To do salmon right requires a subtle hand, because bold sauces can overwhelm the firmly textured fish. To taste salmon done to perfection, head to Gruby's in Okatie Village near Sun City Hilton Head. There, dinner entrees include a salmon fillet pan seared and lightly seasoned with lemon and garlic butter. Flaky and absolutely fresh, the salmon is accompanied by crisp steamed vegetables, rice and a crunchy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the inside dinner roll.
While the salmon will please any palate, transplants from the Northeast, especially New York, wax enthusiastic about the stuffed cabbage, potato knishes, and matzo ball soup served by Steve, Scott and Brian Gruber. Not widely available in the Lowcountry, these foods are enough to make even the most cynical New Yorker grin.
"They're used to having a good Jewish deli and around here, we're it," said Scott Gruber. "It's like a slice of home."
From bagels on weekend mornings to New York style cheesecake and deli meats by the pound, Gruby's serves quality food based on traditional recipes. Brothers Steve and Barry opened the first Gruby's on Hilton Head Island in 1986, and later expanded to Atlanta and recently to Okatie. A close family, they're proud of their roots in the Bronx.
Gruby's is decorated in a contemporary style with original pieces by local artists. The New York City skyline is dramatically etched in glass, and the booths are deep and comfortable. On Saturdays and Sundays, several large flat screen TVs above the bar at Gruby's show NFL and college football, and on Monday nights, a platter of 10 wings and a pitcher of Bud Light or Yuengling is only $17.
Monday is also lobster night, with an about 1.5-lb. lobster accompanied by roasted potatoes and drawn butter for $16.99. Reservations are requested, because as Scott Gruber says, everybody loves the lobster."
Gruby's also offers onsite and offsite catering. Platters can include corned beef, pastrami, chopped liver, smoked salmon and house-made roast turkey, roast beef and brisket.
For first timers, the most economical way to try Gruby's is breakfast-two eggs any style, a choice of bacon or sausage links, home fries or grits with toast and coffee is $4.99 (Mon.-Sat. 8-11 a.m.). And because they're grateful to be thriving after 24 years in business, Gruby's is serving food at 1986 prices from 2-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday through October 31, in Bluffton only. The family saved a menu from when they opened, so know exactly what food cost back then, Scott said. Their customers are enjoying the trip down memory lane.