Thursday, June 13, 2013

U.S. Adventure: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Once we got to Hilton Head, I had only mapped out a few of the meals. It seemed harder to find solid trustworthy recommendations for restaurants. We were here for several days though so we ended up eating at quite a few places.  There are a ton of restaurants; it’s just hard to wade through which are worth going to.

Probably the top two highlights of the trip for me were Robert Irvine’s Eat! and Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant.  We left the kids at the kids’ club for Eat! and had a nice adult meal. We focused on the tapas part of the menu. We both really liked the chicken pate ($7) with the most amazing crispy, garlicky, salty pieces of toasts.  The fried green tomatoes were good as well, and a bit different with feta cheese and a brown butter vinaigrette ($8). The tomatoes were a little thick cut for me, but still good.  One of our favorite things was the salmon salad ($10) which was poached salmon tossed with a spicy aioli (and there was a LOT of salmon there), and served o top of a sliced asparagus salad with a lemon vinaigrette. And the topper? A perfectly sous vide egg, that made the dish even richer with its yolk. The crab cake ($7) with chipotle remoulade and sizzled greens was not overly exciting (hubby liked it more than I did), although those lightly fried, extra crisp (like a potato chip) collard greens are something that must be tried at home (I’m thinking baking them in the oven like I have done to make kale chips I the past). They were amazing. Also, the Scotch quail eggs were too little egg, too much sausage ($7).  It was a fun meal though, and another great service experience (I do wonder if all the men that work there are required to have Robert Irvine’s haircut though).

We had a lunch at Lowcountry, and it was just a great, mellow, Southern experience.  We sat outside in the “yard,” the kids drank lemonade and juice out of mason jars, and hubby finally got some perfectly cooked shrimp in his shrimp and grits ($17.95).  The local shrimp, which were very plentiful on the plate, were perfectly seasoned and cooked and the grits were just as good. He pretty much licked the bowl clean (although he wasn’t as big a fan of the sausage which was more like summer sausage). I had a fried green tomato BLT ($9.95). It was served on flatbread with the most amazing homemade Ranch dressing that was chock full of fresh chives. The tomatoes were thinly sliced and very freshly fried. I had a side of mac and cheese and it was clearly homemade with a lot of fresh cheese as well. I could not stop eating it, except there was so much of it, I had to. (Side note --my son’s meatloaf was some of the most tender meatloaf I have had).  I would absolutely return to this place.

We also had a lovely dinner at Truffles, which is one of the old school long-standing Hilton Head restaurants. This was at the end of the trip and I was craving something different from what I had been having, so we had the seared ahi tuna starter ($11.95), which was very good. It had fresh fried wonton chips at the bottom, a heavily dressed cabbage salad (with a wasabi cream dressing) and rare sliced tuna. I had a filet ($29.95) and it was a good steak (starches were not so great, both mashed potatoes and fries). Hubby had ribs and enjoyed them as well.

For one of our touristy meals, after visiting the Hilton Head lighthouse, we had lunch at the Salty Dog Café, which is one of those well-known tourist trap type places. But we were pleasantly surprised with it as well. The hush puppies ($5.99) were fresh and hot, and because they were made with cornbread, tasted sweet almost like they could be dessert. I had the shrimp salad sandwich ($9.99) that I really enjoyed (it was described as “the dish that started it all” whatever that means). The shrimp were tender and tasted fresh and the dressing had lots of flavor. It was what I needed after having a fair amount of fried stuff.  Hubby had the shrimp toast appetizer ($7.99), which was not bad as well. It was basically cheesy garlic bread with some shrimp added into the cheese.

Our last night, we also had a very nice meal at Guiseppi’s pizza. We needed something that wasn’t seafood and pizza hit the spot.  I loved the little lightly fried dough bits (they called them parmesan dippers). They were made with the pizza dough, but were crisper on the outside than traditional breadsticks and garlic knots. I love the garlic dipping sauce as well. The pizza was also very good. Nice chewy crust, lots of toppings (for me were red onion, mushrooms and kalamata olives) (ours was about $16).  I had a veggie salad on the side ($4.50) that had a nice housemade ranch (I appreciate that they’re making some of their own dressings in house).  It totally hit the spot and if it were in Indy, I would probably eat there as well. I loved dipping my crust into the garlic sauce.

This pretty much sums up the trip, other than a couple places hubby and I would likely not return to (Scott’s Fish House and San Miguel’s Mexican—although inexplicably, Scott’s is what my kids will name as their favorite place.)  I can’t say Hilton Head is really a foodie destination, although there are a ton of restaurants.  And we seemed to eat pretty well.

Robert Irvine’s Eat!
1000 William Hilton Pkwy
Hilton Head Isle, SC 29928

Robert Irvine's Eat! on Urbanspoon

Low Country Backyard
32 Palmetto Bay Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant on Urbanspoon

8 Executive Park Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Truffles Cafe on Urbanspoon

Salty Dog Café
224 S. Sea Pines Drive
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
The Salty Dog Cafe on Urbanspoon

32 Shelter Cove Lane
The Plaza at Shelter Cove
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Guiseppi's Pizza on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Naptown Cycle StyleJune 17, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    I'm so glad you liked the Lowcountry Backyard. I've been going to Hilton Head with my family every year for the longest time and it's one of the few places that stand out to me there. You are quite right about it not being a foodie destination although you won't starve there either. At least both Savannah and Charleston are close by for really phenomenal meals.