Have you heard? Calabash Gourmet and Sushi Bar is a southern Brunswick County crowd-pleaser.

Every so often, I get a hankering for Asian food, and when my next-door neighbor came home one night raving about the Calabash Gourmet and Sushi Bar, I wanted to visit. So last night, making good on a three-month-old promise, we picked up Hal and Terry and headed to the town that Jimmy Durante made famous.

We tried to check it out on New Year’s Eve, but my hankering wasn’t strong enough to endure a one-hour wait for a table. That alone should have been an indication as to how good the place was.

But on this night, there were plenty of tables open, and we were lucky enough to be assigned to one served by Nana, a friendly, efficient and delightful young woman. When she asked what we were drinking, the ladies chose something from a very extensive wine list, and Hal and I chose a couple of Sam Adams lagers, because, well, you just can’t go wrong with a well-made beer.

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Hal and Terry had been to Calabash Gourmet and Sushi Bar (CGSB) a few times and spoke very highly of it. While going out to retrieve my phone in the car, I asked a group of patrons who were leaving their opinion. Their response? “We love it here and come here all the time!” Seems everybody but me knew about this place.

I usually don’t anticipate a varied beer list at Asian places, and while I can deal with an occasional Sapporo or Tsingtao (when in Beijing, right?), neither is high on my personal list. But, in addition to some expected offerings, CGSB had at least a few that were atypical, like Sam, Sierra Nevada and even Torpedo, which would probably work nicely with the spicier stuff — stuff I usually avoid.

We placed our orders and the night was officially underway. Nana was back very quickly with our appetizers (would that have happened on New Year’s Eve?) My Steamed Pork Dumplings were done perfectly, and the dipping sauce was quite good. The missus raved about her Vegetable Roll appetizer, too.

My entree was Shrimp with Cashew Nuts (and a host of other ingredients) in an exceptionally delicious brown sauce. Hal and Terry ordered the same, but with mixed vegetables. The shrimp were huge, plentiful and perfectly cooked, and while Terry needed a take home carton, Hal and I thoroughly cleaned our plates. And the Sam Adams — alright, Adamses — were perfect complements to the dish.

The missus chose a dish called Vegetable Mei Fun Rice Noodles, stir-fried with julienned carrots, onion, celery, Napa cabbage and green scallion. It came in such a quantity that she, too, needed a “doggie bag,” and considering it cost less than eight bucks, it was quite a value. It must have been delicious, too, because, she immediately opened it up and began eating again when we got home.

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Then Nana surprised us with a special dessert that wasn’t even on the menu. It was the Tempura Cheesecake, a beautiful confection that tasted like no other cheesecake any of us had ever had before. Light, creamy and sporting a scrumptious fried crust, it was large enough for all of us to sample. It never stood a chance of seeing the inside of a doggie bag.

I did have one major regret on the night, however. I usually take a picture of my entree before eating it, but when it came out, it looked and smelled so good, I plunged right in. Sorry. I’ll just have to go back and order it again.

The Calabash Gourmet and Sushi Bar (none of us ordered sushi on this occasion) is very large inside (it even has a section designed to look like a boat), and it is clearly capable of serving a large number of customers. New Year’s Eve — with that one-hour wait — must have been a good night for the guy who works the abacus.

But it also had to be a good night for those lucky enough to get a seat. Which, apparently, included a good portion of the population of southern Brunswick County, all of whom already knew about this place.

Perhaps I should put my NYE reservation in now? And next time, I’ll wait till after a picture to eat my entrée.

Calabash Gourmet and Sushi Bar
10101 Beach Drive SW, Calabash
(910) 579-8887
Calabashgourmetandsushibar.com

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