Short Hilton Head report
Spent three days in Hilton Head and had two dinners out. First night we went to Michael Anthony's. I found it a bit noisy, but not ear-splitting. We started out with an order of calamari for the table. The slices of calamari were rather small. They were sautéed without breading and served in a tomato sauce which was fairly peppery. They were slightly rubbery, but tasty and there was enough for the four of us. For the entrees, had a pasta dish, strozzapreti with wild mushrooms and Italian sausage in a light cream sauce (it was light and didn't overwhelm the dish). My wife had spaghetti with shellfish and seafood (seems redundant). It had clams and shrimp and pieces of fish, all in a tomato sauce which was a little too spicy according to my wife, though I liked it. One of the others a the table had an involtini of veal which he enjoyed very much. I simply do not recall what his wife had, though she did like it. Overall, it was good experience.
The second night we went to Old Fort Pub which is not, in fact a pub at all. It is a lovely building with a lovely setting and it is white linen all the way. Three of us were wearing dark clothing and the hostess immediately offered black napkins. As it happened, for the month of December, the restaurant offered fixed price dinners; either and appetizer, entrée and dessert, or soup, salad, and entrée for $33. And, we could order anything on the menu! I went for the shrimp bisque, butter bibb salad and a petit filet. The soup was marvelous, creamy and aromatic of shrimp and sea. The salad of bibb lettuce was dressed with Manchego cheese, red onion and a citrus vinaigrette. The others in the party had she crab soup which they declared wonderful. I liked the bisque better. My wife had a salad of frisee with poached pears, gorgonzola, walnuts and a sherry vinaigrette. Also delicious. My entrée was the petit filet, about a 5 ounce piece, with two large grilled shrimp on a bed of mashed potato and what I would describe as a tomato chutney. The filet couldn't have been cooked any better. Just the right crustiness on the outside and buttery interior with a touch of pink. My wife had the swordfish which came with baby fennel, chestnuts pomegranate and caraway cream. The chef removed the fish from the grill just at that moment in a five to ten second window between not quite done and dried to a old shoe. It was uniformly moist and perfectly presented. My male friend had a seafood bouillabase, loaded with shrimp, scallops, mussels, crawfish and tasso ham. I'm sure he enjoyed it because there was absolutely nothing left when he finished eating. His wife had a lamb shank which was huge. She reported that it was excellent, very juicy and tender. And to make things even better, the volume in the restaurant was kept pretty much to a minimum which allowed for good conversation which, as far as I'm concerned, is an integral part of any fine meal. Old Fort Pub will definitely get a return visit.