Black Marlin Bayside Grill, Hilton Head, South Carolina

For our last dinner on Hilton Head, Nancy and I went to the Black Marlin Bayside Grill on Broad Creek. Black Marlin, like Skull Creek Dockside, is another SERG Group restaurant. All of the SERG restaurants are utterly dependable and pretty affordable, and in that sense they remind me of the Clyde’s Group restaurants here in the DC area.

Black Marlin has a nice view from the outside tables, but it was raining off and on, so Nancy and I sat indoors. We perused our menus and ordered. Nancy started with their “award winning chowder.”

The chowder deserved the awards it had won. It was packed with seafood, and the broth was thick with cream and potatoes. This is a great chowder.

I had a half dozen oysters on the half shell.

Nancy insisted that I order some oysters. I love oysters, but I rarely order them because I’m cheap — selectively, I admit, but cheap. I’m used to places on the Gulf, like Hunt’s, where oysters are less than a dollar each, and where I can eat several dozen without taking out a second mortgage. I balk at spending $3 each and up for oysters around here and at Black Marlin. This reluctance displeases Nancy, who hates to see me deny myself anything, and may just figure that I throw away money on other stuff and simply can’t see the distinction. At any rate, I hate to displease Nancy, but I remain cheap, and limited myself to half a dozen.

The oysters were good, cold and briny, and I ate each with just a few drops of lemon juice. Now that’s a lousy picture, but I include it to note the container of horseradish. I love cocktail sauce overloaded with horseradish. I usually spread it on saltines, but lacking saltines here, I expropriated Nancy’s oyster crackers and dumped them and all of the horseradish in the cocktail sauce to be eaten separately.

I may have been precipitate. Horseradish quickly loses its sinus-clearing powers, and sometimes you can ladle it all over, oh, roast beef sandwiches. But if it’s fresh, it can blow your head off. Once a neighbor asked to use our cuisinart to grind some horseradish roots. After a quick pulse of the machine, we all had to leave the house, tears running down our cheeks and sinuses aflame. The Black Marlin horseradish is pretty darn fresh. Exercise caution.

Nancy followed with an appetizer portion of the Baja taco.

As you can see, it’s a shrimp taco with pico de gallo and cabbage plus their taco sauce and some sour cream. She enjoyed it and commented that it was fried well, possibly for the first time ever Nancy has made a positive comment about any fried food.

I ordered the Grouper Daufuskie, Daufuskie being the first key south of Hilton Head. The grouper was crusted with crab, spinach, and andouille, and came served over stone ground grits. 

Just read that description again, and use your imagination. Good, eh? What a nice medley of flavors!  I can just imagine the chef thinking, “Let’s go for it!” It was a fine, fine dish, prepared very well indeed.

Another great meal in Hilton Head. You should go to Hilton Head. We used to go in the winter, and it was very nice, warmer than Washington, warm enough to ride bikes on the firm beaches, but not warm enough as the years advanced. It’s really nice in the summer, with broad, roomy beaches and untold numbers of families and friends having fun, inventing games, and behaving themselves in a family-like manner. It’s sweet, really, and despite the numbers, the beaches are so broad that they never get crowded. Did I mention the great seafood? Go there. Eat at Skull Creek Dockside and the Lucky Rooster and Red Fish and the Black Marlin — oh, and Gringo’s Diner. You’ll thank me.

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