North Star Seafood Restaurant {Restaurant Review}

Recently, I was invited to review North Star Seafood Restaurant  in my hometown of Dallas, NC which is just west of Charlotte.  I was pleasantly surprised to be invited because I actually used to work at this restaurant as a waitress and a hostess.

I haven’t eaten at North Star in a long time.  I worked there the summer after I turned 16 and what I remembered about it was that they served a lot of fried fish and they had amazing hushpuppies.  I probably gained five pounds that summer from their hushpuppies alone.

In case you’re not familiar, hushpuppies are deep fried cornmeal.  They’re more dense than cornbread and usually eaten with ketchup.

I made plans with my friend Erin to have dinner there one evening.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but when I arrived, we were immediately served several of their appetizers.  Vaki, the owner, was very interested to know what I thought of the food and asked me if I would be willing to sample many of their popular dishes.

From left to right: Fried mushrooms, Greek style potato wedges, fried pickles, and appetizer sample (which includes the first two apps, plus onion rings, and fried cheese sticks.

I tried a little of each and my hands-down favorite was the Greek style potato wedges.  I’m a sucker for feta cheese and really enjoyed this over the typical cheddar cheese and bacon combination.

I try to stay away from a lot of fried foods, but every now and again, I enjoy something fried (usually at my grandparents’ house) in moderation. What I liked best about their fried appetizers was that nothing was greasy, but just lightly crispy.

The specialty of the house is fried fish.  Pictured above is a combo platter of fried baby shrimp, fried tilapia, and deviled crab.  I had to have a couple of the shrimp — this was my dish of choice as a little girl when we ate at seafood restaurants.

If you’ve never tried deviled crab, you really must.  The crab’s meat is removed and mixed with bread crumbs and other ingredients resembling something similar to stuffing or dressing (whichever you prefer to call it), then it is stuffed with the stuffing and fried.

Erin and I tried barbecued fried jumbo shrimp which was delicious and I mentioned to Vaki that it would be interesting to do the same with fried oysters.  Within a few minutes, barbecued fried oysters were set before us.  Yummy!

Now, I wonder if they’ll show up on the menu…

The menu at North Star has been  considerably revamped since I worked there and I was happy to see that there are a lot of non-fried fish options.  We tried grilled salmon and jumbo shrimp.

But my favorite was the mahi-mahi.  It was flaky, tender, and finished with a squeeze of lemon.

And check out those hushpuppies!

I was even more pleasantly surprised to see a lot of healthy options on their menu.

Our first healthy option was chicken tips over rice with peppers and onions.  This dish is a generous serving and could even be split between two people with a side salad.

Second, was a boiled shrimp salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, cottage cheese, pear, and peach.

But the third and final healthy choice I sampled was my favorite — a Greek salad with sirloin steak.  If steak isn’t your thing, you can also choose between grilled chicken or shrimp.  The salad had plenty of feta cheese, pepperoncinis, tomatoes, and cucumbers as well.  It’s served with a Greek dressing.

North Star has many more healthy entrees including a huge selection of broiled fish such as swordfish, flounder, cod, catfish, and snow crab legs, to name a few.  Instead of fries or a baked potato, you can sub in a sweet potato or vegetable medley .

But now, for the grand finale, let’s move on to the not-so-healthy.

North Star serves two different types of cheesecakes: Belgian chocolate cheesecake and carrot cake cheesecake.   It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which is my favorite.  Chocolate all the way. It’s incredibly rich and decadent.

However, the homemade baklava gives that cheesecake a run for its money.  Baklava is a traditional Greek dessert that is flaky, nutty, and very sweet.  That’s a clove stud on the top of the baklava (which you should remove before eating).  Vaki’s mother, who was my boss when I worked there, makes the baklava herself.  I don’t remember the baklava from when I worked at North Star (however that was 13 years ago and I wasn’t a very adventurous eater at the time), but it’s pretty unforgettable now.

Hmmm, I wonder if she would share her recipe with us.

Vaki really listened to all of my feedback (pictured above with Erin).  North Star has been around a long time and I think he’s done a great job adapting the menu to a more health conscious customer base without compromising the traditional southern fried seafood that a lot of people come to enjoy.

Here’s a glimpse of the damage we did to the dishes we were served.

Obviously, we were only able to taste the dishes since there were so many.  There were a few dishes I didn’t even touch (not because I didn’t want to try them, but I had reached my limit).

We couldn’t let all the food go to waste, so I called in reinforcements.

When I told my grandparents that I would be reviewing North Star for the blog, my grandmother told me that she thought their seafood was the best seafood around.  And since she lives five minutes away from the restaurant, she and my grandfather were the obvious choice to help enjoy our dinner.

They were there in no time after I told them about our food abundance situation.  And before long, Erin’s parents were there too, and my mom dropped by on her way home from work.  We had a little party going on.

My grandparents have been eating at North Star for a very long time, but they were even surprised to see some of the menu items that were served; especially the salads and non-fried seafood items.  My grandfather admitted that he always orders the same thing but after trying the healthier fare, he wants to branch out and try other things on their menu.

It was fun hanging out with my friends and family.  We turned a restaurant review into a little family get-together.  Everyone at North Star was warm and friendly I had a great time talking to Vaki and Erin about their new marketing strategies and the restaurant’s involvement in the community.

I really appreciate the opportunity to relive a bit of my past and to see the changes to a restaurant that has been a staple in my hometown for over 25 years.

Thanks to everyone at North Star for such a great dinner!