January 25 through February 1, Hilton Head Island and Bluffton restaurants partner with the Hilton Head Island Bluffton Chamber of Commerce for the 6th annual Chamber Restaurant Week. Even though the holidays are just a memory, for Foodies like me, our Restaurant Week is akin to the excited anticipation felt by any wide-eyed youngster during the 8-day Festival of Lights or on the morning of December 25th. I’m like a kid in a candy store – a candy store full of delicious food, that is! The Chamber has posted the list of participating restaurants, with many already advertising their special prix fixe menus for the occasion. If you have ever wanted to indulge in a certain Island restaurant or try a new place, this certainly would be the week to make a reservation. Yes, are some excellent ‘deals’ to be had, but also many opportunities to support local restaurateurs.
Ombra Cucina Rustica, which opened on the Island last year offers a prix fixe with a gorgeous selection of antipasti including Carpaccio di Manzo and Prosciutto di Parma con Burrata in their prix fixe menu. The Schiacciata di Pollo al Mattone (herb crusted half chicken roasted under a brick with potatoes, broccoli rabe, olive oil and lemon) makes my mouth water. Bomboras Grille and Chill Bar is not only offering a superb prix fixe but a tasty selection of wines with friendly pricing by the bottle too, with choices including Kings Ridge Pinot Noir and The Seeker Cabernet. Venerable Harbour Town Grill offers golf course views and a Tuscan steakhouse menu that includes a ricotta gnocchi & butternut squash appetizer, 4-oz filet mignon with demi glace, Prosciutto-wrapped salmon served with limoncello-honey glaze, sautéed spinach, and rosemary-truffled potatoes and a dessert choice of pecan pie, key lime pie or bittersweet chocolate terrine.
While most prix fixe menus offered during restaurant week are three courses, Vine restaurant located at Coligny Plaza, has stepped it up with six courses, including a tasting pour of wine with each course. Each meal starts with Chef Oliver’s soup of the day an may include a second course of Johns Island shitake and duck confit tart or Roasted Local Beet Cobbler with marscapone chiffon, cherry-Basalmic strawberries and crispy goat cheese tart. The main course selections include a Misoyaki Salmon (marinated 2 days) or the incredible Osso Buco with Vietti Barolo demi-glace, creamy orzo, and shattered leeks. If you’re hankering for a taste of the Lowcountry with a casual ambiance and live music, check out Ruby Lee’s. Their prix fixe offers shrimp & okra gumbo, she crab soup, oxtail stew, shrimp and grits, sweet potato pecan pie and more! If you love the hearty Gaelic fare, The British Open Pub will satisfy. Their menu includes soup of the day or salad and specialty entrees like Royal Birkdale’s steak & mushroom pie, Pub’s lobster salad, half rack of BBQ ribs and St. Andrews fish & chips.
Over in Bluffton, just across the bridge on the mainland, several wonderful and unique restaurants are joining the restaurant week fun as well. The lovely River House at Palmetto Bluff prix fixe menu include Gumbo z’Herbes, red wine braised short ribs and a delightful creamsicle creme brulee (with milk chocolate Chantilly and orange shortbread). May River Grill in Old Town Bluffton offers a stand out 4-course meal that includes choice of first course, chef’s soup of the day or salad, entrée selection (like crispy flounder with a Texas Pete brown butter sauce, grilled filet of beef Béarnaise or Daufuskie crab cake), and a dessert. So if you are wary of lackluster prix fix menus don’t be, just check out the various preview menus online where you will most certainly find creativity flowing freely in every delectable course. I am also told that there could also be a few late restaurant additions so be sure to check back and… make a reservation, restaurant week fills up fast!