The Lowdown on a Gastronomical Adventure Called Eat!
ATMOSPHERE: If it wasn't for the incredible food, the ambiance of this place would be the star of Eat! Deep sensual reds and blacks highlight the huge bar area. Pillows abound with an atmosphere of chic and eclectic comfort.
SERVICE: Simply said, we were doted on. Our bartender/server, Will, pampered us with exquisite service. Nathan was the perfect host and wowed us with an incredible selection of wines. And what can I say about restaurant owner/chef Lee? His selection of culinary masterpieces blended with his dry wit made our evening an unforgettable memory!
"WOW" FACTOR: Everything about this place screams WOW! We went on a Monday evening, which is typically purgatory for a restaurant employee. Who goes out on a Monday night, right? Well, we found out where they go... Eat! We arrived at 8:00 PM and the place was packed! We discovered the secret too - along with incredible food, Eat! offers its entire wine menu at 50% off their normal prices! I have found my Monday night respite starting from the beginning of a long work week.
GUYS WILL GO FOR: This is a no-brainer! Unless you are hooked up with the "hot dog king" there is nothing any guy wouldn't like about Eat!. The place is elegant, but extremely comfortable and the food is top notch without being pompous. Generous portions, tremendous value and attentive service will make any guy a believer.
JUST THE GIRLS: Girls- this is the place to congregate! The bar area has a huge table that can seat about a 100! You feel like you are sitting in a sultan's tent in the middle of the Sahara surrounded by pillows, awaiting men to feed you grapes. The wines melt in your mouth like butter and the tapas styled appetizers allow for plenty of sharing and sampling.
HEALTHY CHOICES: If you are about fresh, Eat! has the best! Our first dishes were tuna and included a Tuna Tartare that was simply the most delicious I have ever experienced. And believe me, you notice freshness when you are eating raw fish! The menu is a who's who of fresh and enticing ingredients - tuna, shrimp, foie gras, scallops, goat cheese and fried green tomatoes to name just a few.
DECADENT TREAT: The sumptuous desserts are a masterpiece all to themselves. My favorite though was the strawberry short cake cheese cake and believe it or not, Chef Lee tops this decadent creation with balsamic vinegar. It doesn't sound like it should work, but believe me, it does!
ROMANTIC FACTOR: Eat! would be easy to get lost in, so finding a private little nook to wine and dine your special someone is easy to find.
Oh what a lucky job I have! Just when I think it can't get any better, it does. Eat is one of the newest gifts the Lowcountry has been given - A restaurant with its own personality and charisma. You don't go to Eat! just to eat, you go for the experience that Chef Alphonso Lee Lucier brings from his ten years of exciting the taste buds of Florida Pan Handlers.
Chef Lee decided a five course, tapas-themed extravaganza was in order, and we were not disappointed. The first theme was Tuna, and what a way to begin. The first plate was a Sesame Yellow Fin Tuna in a Soy Ginger Marinade and resting in a Coconut Orange Broth. This was then followed by a Seared Pepper Tuna sitting on a bed of Asian Cole Slaw. And finally, my ultimate favorite, Tuna Tartare gently season with oriental hot peppers! Is your mouth watering yet?
The second course was another taste sensation. We started with Tempura Shrimp with two exotic sauces meant for dipping. Next, was a lovely shrimp, crab meat and mango cocktail followed by one of the most unusual and delicious dishes I have ever experienced-Barbequed Shrimp Foie Gras over Chef Lee's house grits. You will have to visit Eat! and try this one for yourself.
The next round highlighted Duck. If you are a duck fan as I am, then you've come to the right place. Chef Lee entranced us with Duck Confit Spring Rolls with a Cranberry Apple Glaze, Olive Glazed Poached Duck and finally, Seared Duck Breast over a Northern Bean Compote with a Cranberry Mont Glaze. Oh, what I wouldn't do to relive this course just one more time before I go!
Our next course was probably one of the most unique combinations of ingredients and flavors highlighted by, of all things, black beans. Chef Lee started with an absolutely beautiful Rabbit and Black Bean Chili Relleno. Next, another beautiful and completely unique dish encompassing black bean and short rib into a visually striking cake. Finally, Chef Lee artfully completed the main meal with a Black Bean and Corn Soup laced with a Tabasco Cream Sauce.
And for the piece de la resistance and the one course where you really find out which of your dinner companions can be dangerous with a fork - dessert. The word "dessert" does not fully describe what came to the table. A large dish weighing about 40 lbs was placed before us. In the middle was a HUGE piece of devils food fruit cake with an eggnog cream cheese frosting. This is one fruit cake that will never end up as a door stop! Surrounding the cake was a sweet potato bread pudding with a Tabasco sauce (yes, I said Tabasco sauce!) and incredibly rich slices of chocolate torte. One of our group complained that she really wasn't a sweet eater, so Chef Lee brought her that piece of strawberry shortcake cheese cake resting in balsamic vinegar that I told you about earlier. For someone who doesn't like sweets, you could not wrestle that dessert from her busy little hands!
Eat! is a MUST EAT! It is not to be missed. Eat! is located in the Village of Wexford on Hilton Head's south end and is opened nightly Monday through Saturday.