

King Neptune Seafood Restaurant’s Bread Pudding

(Serves 12)

Ingredients for pudding:

6 whole eggs
6 cups milk
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cinnamon
2 oz. vanilla extract
1 tsp. all spice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup raisins (more or less to your liking – also good with peaches, according to King Neptune’s co-owner Diane Sawyer)

1 pound of French bread cubes

Ingredients for Whiskey Sauce:

½ lb. butter
½ lb. brown sugar
3 ounces vanilla extract
½ cup Jack Daniel's

Pudding Directions:

1) Beat eggs until frothy
2) Add all other ingredients except bread and mix with a whisk
3) Add bread and soak 30 minutes
4) Place in 10x12 pan and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes
5) Spoon into 12 individual servings

Whiskey Sauce Directions:

1) Melt butter with brown sugar and vanilla on medium heat until sugar
2) Add Jack Daniel's and flame-out alcohol
3) Simmer for five minutes
4) Drizzle over individual servings


Casual Seafood Restaurant
View - No
Patio - Yes
Food ****
Wine List (Have a cold beer instead)
Dining Experience ****
(great place to relax and hang with friends )
Cost **
King Neptune's Restaurant
9949 Highway 180 West
Gulf Shores, Alabama

Ph: (334) 968-5464

Ratings guidelines:


***** over US$50 per person
**** $30 to $50 per person
*** $18 to $30 per person
** $8 to $18
* less than $8 per person

Food, wine list and dining experience

***** exceptional
**** very good but either lacking in consistency or having room to reach perfection
*** decent fare but lacking in creative inspiration either in presentation, food quality or both
** mediocre and hopefully cheap
* either the price is right or we are not returning