Posts Tagged ‘Pickles’

Skull Creek Boathouse – Hilton Head, SC

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 by virginia

skullcreek

Skull Creek Boathouse was a new Hilton Head restaurant for me and Josh, although we’ve eaten at other restaurants run by the same group (One Hot Mama’s, Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta). We had to wait a while to be seated due to the large size of our party, and we still ended up splitting up into two tables, though they were side by side.

The menu is pretty huge, but given that the restaurant is right on the water, we decided to stick with mainly seafood. For our table, we shared an order of the Boathouse Sampler, which came with coconut shrimp, deviled crab balls, calamari, and hush puppies. There was a good amount of food in the sampler, which made it easy for us to taste most things. My favorites were the crab balls, which weren’t spicy but had a decent amount of crab flavor to it, and the hush puppies, which we liberally dipped into the accompanying honey butter. Everything on the platter is fried though, which is kind of hard to mess up. To their credit, everything was hot, crispy, and not overly greasy.

Sampler

Boathouse Sampler – coconut shrimp, deviled crab balls, calamari, and hush puppies

Josh also wanted an order of fried pickle chips, which were served with a spicy ranch dressing for dipping. These were pretty good – briny, crunchy, and the breading on the outside didn’t overwhelm the pickle chip on the inside.

Fried pickle chips

Fried pickle chips

For whatever reason, I really wanted soup that night even though it was 90+ degrees outside. I’ll blame pregnancy cravings. Nevertheless, the SCB seafood chowder was worth tasting, so I was glad that I ordered it. It was like New England clam chowder, but with crab, shrimp, fish, scallops, and potatoes. The seafood was chopped up into small pieces so it was a bit hard to discern what was what, but it still had a pleasant seafood flavor. The soup wasn’t as thick or heavy as regular clam chowder, but it was still creamy and rich, with a buttery finish.

SCB Chowder

SCB seafood chowder

The chowder and tastes from the sampler platter were more than enough food for me, so I was pretty full by the time our main courses arrived. I ordered the Royal Seafood Sampler, which let me try three different dishes – coco seared sea scallops, a “salt and vinegar” crab cake, and stuffed jumbo shrimp. It was a lot of food, and I barely made a dent in the plate, but I liked being able to taste so many different things. The scallops had a tropical flavor to them, as they were topped with coconut butter and pineapple salsa. They had a nice brown sear on each side but I think they sat for a little while and wound up being a little chewy on the outside rather than crispy. The crab cake didn’t have too much salt and vinegar flavor, but there was a good amount of crab and little filler. The stuffed shrimp were my least favorite, as the deviled crab stuffing was too heavy and the shrimp were overcooked. I wound up packing up most of my plate in a doggie bag and eating it for lunch the next day.

Royal seafood platter

Royal seafood sampler – coco seared sea scallops, a “salt and vinegar” crab cake, and stuffed jumbo shrimp

Josh ordered the Seafood Extravaganza, which is basically a seafood boil with shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters, snow crab legs, sausage, potatoes, and corn. There was a decent amount of seafood, but it must’ve been sitting in the pot for a while because it was all slightly overcooked and a bit soggy. The shellfish was chewy, and there wasn’t enough spices in the broth to liven up the dish. It’s too bad, because the seafood itself seemed relatively fresh, it just wasn’t well prepared.

Seafood extravaganza -

Seafood extravaganza – shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters, snow crab legs, sausage, potatoes, and corn

Overall I had a mixed impression of the Skull Creek Boathouse. The food was decent, but nothing earth shattering. I don’t think that’s what they’re aiming for though. It has a bit of a chain restaurant vibe to it, but I liked the casualness of the place. The restaurant was pretty bustling, with lots of families and other big groups dining. The vast menu makes it easy to dine out with lots of people with different tastes – there’s something for everyone. Even though the main focus seems to be seafood, they do have steaks and other meats available. Prices go from low to high, depending on what you order. Appetizers are generally just¬† below the $10 mark (minus the sampler platter), and entrees can range from about $15-$35. They also have some good beers on tap and pretty reasonably priced wines and cocktails. Is it a must-go dining destination? No, I don’t think so. But it’s good for groups and the food is passable. It’s a place I can see coming back to for a few drinks and sharing some snacks.

