Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vacation Restaurant Recap - Lowcountry Classics

We recently returned from a quick family jaunt to Hilton Head Island. We all had a really great time and, as usual, I made it a priority to sample everything this very pretty locale has to offer (read: eat all the food possible). 

Southern cooking fascinates me, and it is one cuisine that I don't attempt nearly enough or know as much as I would like about. With deeply rooted and diverse influences and an incredibly rich history, the possibilities are endless. One dish I make consistently is arguably one of the most well-loved Lowcountry staples - Collard Greens. In fact, it was our last trip to South Carolina that inspired me to try perfecting them. 

Collards! Photo: NK 
Read about our first South Carolina visit, and check out our favorite recipe for Collard Greens HERE.

In today's roundup, I'd like to tell you about two standout restaurants that you should visit if you are ever in the Hilton Head Island neck of the woods. They'll be on our list for a return trip for sure.   

Lucky Rooster Kitchen & Bar
What a find! This wonderful spot features lovely, slightly higher-end yet still down to earth ambiance (the island is otherwise pleasantly casual on the whole), and a really fantastic and warm staff. 

The cuisine can be described as modern Southern Food, often with subtly creative twists, or perhaps New American Cuisine with a a Southern flair.   

Now I am surely no Shrimp and Grits expert but their modernized version was DELICIOUS and PERFECT.

Shrimp & Grits get an overhaul at the fantastic Lucky Rooster in Hilton Head, so good! Photo: NK

My mom-in-law enjoyed their outrageously good Fried Chicken, and really the other dishes we had at this charming restaurant were standouts, including the Octopus appetizer and Fried Green Tomatoes served atop Pimiento Cheese (check out our favorite recipe for the latter HERE). 

Fried Green Tomatoes & Pimiento Cheese, Photo: NK
I've been known to enjoy a good cocktail here or there, so I especially savored the Martinez Cocktail that was expertly mixed just for me (a great combo of Gin, Maraschino Cherry Liqueur and Vermouth. All in all it was a great restaurant experience we're glad that we could share. 

Next up,

a more casual and cost-effective yet still delicious option, the charming:

A Lowcountry Backyard 
This super cute restaurant with, you guessed it, a very nice backyard where you'll find the bulk of their seating is a great spot to dine al fresco on traditional Southern food with a few twists. I ordered the special Fried Flounder over Cheesy Grit Cakes and it was to die! 

Special Fried Flounder at A Lowcountry Backyard in Hilton Head, Photo: NK

Combine that with a creative Margarita made with Moonshine and I was a happy gal. 

With a similarly warm waitstaff and some laid back and festive live music in the background, A Lowcountry Backyard turned out to be a great place to enjoy our last night of vacation. Thanks for sharing our our latest restaurant finds. We're making a concerted effort to get out of state more so we hope they'll be lots more restaurant tips to share with you. 

Stay tuned for my attempt at Fried Green Tomatoes coming to the blog soon. Our Southern Cooking inspiration is still going strong!

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