Friday, September 14, 2012

Captain Ernie’s Caribbean Cuisine

Back in February of this year, Laurie and I had visited Captain Ernie’s Fish House in Knoxville, just down from the west end of the Turkey Creek Shopping Area.  We liked the food and I wrote up a favorable review.
Recently, some friends of ours, Joel and Holly, told us that Captain Ernie had pulled up stakes in Knoxville and he’d opened a new restaurant in an old BBQ location in Lenoir City.  He’d changed themes as well…and he was now serving Caribbean Cuisine.  Most importantly, Joel and Holly have traveled around the world and they gave us positive feedback for the ‘new’ Captain Ernie’s Seafood Bar and Caribbean Grill.  
As I mentioned, this was a new location for Captain Ernie.  His takeover of this old BBQ restaurant included this old sign…which can lead to considerable confusion.  While you can find a couple of chicken offerings on the menu and there is a hamburger too…don’t expect to find any ribs.
One negative is regarding the Captain’s new venue is that this building has zero curb appeal and the entrance is on the side, not in the front.  Since this photo was taken, a new sign has been installed on the front of the building that helps to define what the restaurant is all about… 

Given the location, the building and the signing, Laurie and I are convinced that Captain Ernie’s will need a lot of help from locals who had been loyal patrons at his previous Turkey Creek/Campbell Station Road location.
The interior of the restaurant is significantly more appealing than the exterior.  The walls are decorated with photos, mementos and decorative items related to Captain Ernie’s previous career as a professional fisherman running a commercial boat out of the Florida Keys.  Without the upbeat and interesting wall décor, this place would be very basic indeed…
I ordered a Shrimp Poor-Boy for my lunch. ($6.95) I also ordered the Captain’s Black Beans and Rice side just to try them out. ($2.95) The sandwich was loaded with Jamaican-jerked shrimp, lightly dusted and fried, then served on a French loaf with lettuce, tomato and coleslaw.  I opted for cocktail sauce instead of tartar sauce.

The shrimp were very good, as was the coleslaw.  However, call me weird or just different…I’d prefer the slaw on the side.  Just let me focus on those tasty shrimp!  As for the black beans and Jasmine rice…they were great…
The menu also includes a Fish Poor-Boy ($6.95), as well as an Oyster Poor-Boy. ($8.95) Three Cuban sandwiches are on the menu…Cuban Chicken ($5.95), Cuban Steak ($7.50), and a classic Cuban. ($6.95)
Laurie ordered the Fried Clam Basket. ($6.95) She thought the clams were satisfactory but she loved the coleslaw and was blown away by the side of cornbread that she’d ordered. ($1.95) She’d substituted the cornbread for the French fries that normally come with the fried clams.

Other ‘basket’ offerings range in price from $5.95 to $9.95 and they include shrimp, catfish, codfish, Mahi-Mahi, Fish and Chips and Fish or Shrimp Tacos.  Oysters are offered as appetizers…Fried, on the Half-Shell or Char grilled.  The latter two items are at Market Price.  House specialties include a catch of the day served several ways, a seafood combo plate and a catfish platter. The most expensive item…the seafood combo…is $16.95.  The prices at this restaurant are very reasonable!
OK…so what does this photo from Larry, (aka ‘Big Dude’) and Bev’s Caribbean/Jimmy Buffet Wine Tasting Dock Party have to do with Captain Ernie’s?  Well, remember how much Laurie loved the corn bread at the restaurant.  I loved it too… Plus she really liked my black beans and jasmine rice.  So…for our contribution to the party, we ordered the corn bread, vast amounts of Black Beans and Jasmine Rice, (not pictured), and these Fried Sweet Plantains from Captain Ernie’s.  They were all judged to be real winners by our wine tasting group…

FYI…You might want to check out Larry/Big Dude’s eclectic blog site at
Captain Ernie told us that his new Caribbean themed menu was designed to offset the cost of expensive seafood for his customer’s in these tough economic times.   Seafood entrée’s are still available but they’re limited.  The goal is to offer a menu that everyone can afford while providing  cusine that isn’t generally found in East Tennessee.  We think that he and his wife have succeed in their goal.  Only time will tell if their clientele finds them and the good word gets out…
Captain Ernie’s Seafood Bar and Caribbean Grill is located at 501 Highway 321 North in Lenoir City Tennessee.  Phone: 865-308-2000.  At this point, Captain Ernie’s doesn’t have a website or a menu posted on line…
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a little Carribean themed lunch!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave  


  1. Your lunches both sounded lovely. I hope he is able to succeed in the new location. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Dear Dave nice post and nice plates lol

  3. I would love to try Caribbean food! Your blog makes me hungry. Thank you for the birthday wishes by the way (I am saucysiciliana's daughter:) I hope you will put a post on Cajun/Creole food. My mother would cook it but she doesn't know what cajun spices are.

  4. i think the whole world would benefit from a little more Caribbean!!