Worth the Drive
Dine at the Docks
By Jennifer Kornegay
Scottsboro is probably best known for two things: some dark deeds in our state’s past and a big store full of other people’s stuff for sale. With a deck facing shimmering Lake Guntersville, perfectly cooked pork loin and bread pudding that’s easily in the running for best I’ve ever had, The Docks at Goose Pond Colony is a third thing the city should be famous for.
When nine young African-American men were tried for rape and found guilty by an all-white jury, it put Scottsboro in the national spotlight. The story of the Scottsboro Boys is a tragic one, a stark symbol of turbulent times. On the flipside, shopping at Unclaimed Baggage can be triumphant, with some serious deals on designer duds, electronics, cameras and computers, but that’s only if you happen to be there on the right day.
Dinner at The Docks is just plain good, with no timing required, although snagging a seat outside at sunset is not a bad idea (and reservations are recommended on the weekends). You might even want to arrive early in the day to check out everything else the surrounding Goose Pond Colony resort has to offer before you sit down to eat.
Set amid the scenic beauty of the Cumberland Mountains and nestled beside the Tennessee River’s Lake Guntersville, Goose Pond Colony has two 18-hole championship golf courses, access to the lake for swimming and fishing, a large, full-service marina and a pool, plus waterside cottages and a lodge if you decide to spend the night.
With a “come-as-you-are” philosophy, The Docks is certainly casual, but the menu reads like one in a white-table-cloth establishment, with dishes like Greek style chicken with rice pilaf and seasonal veggies, pan-seared crab cakes, smoked gouda quesadillas with caramelized onions and nightly specials like slow-roasted prime rib created by chef and owner Mark Hall. The level of service matches the menu, with a wait staff that can provide details on every item and confident recommendations.
Every meal begins with crusty bread accompanied by soft honey butter. The restaurant’s warm artichoke and green chile dip is a spicy new twist on the classic spinach-artichoke version and makes a great starter. While you wait for your appetizer to arrive, you can take a stroll down the long, lighted pier leading out over the lake. You’ll probably meet a few folks who’ve just tied up their boats to come have dinner too.
The diverse options for entrees range from steak to seafood, but the Thai BBQ Pork Medallions grabbed my attention. Juicy and tender, each piece of pork was topped with a dollop of a vibrant red sauce that has definite Asian influences. The combo of sweet and heat complemented the meat and was equally tasty mixed in with the white cheese grits and sautéed spinach also on the plate. The portions at The Docks are ample, but if you pace yourself, you can still indulge in at least a few bites of dessert. The offerings change nightly, but almost always include the homemade bread pudding. It’s fluffy and moist, and the drizzle of rum sauce adds a little kick to cut the sugar.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the view and the food at The Docks are enhanced with live entertainment. It’s a fun, but actually unnecessary, addition. The sight of cotton-candy clouds reflected in the lake’s surface and the satisfaction of finishing a nice meal need no such improvement.
Dine at The Docks
The kitchen is open for dinner only, on weeknights from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on weekends. Visit www.goosepond.org to check out the menu and get directions, and call 256-574-3071 for reservations.