Skull Creek Boathouse
397 Squire Pope Road
Hilton Head, SC

Smashburger

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 by virginia

There have been lots of different burger chains popping up around NYC and northern NJ recently. It seems like I’m reading about a new burger place opening up every week. Smashburger was one of the chains that I’ve been really eager to try. It’s gotten good reviews from several sources, and I liked variety of toppings and side dishes available on the menu. One Saturday afternoon, Josh and I were left to our own devices in NJ and we headed to Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack to check out the Smashburger branch that was closest to us.

There was a relatively long line to order, though it moved fairly quickly. We had time to peruse the menu posted on the wall and make our selections. After we placed our order, we found seats and got sodas from the fountain. The food was delivered to our table shortly afterward (when you order, they give you a number that you display on your table so they know where to bring your food).

First up, the burgers, of course. I decided to create my own burger and chose a 1/3 pound patty on a classic egg bun with aged swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pickles.

A 1/3 pound burger with swiss

The burger was true to its name, smashed flat while it cooked so that the edges were crisped up and the patty had a somewhat irregular shape to it. However, I found it to be a bit dry and incredibly bland. The swiss cheese helped, as did the toppings, but I ended up drowning it in ketchup to add some much needed moisture and flavor. It just seemed like the meat hadn’t been seasoned at all before it was cooked, and I was pretty disappointed.

Autopsy shot

Josh also decided to create his own burger, choosing a 1/2 pound patty on an egg bun with sharp cheddar, bacon, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. He also got some smash sauce, which came on the side and tasted a bit like russian dressing. What we found weird with his burger was that even though it was a 1/2 pound patty as opposed to the 1/3 pounder I got, his burger was smashed to the same degree of flatness, meaning that his burger was much bigger in diameter. That would have been fine except they use the same exact bun, and the burger overhang was way out of proportion. So much of the meat was off the bun, and because it was smashed so thin, the patty fell apart right away. He ended up having mostly burger with no bun, and it was incredibly messy to eat. His patty was also pretty tasteless, and while the cheddar and bacon helped, the cheese barely covered half the meat, and the three strips of bacon were pretty paltry compared to the size of the burger.

A 1/2 pound burger with bacon and cheddar

For our sides, we got an order of smashfries. They were shoestring fries tossed with rosemary, garlic, and olive oil. I liked that the fries were thin and crispy but surprisingly, the rosemary and garlic detracted from their flavor. I think there was too much rosemary and not enough garlic, but the taste was also kind of artificial. The olive oil also made the fries seem extremely greasy. I was incredibly disappointed with these fries, and probably would have enjoyed the plain french fries much more.

Rosemary and garlic smashfries

The haystack onions were much better, with thinly sliced and battered onions fried to crisp perfection. The onion strings were well seasoned, and we gobbled down a good portion of the basket.

Haystack onions

We also got an order of fried pickles because, why not? The thin slices of dill pickles were also battered and fried, and I like the sourness mixed with the saltiness of the batter. The pickles still had a nice crunch to them, and they came with buttermilk ranch dressing on the side for dipping.

Fried pickles

Overall Josh and I were both pretty disappointed with our Smashburger experience. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, or even that good. The burgers were pretty dry and tasteless, and smashing the patty was pretty detrimental to the larger 1/2 pound burger. I did like being able to create my own burger and having lots of different options to choose from, but in the end, the burger just wasn’t that impressive. I was also unimpressed with the smashfries, though I did like the other sides we got, especially the haystack onions. Prices are pretty reasonable, starting at $4.99 for the 1/3 pounder and $5.99 for the 1/2 pounder. Cheese is included, as are basic toppings, but certain add ons cost extra. Sides average around $2 each, and portions are pretty big and easily shareable. They also have chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and salads available, but I’m guessing most people go to Smashburger for the burgers. Reading the menu now, it looks so good on paper. However, our experience just didn’t live up to expectations. I’m not really itching to go back, though I might give it another shot sometime just to make sure this wasn’t just a fluke. Otherwise, for me right now, it’s just another burger chain I can pass up.

