In the mood for seafood, I found myself at Mayflower Seafood Restaurant in Elizabethton on a recent Saturday evening. I was accompanied by my parents and a friend.
My first visits to Mayflower began with the restaurant’s opening back in the 1980s. My family, which has many seafood enthusiasts, were regular patrons in the early days, which often meant standing in long lines to get a table. That gives you some idea how long Mayflower has been feeding restaurant-goers in Carter County.
On our most recent visit, we didn’t have to stand in line, but the restaurant was doing a brisk business. A hostess escorted us to a table and presented us with menus. The interior design offers a colorful maritime mural, carved wooden seabirds, lighthouses and other marine ornamentation.
We started with a scan of the offering of appetizers, which ranges from Mozzarella Cheese Sticks and Fried Pickles to Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and Mayflower’s own version of a “blooming onion.” there’s also the Mayflower Favorite, which is a combination of boiled jumbo shrimp and raw oysters.
Although I like some types of sushi, I’m still a little squeamish about raw oysters. However, I love fried oysters. I’ve always heard that the best oysters are available in the months — September, October, November, December — that end in the letter ‘R’ in their names. My research into the claim found that there is general agreement that oysters taste best and are safest to eat in the colder months. Of course, this notion was formed in the centuries before refrigeration was invented.
Still, following that old adage, my dad and I both ordered Fried Oysters. He ordered a large platter of fried oysters, while my oysters came with the Captain Smith’s Combo, which also includes Fried Flounder, Baby Shrimp, Scallops and Deviled Crab. My mother also chose the Captain Smith’s Platter.
I chose to accompany my meal with a Baked Potato, but diners wanting to lighten a meal might want to add a side such as the Mixed Vegetables, which consisted of steamed broccoli, squash, carrots and cauliflower. Other side dishes include Green Beans, French Fries, Onion Rings and Sweet Potato Fries.
The seafood platters are also accompanied by a small dish of coleslaw, which is made of finely minced ingredients. Mayflower’s cole slaw is a little too sweet for my taste, but on the other hand, I love their hushpuppies, which also come with every platter. These hushpuppies are ring-shaped morsels of deep-fried sweet-flavored cornbread.
Some of the other entrees I considered included Broiled Scallops, Fried Catfish, Alaskan Snow Crab Legs and Grilled Pork Chops. In addition to seafood, the menu offers steak and chicken options.
My friend chose the Saturday special, a “surf and turf” meal consisting of Prime Rib and Baby Shrimp. He added a Baked Potato as his side dish.
The Prime Rib was served au jus, or with a cup of juice drippings. When my friend requested it, the server also brought a container of grated horseradish. The Prime Rib featured a tender, flavorful and juicy cut, but it was prepared a little past the medium-rare that had been requested by my friend.
I enjoyed the combination of seafood on my Captain Smith’s Platter. My favorites included the plump oysters and the succulent scallops. I also enjoyed the Deviled Crab, which consisted of an herb-flavored stuffing of bread crumbs and crab meat baked into a crab shell. My shrimp were lightly breaded and fried to a true golden crisp. The medium-sized baked potatoes, served piping hot and accompanied with butter and sour cream on the side, made great sides for my meal of fried seafood favorites.
Usually, I leave with leftovers in a carryout container when I visit Mayflower. On this occasion, however, I managed to finish everything on my plate. Still, as a general rule, it’s best to arrive with a hearty appetite. Mayflower believes in serving more than ample portions.
The restaurant does offer some sweets for concluding a meal. The menu offers Boston Creme Pie, Cheesecake, Coconut Creme Pie, Apple Pie and Pecan Pie.
Since we decided we still had some appetite left, my friend and I indulged in two desserts. I chose the Boston Creme Pie while he ordered the Pecan Pie.
The Boston Creme Pie — really a cake more than a pie — consisted of the traditional layers of sponge cake separated by custard-cream filling, all topped with a layer of rich chocolate ganache frosting.
The Pecan Pie was a nice slice of this traditional treat as well.
Customers might also like to know that the menu offers specials for seniors as well as daily specials. For example, the Thursday special is Baby Shrimp and the Sunday lunch special is a Grilled Chicken Breast.
If you have not paid Mayflower a visit lately, consider doing so the next time you find yourself with a craving for seafood.
AT A GLANCE: Mayflower Seafood Restaurant, 1733 Highway 19E, Elizabethton. 542-3667. Monday-Thursday, 3-8 p.m.; Friday, 3-9 p.m.; Saturday, 1-9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Entrees range from $6.79- $21.99. Credit cards accepted. Carryout available.