Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Road Trip: Truffles Grill - Hilton Head, SC
Pope Avenue, Hilton Head, SC http://www.trufflesgrill.com/
Last Friday Kyle and I had lunch at Truffles Grill. Truffles Grill has two sister restaurants in the area called Truffles Cafe, but this location is the only Grill and has a different menu, so I maintain that it isn't a chain. Kyle and I were the first two customers to arrive that day, so I had plenty of time to survey the restaurant's decor, which was modern and earthy with different shades of brown, evocative of truffles, of course. I would have found this more appealing if businesses in Hilton Head didn't largely favor brown decor already, but I guess you can't blame the owners for catering to a theme that seems to work on the island. Naturally I am far more interested in the food anyway.
Before we entered the restaurant we could smell the appealing, tangy/spicy aroma of barbecued ribs, which we had already been told by our hotel's concierge were outstanding. Kyle ordered these and enjoyed the good flavor and juicy meat. At lunch they serve a half rack of baby back, but Kyle wasn't left hungry because the ribs were paired with a coleslaw and a fair portion of shoestring fries.
I ordered the crab cake, which was The large size of the crab cake somewhat justified the $16 price of this dish, which is normally higher than I prefer to spend at lunch. The cake was decorated with wasabi mayonnaise, which was quite tasty, and the crab meat itself fell apart in hefty, steaming chunks. My entree also came with the shoestring fries and coleslaw. Kyle and I agreed that the fries were very good, but he felt that the coleslaw was a step down from the dish served at KFC, his gold standard for slaw. I haven't been to KFC in over 15 years and am not overly fond of coleslaw anyway, so it's best to go with his opinion on this.
The menu at Truffles Grill is interesting. Besides the aforementioned dishes, it also lists a homemade black bean burger, grilled homemade pimento cheese and tomato dill soup. The wine list looked decent, and non-alcoholic choices include "hand-crafted real fruit teas or lemonade" in blueberry, raspberry or mango. With that kind of title I was pleasantly surprised to see that the price was $2.50. I expected it to be at least $3.
I wish we would have had room to sample one of the homemade desserts, but Kyle and I wisely chose to give our full stomachs a break for the afternoon. (I noticed that the restaurant constantly points out that their items are homemade, which I thought was a little unnecessary. Surely customers shouldn't assume that everything is made elsewhere?) Our service was cordial and attentive throughout the meal.
The big disappointment with Truffles Grill came several days after I dined there. I had booked my reservation on opentable.com and was dismayed to discover that the restaurant had marked me as a no-show. Since I was exactly on time for my reservation, checked in with the host upon arrival and was one of possibly 6 diners in the restaurant I cannot understand how such an oversight occurred. Fortunately opentable was very professional when I inquired about the situation and awarded me my credit. However, this episode left a bad taste in my mouth about the restaurant where I was previously a fan.
Verdict: Good food in an attractive environment.