Saturday, August 14, 2010

Eat at eat!

Tuna tartar, wasabi honey ginger, avocado chutney, soy ginger

I don't know about you, but for me, every once in a very rare while I experience those special, key moments in life, when everything comes together perfectly in front of my eyes. When everything just seems to make perfect sense and a feeling of peaceful happiness fulfills me. I really don't know any other way to explain it but to call it a visual and visceral epiphany of sorts - although I don't think that description really does it justice either. The kind of moments that make you feel like jumping for joy, laughing out loud, wanting to cry out of happiness - and all at the same time. And somehow you just end up with a big grin on your face, while everyone else wonders what is the matter with you. But I'm sure you know what I mean. They are those moments you wish you could bottle up and keep with you forever. The kind that fills you with a deep sense of gratitude. These moments that give you the kind of serene knowing that, as confusing, complicated and challenging this world may be at times, that everything has its perfect place in this universe and everything truly does happen for a reason.

I feel as though I have uttered these words so often, mindlessly, as sort of a mantra, as I do my best to navigate through this labyrinth called life. But in gifted moments of clarity these simple words resonate so true within.

That is exactly what I experienced at eat! in Hilton Head. Everything in my life leading up to that moment made perfect sense and it was beautiful sight. It was one of these momentous occasions for me that will forever be etched in my memory. Momentous not because anything big or extraordinary happened but because it was simple and therefore perhaps extraordinary in its own right. Life at that moment was reduced to what is truly the only important thing in life, to me: family and the people I love. Kind of like a sauce that you reduce to its essence. All the excess and unimportant things evaporate and what you are left with is the heart and soul, the backbone. For the first time, I was with my family and my SB's family together at one table, sharing a spectacular meal. I was in the company of the most important people in my life and I couldn't imagine anything better than that.

We were laughing, eating, translating, sharing stories, hand-gesturing and chatting eagerly like reunited old souls. We were celebrating Momma B's birthday, our families and the gift of each and every day of good health.

The gang: Pappa Dukes at the head of the table; to the right of him in order: SB, me, Mamma, the little one and Wonni. To the left of Pappa Dukes: Momma B, Pies, Gibs, MS and KB.

Now, I am sure you are curious about the food. I mean after all this is a food blog of sorts, right? Well, let me tell you - it was fantastic! The restaurant is owned by chef Robert Irvine of Food Network's Dinner: Impossible. It comes as no surprise after you eat his food that he once was a White House chef and also worked on Charles & Diana's wedding cake. I will let the pictures do most of the talking, but I urge you - if you find yourself in the Hilton Head area, make yourself a reservation at eat!. You won't regret it.

Cornmeal crusted oysters, Tabasco butter, blue cheese, Asian slaw
This was my mothers favorite dish. My Mamma thinks similarly to me in this regard: how can a meal that includes oysters be a bad one? It can't. The crunchiness or the cornmeal and the slaw provides a very nice contrast in texture. This dish is definitely not your traditional fried oyster. It's a must try!

Blackened snapper and grits, bay shrimp, tomato havarti grits, red pepper goat cheese coulis, balsamic
This, as it was explained to us by the waiter, would be their signature dish if they had one. One of the most popular items on the menu. 4 people from our gang ordered it and loved it!

Fried green tomatoes, brown butter, feta cheese, balsamic
I mean, you can't go to the South and not have fried green tomatoes, right? This was a first for me and my family and we loved it. But then again, can you think of anything that is fried and doesn't taste good?

Seared diver scallops, cajun spice, mango butter
I loooove me some scallops. To be honest, I haven't met a scallop that I didn't like (so far, at least). This was no exception. Yum, yum, yum!!!

Pan roasted free range chicken roulade, pork sausage stuffed, pan jus, roast vegetable couscous

Pan seared breast of duck, black bean more, cherry gastrique, cilantro and micro herb citrus salad
My mother orderd this dish and loved it. I must warn you though, if you try to order this dish anything but rare the waiter may bite you head off. My mother isn't a big fan of rare meats and prefers them at medium temperature at the least. Well the waiter insisted and was quite adamant about serving this duck rare and if she wanted it cooked anything more than medium "she should order something else." It was definitely one of the more interesting conversations I've had at a restaurant. lol

Fennel brined pork chop, orange pepper gastrique glaze, house made kraut, veal stock
DE-LISH!!! I just love a good pork chop. This was everything I was craving at the time. It was hearty but lean. It was sweet and savory and it was cooked just the way I like my pork: medium ;) with just a little pink in the middle. My mouth is watering just thinking about this dish.

Lobster mac & cheese
Need I say more?

I am showing you only a fraction of the food that we had. I think we ordered pretty much one of each item on the menu (whoever said our families love to eat??). By the time the appetizers were consumed I was already bursting out of my seams. I was so grateful that I had chosen to wear a forgivable and expandable dress versus pants. It may have gotten ugly. What we accomplished that night truly bordered on competitive eating. And just to drive my point home here's a photo of one out of 4 desserts we ordered:

eat! gets 3 and 3/4 out of 5 meltingpots!

Happy eating!!


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