Ocean vibes

Enon’s The Dock rocks

By Paula Johnson

Photo: Alaskan snow crab legs at The Dock in Enon

Dock it to me

Close your eyes to the rusty colors of Ohio’s fall foliage and instead imagine ocean blues and greens. Inhale the coconut smell of sunscreen, and let the warm salty breeze and strains of Jimmy Buffet wash over you. Yes, it’s all in your mind, but if you go to The Dock, it might seem pretty close to being real.
Located in Enon, northeast of Dayton, this is a place that’s unapologetic in its kitchiness. Filled with faux tropical plants, saltwater fish tanks and even an indoor waterfall pond, the interior is almost Disney-esque in its adherence to the island paradise theme. If the Skipper and Gilligan opened a place after being rescued from that ill-fated three-hour tour, I picture it looking a lot like The Dock.

Walk the plank

Our trio arrived on a Friday night to see a cluster of people at the top of the gangplank entrance. Fortunately they were a large group who were just leaving, and we had only a momentary pause at the hostess station to be seated. On the way to our table we passed a life sized painted statue of a weathered fisherman seated on a bench before being seated under a porthole window. Our efficient server Melinda got us drinks as we began to make our dining choices.
I was aware of The Dock through a restaurant tasting event where I had sampled their award-winning lobster bisque and found it to be good. After the tasting, PIP (Palate In Progress) and I both remarked we wanted to try the place, and I am glad we got around to it. So Lobster Bisque ($6.99) all around it was, as well as an order of another “Dockatizer” of note, the Crab Cakes ($10.99), listed as a house specialty. For good measure we threw in an order of Breaded Clams ($4.99 5 oz. or $9.99 10 oz.), after being assured that they were indeed freshly hand breaded and not frozen.
Souper bowl

The bisque, creamy, rich and flavorful stood up to its reputation and was savored by all. Ditto for the crab cakes and clams. Crab cakes are often “carb” cakes made with mostly breading, but these were sufficiently crabby enough that happily, I wasn’t. The tender clam strips satisfied, and we were looking forward to seeing how The Dock would handle the rest of our meal.
The dock’s menu is limited—oddly, there’s not even a lobster entree. But there were Snow Crab Legs ($23.99), always a safe bet since they are nearly impossible to cook incorrectly. I elected to try the Scallops ($19.99), served with a side of broccoli. They were done the way they should be—surface seared and tender inside, sweet little buttery gifts from the sea. PIP was wary of ordering the Blackened Tuna Steak ($15.99), being too often disappointed with the overcooked results at several recent dinners. But considering the reception the appetizers got at our table, he took the plunge. Melinda, ready and helpful with advising, assured us that the kitchen respects and really pays attention to guests’ preparation requests. He asked for it on the rare side and was rewarded with a really tasty slab of fish done exactly that way.

A simple equation

The Dock, we all agreed, is a great bet for a reasonably priced, casual seafood dinner. This is not a place for a complicated preparations or exotic ingredients with elaborate garnishes. No foam here. This is a place for good, simple broiling and pan searing. Though I’m certainly a fan of the former, I’m equally a fan of the honesty of not gilding the scallop. Butter + Seafood + Lemon = Delicious.
Though we were visiting in the fall, we noted the outdoor beach bar and patio space behind the parking lot as we departed. I could see this being a really fun summer night kind of place where the ocean vibe and the beach seafood shack appointments could really sweep you away and leave you in a tropical trance. I doubt I will wait till summer to return though. As PIP observed as we got in our car, “‘Enon’ spelled backwards is ‘none.’ And that’s exactly the amount of reservations you should have about dining at The Dock!”

The Dock is located at 250 W. Main St. in Enon. For more information, please call 937.864.5011 or visit thedockenon.com.

Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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