EATERY OF THE WEEK

Discover local flavors at Roastfish & Cornbread

May 18, 2011 

Consider this article your treasure map to finding a truly affordable and taste-bud tempting eatery where locals go. Roastfish & Cornbread offers a great selection of Lowcountry seafood and organic produce. Chef David Young's colorful, fresh food is delicious.

Under vaulted oaks on Marshland Road, in a hacienda-styled building, Roastfish & Cornbread has quickly become one of the most talked-about restaurants on Hilton Head Island. Owner and chef David Young has been invited to many festivals, featured in the media and has conducted popular cooking classes.

The soft spoken Young grew up in Spanish Wells, where his grandmother introduced him to cooking. He isn't just a homegrown talent though-his culinary training and diverse experience has garnered him national attention from the likes of Rachael Ray and Coastal Living Magazine.

His specialty is marrying traditional local ingredients with exotic flavors and putting new twists on southern classics. Many of his recipes are derived from Gullah recipes his grandmother taught him. Local fish including cobia and wahoo are the stars of many plates, and Roastfish & Cornbread even makes an appetizer out of alligator. It's fried and served with a homemade remoulade. Young's mouth watering side dishes, including sweet potato cornbread, butter beans, and hushpuppies complement fresh fish seasoned with his proprietary rubs and garnishes. From his spice rub mixture called "Burning Down the South" to sweet and savory mango, onion and mushroom chutney, the food at Roastfish & Cornbread explodes with flavor.

The menu is surprisingly healthy. "We try to use organic products as much as possible," said Young, noting that Roastfish & Cornbread uses olive oil for grilling and cold pressed canola oil for fried foods.

Homemade dressings here are stand out-try the homemade strawberry vinaigrette. Young is even experimenting with a seaweed based salt alternative for patrons who must watch their sodium.

Despite the accolades, Young's ambition is to put wholesome foods within everyone's reach. "I wanted to create a place where people can come with their whole family and eat good, healthy food," he said.

Even the restaurant's chicken fingers are made in house. With quality like that, it is no surprise that Young has developed quite a following.

Good food at a good price is a hot commodity and since Roastfish & Cornbread doesn't take reservations, there can be a wait on the weekends. Fortunately, there are picnic tables outside where the kids can enjoy the outdoors while their parents kick back with a cold drink before dinner.

Sound too good to be true? You'll just have to discover it for yourself.

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