Out to Lunch: Land’s End worth the trip for dessert and frog legs

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The weather was just right to sit on the outdoor patio of Land’s End Southern Seafood and Steak, overlooking scenic Watts Bar Lake, for our recent “Out to Lunch” adventure.
Home folks know the location as Euchee Marina at Ten Mile. It’s now called Osprey Pointe Marina. Going south on Hwy. 58 from Kingston, turn right on River Road (Hwy. 304) and enjoy the ride. Land’s End is on the right at 200 Euchee Lane, about 15 miles down River Road and  seven miles north of Watts Bar Dam.
The Land’s End menu says, “Where land, water and great food come together. Family owned and operated, featuring Chef J.C.’s fresh seafood.”
John “Chef J.C.” and Tabatha Corathers, with two small children, came to Tennessee from Florida last February to create Land’s End in a location that had been closed for a while.
Chef J.C. trained under a well-known Cajun chef in Florida. For several years he and his brother had operated three seafood restaurants in the Apalachicola, Fla., area. His brother bought his part of the businesses.
Raised in an oyster and seafood-fishing family, I asked Chef J.C. why they came to Tennessee.
He said a friend convinced him to come look at the rustic building and take in the waterfront view from where we were sitting. He was hooked.
When server Chrissie Pendergrass seated my wife, Carol, and me, she had to remind me that I had written about her in another “Out to Lunch” article at another restaurant.
“You’ve got to have an appetizer of fried green beans,” she said.
When Carol said, “OK,” I thought they were both out of their minds. It was the tastiest surprise I’ve had in a long time.
A favorite of Chef J.C., he asked that I not tell about his secret process and seasoning. He said whole green beans are battered and deep fried, then served with his homemade ranch dressing.
A sign as we entered said the special of the day was a basket of hand-breaded deep-fried grouper strips with a choice of sides. The appetizer special was frog legs.
I saw what was left on the plate of frog legs sitting on Steve Ledlow and Christy Tinker’s table. I’ve never had frog legs but was assured they were delicious. But I was pleased we chose fried green beans as our appetizer.
Steve and Christy live in Ten Mile. Steve is an electrician who works at the nearby TVA Watts Bar facility. Christy has worked as a server at Land’s End since it opened, but she was enjoying lunch the day of our visit.
Carol and I decided to share the grouper special with fries and made-on-site cole slaw. We passed on homemade Apalachicola Bay oyster stew and ordered a bowl of seafood gumbo with two spoons and an extra plate.
Chef J.C. makes the gumbo from scratch. I sound like a broken record to previous readers when I talk about generous servings.
Both Carol and I had large portions of the Cajun-flavored gumbo, and we took a large amount home for later.
Not so with our grouper basket. We devoured all of it. The cole slaw, made from Chef J.C.’s grandmother’s recipe, had an appealing flavor we had not experienced before.
Other baskets on the menu are shrimp, chicken tenders, fried oysters, clam strips and catfish.
Land’s End fresh seafood is flown into Knoxville from Florida twice a week. Chef J.C. said he is increasing his orders every week because some customers have already been disappointed when he had no more available.
Chef J.C. is the head cook, and no entrée is prepared until your order reaches the kitchen. Enjoy watching others arrive by boat and have an appetizer of deep-fried calamari, gator tail, cocktail claws, fried pickle chips or others.
Chrissie’s husband, Jamie Pendergrass, is being trained to cook Chef J.C.’s way.
The “Land’s End Feast for Two” features mounds of hand-breaded and fried to order fish, shrimp, scallops, clam strips, cocktail claws, oysters and stuffed crab, served with cocktail and tartar sauces and a choice of two sides. Sounds like a “family feast” to me.
I’m told oysters and shrimp are the most-ordered items, followed by grouper. Weekend specials change from prime rib, baby-back ribs, and Chef J.C.’s secret-recipe fried chicken. All entrées can be grilled, fried or blackened.
Also on the menu are steaks, chicken, chops, stuffed deviled crab and mahi-mahi plus salad selection and kids meals.
Tom and Linda Shearer have lived in Ten Mile since 1997 and were on their first Land’s End visit. Tom operates Tennessee Lakefront Construction, and Linda runs Tennessee Lakefront Cottage Rentals.
Linda had a grouper burger, while Tom was working on an appealing-looking cheeseburger and fries.
I guess I would have been more tempted by the shrimp burger of hand-breaded deep-fried shrimp and served with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Sounds like a po’ boy to me.
The house specialty sandwich is the oyster burger. Others on the menu are grouper burger, chicken or steak Philly sub, club and grilled chicken breast.
Roger and Peggy Bumgarner, Bud Brewer and Lois Howard took advantage of nice weather to ride motorcycles from Monterey for their lunch outing.
Bud had the frog legs appetizer and the grouper special, while Lois chose cheese grits as a side with her grouper basket. I visited with them too much and forgot to record what Roger and Peggy ordered.
Other sides not mentioned are mashed potatoes, fried okra, macaroni and cheese, baked potato, sweet potato fries, corn nuggets, fried green tomatoes, baked beans, onion rings and collard greens.
Land’s End is closed Monday and Tuesday. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Applications for beer and liquor licenses have been made.
Future plans include setting up a half-shell, or raw bar, in the inside main dining room; a grill in a building down at the water called “The Boondocks,” to accommodate boaters and others for quick short orders; and catering by boat to Sand Island this summer.
As a couple got off their boat and came up to sit at a table near us, Carol and I both commented that the lady has helped us on our numerous visits to Lowe’s garden area in Midtown.
Dee and Steve Lupie, originally from Illinois, now live in Oakdale. They dock their boat at Terrace View, and we had seen them in other waterfront restaurants.
This was their first visit to the new restaurant.
They assured me they will be back.
Chef J.C. had not read any of my previous “Out To Lunch” articles about my being too full for desserts, but he warned me to save room for his limited special of the day.
Carol and I split a delicious cooked-to-order hot pastry prepared with blueberries and whipped cream. Desserts change daily.
I’d go back to Land’s End just to have dessert and a cup of coffee, but I know I can’t resist all the other delicacies – like fried green beans or even frog legs.
My thanks to Darlene Brandel for alerting me on this new restaurant.
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Bethel Poston is a Roane County businessman and entrepreneur who writes about places of interest in our area. E-mail suggestions and comments to postonplace@bellsouth.net.