Expecting a crowd because of the Labor Day weekend, this Spy Diner’s team set out for lunch early at Doc’s Sunset Grille in Oxford. A crowd could have stressed the kitchen or altered the ambience to undermine the accuracy of this report.
As requested, this report conveys what a weekend lunch is like at Doc’s. To accomplish this mission, we brought two kodaks, two culinary experts unaffiliated with the Spy, and a dog. The dog was for cover, a means of distracting the waitstaff away from the fact we were photographing our meals as well as eating them.
The restaurant replaced the Masthead Restaurant, which this Spy liked. We feared for the worst. When Doc’s opened, however, significant effort was made to preserve what was good about the Masthead while improving other things. The result is a casual restaurant/bar that is a pleasure to visit.
The inside portion of the restaurant is often empty except on cold, windy days or for patrons watching sports on the large TV mounted above the bar. The bar itself is well-stocked and staffed with attentive, friendly people. On the day of our visit, we did not sample Doc’s beers or any other alcohol. On previous visits we found no faults in this area. Doc’s is a nice place to relax over a beer or nice glass of wine.
Outside, the view itself justifies a visit. During our meal, several boats entered and exited the harbor, none of them Russian or otherwise suspicious. In the distance, a sailboat race at the Tred Avon Yacht Club could be viewed. Very nice. The remains of the dock that was severely damaged in a hurricane a few years back have become home to a menagerie of local birds. They monitor the diners from their perches and provide entertainment for younger diners.
The wonderful views and pleasant breezes could have distracted us from our primary objective. We did not let this happen. We began our meal with fried calamari, which received a top rating. Agent 4 then directed the two unaffiliated gourmands to order different menu items. They refused. This resulted in three of the four diners ordering the crab cake sandwich. This was unfortunate but provided the team with a larger sample upon which to render our judgment. This spy diner judged the crab cake “excellent,” an evaluation confirmed by the two expert gourmands. This was a rare compliment from a duo known to occasionally known to reject dishes, even at great restaurants not meeting their high standards.
Here’s a closeup, taken with a special device. It makes me hungry just to view it.
The fourth diner in the party ordered the special, a honey garlic shrimp sub with bacon, tomato, cheddar cheese and onion. No calorie count was offered, and you can guess why. We note that the portion size was exceptionally generous, which prevented that diner from finishing it. The bacon was clandestinely removed from the restaurant and taken home to reward our dog for participating in the mission. This dish was described as “quite good.”
The fries were judged by this spy diner to be “good but not great.” This assessment, despite its objectivity, was disputed by the two gourmands. They liked everything, even declaring the water that accompanied their meal to be “quite satisfactory.”
Service at Doc’s was excellent and included a nice bowl of water for our canine companion. She felt at home and concurred in the gourmands’ assessment of the fries. She sampled eight, swallowing each one in a single bite.
We left Doc’s glad that we had visited it. We declare it to be an excellent choice for lunch or dinner, especially if the weather is conducive to outdoor dining. We’ll be back. If you see a party with a gorgeous, well-behaved doodle, it could be us.