Smashburger (multiple locations)
390 Hackensack Ave.
Hackensack, NJ

Lansky’s Old World Deli

Thursday, April 7th, 2011 by virginia

Lansky’s Old World Deli is a place that I’ve walked by many times but never really thought about trying. One night Josh had a craving for a corned beef sandwich and all the delivery options we had seemed unappealing, so I looked up the menu for Lanksy’s and we decided to walk over there to check it out. The restaurant has kind of a classic, retro diner feel to it, and the menu is pretty extensive. It’s a kosher style deli, though it’s not actually kosher because they serve meat and dairy together, plus you can add bacon to any sandwich.

It didn’t take us long to figure out what we wanted to order, and then we dug into the bowls of pickles and cole slaw they brought us. Sadly there was only one half sour pickle in the bowl. Josh and I both prefer half sours because they taste fresher and are crunchier as well. The full sours weren’t overpoweringly sour, but they had a slightly metallic taste to them that I didn’t like. We probably could have asked for more half sours but we knew we had ordered a lot of food so we wanted to save the stomach space.

Pickles

Josh doesn’t eat cole slaw or any mayo based salads (ie., potato salad, macaroni salad) but I took a few bites and thought it was pretty tasty. It had a nice crunch and wasn’t overly mayo-y, with a nice tang. It made a good side dish to munch on with our sandwiches.

Cole slaw

We decided to go halfsies on a corned beef sandwich and a pastrami sandwich, both on rye bread. The sandwiches were pretty thick but nothing like the monstrosities that you get at the Carnegie Deli, for example. Still, they’ll fill you up and they’re more reasonably priced at $10.95 each. The corned beef wasn’t as flavorful as some other places, but it was pretty soft and had a nice texture. We just used extra deli mustard to boost up the flavor a bit.

Corned beef sandwich

The pastrami, on the other hand, was fabulous. Juicy, smokey, and tender – this was some of the best pastrami we’ve had. There was tons of flavor throughout, and we could taste the seasonings and spices they used on the meat.

Pastrami sandwich

From the “nosh” section of the menu, we got an order of the macaroni and cheese to share as a side dish. It was made with four different cheeses (sorry, I don’t remember what kind!) and was super creamy. It was served in a big bowl with a breadcrumb crust on top that could have been browned a bit more. The mac and cheese was definitely cheesy, and while we enjoyed it a lot, it was super rich so we only managed to finish off half the bowl.

Macaroni and cheese

We also got a side of french fries. They were made from freshly cut potatoes and fried to a deep golden brown. They were great when they were hot but did get a bit soggy as they cooled down.

Fresh cut french fries

Instead of dessert, Josh got a chocolate egg cream to finish off the meal. It’s basically seltzer, milk, and chocolate syrup mixed together. This version was nice and bubbly, not too sweet, but definitely chocolaty. It was quite refreshing.

Chocolate egg cream

Overall we enjoyed the food at Lansky’s, although the corned beef sandwich was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great. The pastrami, however, was great. I would definitely come back just to eat another one of those sandwiches. Portions are big and prices are reasonable. Service was pretty slow but it looked like there were only two servers working the entire restaurant. Our waitress was apologetic about it but we did have to wait a while to flag her down every time we needed something. Lanksy’s probably doesn’t rank up there with the “best” delis in the city (Katz’s, 2nd Avenue – both places we have yet to try) but it’s a nice neighborhood joint serving solid kosher style deli fare. For those not interested in corned beef or pastrami sandwiches, the menu is pretty extensive and there are lots of other items to choose from. They also serve a brunch on the weekends that I’d be interested in checking out sometime.

