I made a reservation to eat at Etta's, as it was highly recommended. When my family and I entered, the decor was charming, so we thought it would live up to the expectations. Boy, were we wrong! We checked in at the hostess' station and were greeted by Norma. She was not friendly during our initial encounter, but it would only get worse. She looked down her nose at my husband, who is visibly very tattooed. When I made the reservation, I mentioned there would be an infant with us. Accommodations were not initially made, but they altered the seating to be acceptable. When we sat at our table, my family member sat in a broken chair.
When we got our menus, we noticed for being a seafood restaurant, there weren't many options. Many of the entrees were fried and did not offer appealing descriptions. We inquired about any house-made dressings and the only option was a honey mustard that was not fit to put on a salad, but moreso for chicken fingers. The side salads were lack-luster and didn't have any tomato or croutons. They were mixed greens with some carrots and onion. Blah.
My family member wanted to share a plate and were told they would be charged a plating fee (understandable). The server gave them the impression this fee was because they would both get a salad, which they did not. I ordered a mojito, but it was sub par. I saw the server add Sprite to it (from a 2 liter bottle), and there is no Sprite in a mojito. Anyone behind a bar worth their salt knows that!
When the entrees came, it was all the worse. I ordered the Stuffed Flounder ($24). It was overcooked and the Crab Imperial it was stuffed with was extremely small. The side of mashed potatoes lacked flavor and needed seasoning. I actually ordered some horseradish to liven both the main and side dishes up. My family member ordered the steak ($25), which was a decent piece of meat, but lacked seasoning. My other family member ordered the Seafood Platter ($25) and that was the worst of all. Everything was fried and overcooked, with the exception of the piece of fish. The fish was still translucent, which indicates that it is raw. All of the flavors converged based on the heavy breading and if one was blindfolded, would not be able to tell a difference in the types of seafood.
When my family member attempted to send back the piece of undercooked fish, the server was as helpful as she could be. Norma was passing by the table and asked how everything was. My family member took this opportunity to tell her. Norma was told about the piece of fish being fried, and she balked as if she had no idea it was prepared that way. This demonstrated her lack of menu knowledge. Big mistake. Once she was convinced of the fried nature, she was argumentative and unapologetic about the fact that the fish was raw. She insisted that the kitchen knows what they were doing, insinuating that we do not know how fish is to be prepared. She offered no apology or compensation, but merely stormed off in a huff. Bad move, Norma.
After this poor experience, we asked for the bill and gathered our things and left. The kitchen staff needs training in how to prepare seafood properly. Anyone making drinks needs to have a manual behind the bar to help them. The hostesses could be more friendly (specifically Norma). Rumor has it that Norma is a manager, in which case, I am appalled. The only reason Etta's will continue to thrive is because of the location in a tourist vacation spot. Guests can go only one time and it will still attract new customers, based on the nature of the business.
One final caveat is if you have handicapped family members, do not take them here. There is one handicapped space and a ramp that is as slick as all get out. Talk about an insurance liability.
We will not ever go to Etta's again, despite our plans to return to the charming island of Chincoteague.
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