June 18, 2012. The North Carolina High Country is blessed with a number of popular attractions that consistently draw travelers to the area, including Tweetsie Railroad, Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Add the weekly seafood buffet at Eseeola Lodge in Linville to that list.
For the past 36 years—since 1976—the sumptuous Thursday night spread has attracted diners from hundreds of miles, including discriminating gourmands from Asheville, Charlotte and the Greensboro-Winston-Salem area. Many lodge guests plan their stay around the popular buffet. The lavish array of culinary delights has become a time-honored tradition.
As one recent diner put it, “never have I seen such a spectacular assortment of seafood delicacies. I thoroughly enjoyed the excellent food and the personal service. The entire experience was delightful and memorable.”
Under the careful direction of executive chef Patrick Maisonhaute, a culinary staff of 40 begins preparation for the big event early Thursday morning for the dinner which begins at 6:30 p.m. On an average night, between 150 and 200 people will be served.
The menu includes a wide variety of seafood dishes including shrimp, oysters, lobster, crab, salmon, sushi and trout; a hot buffet of Roast prime rib of beef, baked fish and seafood mélange; a variety of salads, greens and cold offerings such as chicken and tuna salads and guacamole; fresh fruits and vegetables; and pate.
One of the most popular dishes is Eseeola’s highly regarded butternut squash. “It is a special favorite of most guests,” said Maitre D’ Brandon Wilson. “Some diners even enjoy it as dessert.”
The dessert table is a special feature that is not to be missed. An eye-popping display of sweets includes such tempting favorites as Coconut cake, carrot cake, crème brulet, Pavlova, key lime pie and chocolate covered strawberries.
“Hardly anyone ever skips the desserts,” Wilson said.
The cost per person is $62 plus tax and gratuity.
“A few years back,” Wilson said, “we had one elderly lady who came every Thursday night and always brought along a large purse that was lined with plastic. She would eat a few boiled shrimp and then scoop several handfuls into the bag. I think she ate seafood for days.”