The first thing you need to know about the Primrose restaurant at The Henderson resort in Destin is to not follow the Google Maps directions you might find for getting there. We did and ended up at the bed-and-breakfast inn.
Instead, you will need to turn right directly off Matthew Boulevard at the sign that says The Henderson. Follow the elaborate driveway to the top of the hill.
There, some friendly staffers will take your vehicle for the complimentary valet parking and point you toward the Primrose.
Primrose, by the way, is also the name of the boat that sits out front at the Destin History & Fishing Museum. No extra charge for that tidbit.
In a word, the food at Primrose is wonderful.
Separate menus are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We went for lunch on a Saturday, so that is the menu I’ll share with you. The other menus are available online.
We started our lunch with an order of blue crab & sweet corn hush puppies. Our server validated our choice by saying it was her favorite among the appetizers.
A basket of hush puppies arrived with a small cup of Romesco sauce for dipping. They were delicious. My guest, who isn’t a fan of corn or crab or new sauces, loved them.
Other First Bites, include oysters on the half shell, fried oysters, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail and conch chowder.
We also shared a classic Caesar salad, which was made with crisp Romaine, brioche croutons, shaved Parmesan and house-made dressing.
Additional salads are a house with spring mix, cucumber, carrots, grape tomatoes and champagne vinaigrette and the Emerald Coast Green with Bibb lettuce, green oak, spinach, grilled green tomatoes, cucumber and citrus-herb vinaigrette.
You may add chicken, shrimp or fried oysters to any salad for an additional charge.
For my entree, I chose the chicken breast from the Big Plates part of the menu, which also offers crispy sesame cauliflower, steak frites and simply prepared fresh catch fish.
The chicken was amazing served with a whole grain mustard jus. Loved every bite.
It was paired with grilled asparagus and small roasted potatoes (but not fingerlings as listed on the menu). I enjoyed both and especially the asparagus, which had a nice crunch to it. There were so many potatoes, my guest finished them.
For his entree, he chose the BBQ Burger from the Hand Helds menu. Our server made sure he understood what he was ordering: a signature patty topped with aged cheddar, barbecue pulled pork and bread-and-butter pickles.
He understood, all right, and devoured every morsel. However, there’s no way he could have held it in his hands to eat. He opted for a knife and fork, which was a wise choice. It was served with a side of sea salt fries that were so flavorful, he said they didn’t need ketchup.
More Hand Helds items are a double dockside burger, harbor shrimp roll, Gulf Coast po’boy, fish tacos, smoked turkey sandwich and a fish sandwich. We saw many orders of fish tacos being delivered to tables, so clearly they are a favorite.
Dessert choices at Primrose are marquise au chocolat, rustic apple tart, Key lime pie and, our pick, the coastal carrot cake. It was fantastic. We were told it is the chef’s own recipe.
Primrose serves tea (iced and hot), lemonade and Coca-Cola products. It also has an extensive menu of alcoholic beverages.
A waterfall heralds the interior entrance to Primrose, and a host greets and seats you.
Outdoor seating is available, and many people were taking advantage of the sunny winter day. We stayed inside but at a window table. I could see a glimpse of the Gulf from my seat.
The decor is simple yet elegant with lots of rattan, blues, grays and eye-catching chandelier lighting.
Tables are well spaced in three long rows. There was a large birthday party at one table, and a wedding planner was helping a young couple at another. None of their conversations intruded on ours.
Service was friendly and efficient but also leisurely, if that makes sense.
We never felt as if we were waiting for food, but our lunch did take well over an hour for all three courses, which is not something we get to enjoy often.
Several other people helped our main server, delivering glasses of water to the table as well as some of our food.
It all was nicely paced and gave us time to savor not only the food but also the setting.
A final taste
Primrose offers a flavorful and casually elegant dining experience for visitors and locals alike.