Captain Nemo's

Warmth, cocktails and so so food

By Jennifer Johnson on January 3, 2008

You’ve driven by so many times that the large building has ceased to exist. You know it’s there, but it no longer registers. A large neon sign reads “Spaghetti Dinner” or “Prime Rib Special.” The parking lot is mysteriously and consistently half full or better. Captain Nemo’s in University Place is known for stiff cocktails, but that’s about it. We decided to do a little exploring and see what else the Captain steers.

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the like crooned out Christmas carols that floated thinly from invisible speakers as we were seated at a comfy booth in one of the restaurant’s three seating areas. Lit table candles were redundant considering the ceiling lights were blazing bright. The host took our drink order, eggnog with Captain Morgan rum ($4). Served in cognac snifters over ice, these little devils inspired the feelings of the holidays I like best — sweet, carefree giddiness and good will toward men.

We’d figured, “Hey, the place is called Captain Nemo’s, let’s have some seafood,” but after a quick scan of the menu, we were dismayed to discover that every seafood item, with the exception of four, was breaded and deep-fried. Pricing seemed a bit high for what felt and looked like a franchise restaurant; entrees ran $14.95 to $18.95.

It seemed like a million years before a server came to the table and then bluntly asked, “You ready to order?”  Prawn Scampi ($17.95) and Prime Rib Special ($12.95) were ordered. Sad little salads arrived looking like yesterday’s fare; browning Iceberg lettuce, limp julienne carrots and waterlogged cucumber did little as appetite stimulants. Creamy, delicious blue cheese dressing was surprisingly made in-house. Entrées took a very long time. Our server explained as she hurried plunked the plates down, “Sorry, there’s a big banquet that had to be served first.”


The scampi was swimming in bland oil, prawns were so over-cooked if they had been alive they would have begged for death; fettuccini noodles were little better than white mush, and the slab of prime rib was mostly fat though the spices used were perfect.

We think the best thing about Captain Nemo’s is the fireplace with sunken seating area in the restaurant’s foyer.  And the cocktails.

[Captain Nemo’s, 4020 Bridgeport Way W., University Place, 253.564.6460]