Like other theme places here at the beach, Zogg's is an experience. But unlike many theme restaurants, Zoggs actually delivers on something that adds up to an experience greater than the sum of the parts. All in all, Zogg's pulls this off quite well.
The award for appetizer Star of the Show is evenly split between the Fried Gator and the Coconut Shrimp. The gator nuggets are tender white meat, a cross between chicken and fried calamari. Zogg's breading truly makes the dish. The Coconut Shrimp are served in a little spiral cone. The key here is that they are not too sweet. I took a closeup photo so you can see the pieces of coconut that stand out nicely in the mild breading.
The Fried Oysters are properly fried (i.e., the breading stayed on), and nicely briney, like seawater. They make a great appetizer. One of the many emailers who scolded me for not Zogging made a point of recommending the Jerked Grouper Taco. I like my fish tacos with fried fish, but our server told me I would not be dissappointed (actually, he used the word, “awesome”). He was right. The fish was snow white, flaky and deliciously seasoned. It's in a large shell (I got the “hard” shell, but it's not all that hard. It actually has a nice bite to it without shattering all over the place). It's topped with lettuce, tomato onions and an almost-too-mild chipotle mayo. I ordered the mac ‘n' cheese side. It's cheesy and creamy and quite mild.
An accompanying Foodie-at-Arms ordered the Andouille Sausage and Chicken Gumbo. This dish bears a bit of explanation. I call it “deconstructed,” in that the roux/gravy is at the bottom of the dish, the rice is on top, and the sausage/chicken/vegetable mix is perched on top of that. If you like a traditional gumbo, just stir it. It was quite tasty, with lots of andouille. It is served with corn on the cob.
Another of our party ordered the half-pound burger with cheddar. The combination of melted white and yellow cheddar made for an attractive (and tasty) presentation. The beef patty was apparently grilled on a flat top at high heat. The outside was nicely seared, and it was perfectly medium on the inside. Of course, it came with all the fixins'. The waffle fries were fresh and delicious. Add a little ketchup, and they were gone in no time.
One of the highlights of our visits was the steel drum/guitar/ukulele/vocal entertainment provided by none other than Jimmy Pontoon. His friendly, easygoing manner made for a relaxing al fresco experience. When a little kid approached him when he was playing, he handled it perfectly, making for a cute and impromptu floor show.
I usually hate eating outside, but the outside temperature cooperated during our visits, and Zogg's has fans that keep the air moving. There is also indoor seating (air conditioned) with a pool table just for fun. The entertainment and the excellent service made for particularly delightful evenings.
Frog legs. Taste like chicken.1/23 Caribbean wings. Delicious.2/23 Zogg's. A little bit of Key West.3/23 One of the good burgers.4/23 Rockfish taco5/23 Blackened burger with cheese!6/23 Coconut chicken with pineapple7/23 Jalapeno burger. Hot & lovin' it.8/23 Jerk Chicken, of course.9/23 Seared tuna platter10/23 Ahhh .. the fried alligator!11/23 Apple-bacon-brie burger!12/23 Look for the blue awning!13/23 deconstructed gumbo14/23 Saw this shirt. Liked it.15/23 Lots of fun on a summer evening16/23 All of a sudden it was a combo.17/23 Another fish taco18/23 Spicy cod taco with avocado19/23 That crunchy coconut shrimp – up close and personal!20/23 Coconut shrimp21/23 Tasty frog legs appetizers22/23 Zogg's23/23
Again, it's not all about the food at Zogg's. They have a huge selection of rums (over 100 varieties!) and offer some tasty frozen drinks. The outside bar is very Jimmy Buffett, there are surfboards everywhere with big shark bites out of them, the servers are enthusiastic and attentive and, at least during our visits, the entertainment added the perfect touch to the evening. If you encounter Mike Dangerfield, pls tell him The Foodie says “hi.” He's a super nice guy and will make sure everything is right.
Fine dining? No. Lots of fun, with nice people and a definite Island flair? Yes.
Zogg's is at 1 Wilmington Avenue, sandwiched between Gus ‘n' Gus' Place on the Boardwalk and Dave and Skippy's (Dave & Skippy's is also owned by the Zogg's guys). Look for the blue awning. Check their off-season hours (if any) at (302) 227-7660. The lunch menu is basically the dinner menu without the Entrees section. Check out the menus by clicking here. (L., D., Bar) Price range: Moderate-.