If you haven't been to Hudson's Seafood House on the Docks lately, it's time to go back.
The addition of a new chef, gourmet salads, and a commitment to local produce and local seafood whenever possible means the dining experience at Hudson's has been transformed.
A Hilton Head Island tradition since 1967, Hudson's has succeeded by offering family-friendly dining with exceptional quality seafood, prepared simply. The restaurant gets seafood from local captains and from working shrimp boats that dock outside the dining room. Crews unload oysters, shrimp and soft shell crabs from the day's catch.
This bounty becomes part of new creative lunch and dinner specials at the restaurant, said Hudson's general manager Andrew Carmines. Working with chef Chris Carge, who was formerly at Bistro 17 and has been with Hudson's about a year, Carmines has raised the bar for food quality at Hudson's.
In addition to the fried, broiled and blackened seafood that locals and visitors love, signature salads are new on Hudson's menu. The spinach and pear salad (small $4, large $8) includes baby spinach, spiced Georgia pecans, poached pears, and blue cheese crumbles and is dressed with a port wine vinaigrette. The Asian chopped salad is made with mixed greens, Napa cabbage, red peppers, wontons, and cilantro, and is nicely complemented by a ginger-lime vinaigrette. Top any salad with shrimp, scallops, fried oysters or grilled chicken.
"We want to stay true to what has made us famous," Carmines said. "But we also want to be one of the best restaurants not just in the Lowcountry or the state, but in the whole country."
All menu items-including salad dressings and desserts- are made from scratch and prepared to order in the restaurant's kitchen. Hudson's also serves hand-cut Angus steaks. Miss Bessie, Hudson's senior employee, prepares delicious desserts and succulent soups.
The restaurant's deck is now open for lunch, and starting March 23, dinner will be served there as well. With gorgeous sunset views and live entertainment Thursday-Sunday nights in the summer, the deck is a gathering place for locals and visitors.
Carmines is busy now organizing the fourth annual Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival. Scheduled for April 30 at Shelter Cove Community Park, the event serves as the David M. Carmines Foundation's annual fundraiser. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society, the M. D. Anderson Cancer Research Center, and the Island Recreation Scholarship Fund.
At this year's festival, island restaurants will serve local and regional seafood specialties, and there will be an "Iron Chef" competition. Local artists will showcase their talents and there will be live entertainment and a silent auction.