Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Carolina BBQ House
1459 George Washinton Memorial Highway,
Gloucester Point, VA
Review by Diana, MaceVindaloo, Bunchbox
This place is not really a barbecue house, that's just its name. It's a buffet place and it's very popular. The food is refreshed often and their prices would be excellent even if the food sucked. Lunch buffet is $5 (extra for tax and $1.29 for unlimited beverages), and is served from Monday to Saturday. It features fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, fried fish, hush puppies, Brunswick Stew, meatballs & gravy, and pulled pork, called "Carolina Style BBQ" (thus its name). There are also hot side-veggies like mashed potatoes, collard greens, corn, etc. and salad bar. Desserts are normally things like banana pudding, strawberry "shortcake" and that chocolate pudding and dreamwhip thing that shows up on all the Jell-o based church suppers. Rolls, biscuits and sausage, and other such traditional vittles are offered, too.|
Dinner buffet is $6 and on offer is everything on the lunch buffet plus sirloin steak with grilled onions, fried shrimp, and BBQ ribs. And on Friday and Saturday nights and all day Sunday is the seafood buffet: for $9, you get all of the normal dinner and lunch offerings, plus fried scallops, fried oysters, fried clam strips, BBQ ribs and country pot roast. It's a lot of food, and it's very popular. Some people apparently come here weekly; others more like every other day. There is a takeout menu of the items on the steam tables, too, in case you would prefer to be a pig in the privacy of your own home. The seafood comes from relatives who are fishermen in Gloucester; if they haven't caught or harvested it, it doesn't get offered that week. That's a good thing.
As if this were not enough, there is a breakfast buffet on Saturdays and Sundays. For $5 (plus that pesky beverage cost) you can have:
Country Ham & Red-eye Gravy
Cream Chip Beef & Gravy
Sausage Links and Patties
Sausage Country Gravy
Corned Beef Hash
Fried Pork Chops
French Toast Sticks
in whatever quantity you please, as long as you eat it. The sign by the cash register says, "Feel free to pig out, but please don't waste a single bite!"
You come in and pay up front before you enter. The place is large and there are cafeteria style tables and chairs, like in your college days. It's not as pristine as other places the kitchen is not a separate room, but rather is a roped-off area behind the eating area, separated by a half wall. If the fans stopped, you'd see the accumulated dust on the leading edges, from all the frying of stuff, I'd think. The guy behind me in line saw me looking up at them and he said, "My wife is a health inspector, and I don't bring her here. It doesn't pay to look that close. You should try to get the fried oysters, they go quick!" In fact, there was a line not moving at that point, and I found out that everyone was waiting for the fried oysters and scallops to come out. As soon as the harried woman dropped the hotel pan into the steam table cutout, the oysters and scallops were gone.
The people here may only fry seafood, but they do it very well. It's moist and sweet and the coating is the standard clam fry, and it's crunchy and a nice light brown color. They offer a bunch of seafood sauces alongside the dressings by the salad bar, including cocktail sauce and tartar sauce if you like that sort of thing. They really should figure out a way to have enough at any given time, but then again, maybe that's part of the charm of this place.
I've never really been a fan of the hamburger bun with pulled pork, and this place puts them next to each other, so I can eschew the soft bun. The pork is good, not too dry. The fried chicken is spiced with mustard and is tender with a nice crunch to it's crust. The baked rotisserie chicken is obviously fresh, but the skin is weirdly taut and dry, though the meat is good. The clam strips are great, reminscent of Ipswich no-belly clams of New England, and the fried fish is reminiscent of Midwestern Friday fish fry, where you get many breaded and fried little piece of lake perch fillets on an all you can eat basis, with fries. I liked the greens bacony and not bitter. They also serve pasta dishes like lasagna, as well as a decent mac and cheese. They really do have all the major comfort foods of America!
The building is set back next to and behind the little post office in what can be call a striplet mall not quite big enough to be a strip. There is a lighted sign with the name of the place closer to the highway, so watch for it. If you're traveling south, it's before the bridge en route to Newport News, on the left, as you drive the George Washington Memorial Highway the runs through Virginia and into DC.
On some nights, there is a gospel or jazz or country or bluegrass ensemble providing entertainment. It wasn't clear if there was a cover charge or any other fee to listen to them, but I'm sure if there was, it would be just as inexpensive as the food prices here. I seem to recall some mention of a Bingo game, too. It's a small rural community, what can one say? There are also charity drive notices and collection bins, too.
Oh, and they have a soft-serve ice cream machine too, for all meal times. I'm sure they have many other things not listed on their official menu but I'd forgotten them because there is just so much stuff. I've been there a couple of times now (I don't live near here, but it's sometimes en route to places I need to be) and imbibing in the food will make you wish you lived closer to the middle of nowhere, where this place is located. Just as well I'm not, or I'd be bigger ... if you're driving by the area, look for this tiny, easy-to-miss place, because if you do miss it, you'll regret it. Come hungry, but even if you aren't, stop in it's cheap enough for you to sample a few things anyway. On seafood nights, expect a crowd to be here already.
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