The food scene in Brunswick, GA is nothing too impressive. Your local Captain D’s is the biggest competition in “restaurants” (how DARE I qualify Captain D’s as a restaurant) because every one down here wants one thing – fried seafood. However, there is a secret to the fresh seafood caught off shore of the Golden Isles. It’s not that the critters come from waters that are overly polluted with cancer-inducing chemicals from the paper mills and what not around the southeast Georgia coast. It’s not because Jekyll Island is the second biggest breeding ground for sharks aside from the Great Barrier Reef. Most assuredly, it’s not because Iguana’s Seafood spent $175,000 advertising that they were voted #1 for having the best shrimp – because they don’t.
Corporate, non-locally owned restaurants do not get the freshliest catch of shrimp straight from the St. Simon’s Sound or St. Andrew’s Bay. Who do we thank for this? Thailand. They’ve made an industry in America by selling us cheap, translucent shrimp which we over season, over cook, over batter, and over rate. Most people are indulging in rubber shrimp that have been so over cooked you might as well have eaten a tennis ball for a meal and see how much you can feel it bouncing around in your stomach.
The local restaurants, the ones that use OUR LOCAL fisherman, Wesley Dickey- are the ones with award-winning shrimp. Yes, I will boast about the restaurant I work with because they are without a doubt, the best damn shrimp I have ever eaten.
Who do we thank? Nature. God. Buddha. The Force. Whatever you think makes this world turn on its pretty little axle, because they beautifully littered the southeast Georgia coast with spartina grass.
How in the world is spartina grass the answer to the best locally caught seafood? Let me get just a little bit scientific on you. Spartina Alterniflora, also known as “cord grass”, thrives along coastal salt marshes and other habitats that are high in salinity. Out of the three varieties of spartina marsh grasses, (I’m about to throw an intense word at you, so I won’t bother you with their scientific names) the variety off of coastal Georgia contains the osmolyte DMSP.
Dimethylsulphoniopropionate. Yes. That word. What this certain osmolyte (helps with osmosis and water retention) does is keep a healthy balance of water in areas of high salinity. It keeps the grass strong and provides important B vitamins and amino acids for animal growth.
Ok, that was even too scientific for me. Basically, spartina grass is a member of the sugar cane family. See where I’m going here? It provides the greatest amount of food when it dies. Decomposed spartina grass is consumed by the shrimp (and other creepy crawlers of the ocean) and is not only healthy for them, but also makes them naturally SWEETER.
It didn’t seem possible at first. How could the flavor of a shrimp be that noticeable? We did a blind taste test with three different shrimp (a set of steamed, fried, and grilled) and it wasn’t even a question which shrimp was Wesley Dickey’s locally caught shrimp.
Support your local fisherman and you’ll never know what kind of secrets you’ll learn. Even if it’s as something as simple as Spartina Grass.
To see how delicious the shrimp look cooked, check out The “Rah Bar”!
Don’t eat the yellow snow,