Lansky’s Old World Deli
235 Columbus Ave. between 70th and 71st St.
New York, NY

Hilton Head Day 5 – Flying Fish Seafood

Saturday, August 28th, 2010 by virginia

We only had half a day of free time on our last day in Hilton Head. I spent the morning by the pool with the girls while Josh and his dad got in a round of golf. We met up at the pool for a quick dip and then headed inside to shower, change, and do last minute packing. We had a little time to kill before we needed to get to the airport so we decided to grab lunch. Our first choice destination was the Sea Shack, which is pretty well known on the island for its cheap seafood joint that was also featured on $40 a Day with Rachael Ray. Josh’s parents, Lisa, and Jess have gone there before but Josh and I never made it. Unfortunately, we got there at 3:10 in the afternoon only to find out that they close for lunch at 3 pm. Rats. We debated other options before deciding to check out Flying Fish Seafood, which replaced one of our favorite restaurants, Stripes.

The space definitely looked very different from when it was Stripes, but the menu was pretty well rounded so we decided to stay and have lunch. Josh, Lloyd, and I chose to have beer with our meal, and they have a pretty decent selection of bottles in their fridge. I had Palmetto Ale, a local beer, while Josh and Lloyd tried out some craft beers. We all shared an order of fried clam strips to start. The clams were clearly freshly fried as they were burning hot, but they didn’t have much flavor. They were pretty tender though, and came with a nice marinara sauce for dipping. I just wish there was a bit more brininess, and the portion was kind of small as well.

Fried clam strips

Josh and I decided to split the seafood platter so that we could try as many different items as possible. The platter came with a house garden salad first. I chose the wasabi cucumber dressing, which tasted like horseradish sauce. The dressing was actually pretty interesting, even though the salad was standard.

House garden salad

The seafood platter itself included steamed snow crab legs, scallops, shrimp, fish, and french fries.¬† We had the option of fried or broiled, and obviously we chose fried (because broiled fish tends to be drier). We liked that the seafood was only lightly breaded, but unfortunately it was pretty soggy. The steamed snow crab legs were pretty good though, but there was only one small cluster. The shrimp and scallops were decent, but the fish was probably the worst of the bunch. In general it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrendous.

Fried fish, steamed snow crab legs, fried shrimp, fried scallops, and french fries

The seafood platter came with one side, and we opted for the mac ‘n cheese. Sadly, it was pretty bland and not very cheesy or creamy. I dumped a bunch of salt into the bowl but even that didn’t help. It was definitely not something I would choose again.

Bland mac 'n cheese

Josh wanted to try fried pickles, so we got an additional order of those as well. I was expecting the pickles to be coin shaped, but they were actually spears. They were also very lightly breaded, and while I liked the contrast of the hot, slightly crisp exterior with the cooler, juicy interior, the pickles were super salty and made my mouth pucker. They came with marinara and ranch dressing on the side for dipping. The marinara was an odd choice, but the ranch was kind of refreshing and helped offset the saltiness a bit. I can see the potential in fried pickles, but these just weren’t a good example.

Fried pickles

I was pretty disappointed that we weren’t able to go to the Sea Shack for lunch, but I was interested to try out Flying Fish Seafood since we’ve all been curious about the restaurant that replaced Stripes. While I liked how many different options the menu had, I wasn’t really that impressed with the food. All of our fried seafood entrees were pretty soggy and limp. It wasn’t that the seafood itself was bad, it was just poorly prepared. In addition, the restaurant was empty when we were there, yet service was really spotty. It took a while to get our food, and while they kept our soda cups filled, we repeatedly asked for, and never received, extra tartar sauce for our fish. The experience was kind of a letdown, and I don’t think this is a place we’ll be returning to. It was a bummer to end our trip on a low note, but exploring new restaurants is one of my favorite aspects of visiting Hilton Head each year. I look forward to trying out new places the next time we’re down there!

Flying Fish Seafood
32 Office Park Rd.
Hilton Head, SC