When visitors to Hilton Head Island look for seafood, they often assume that the freshest catches are to be found waterfront. Au contraire!
One of the best seafood dining experiences on the island is at Catch 22. This south end restaurant tucked away on New Orleans Road is home to inspired nightly seafood specials and many other delicious dishes.
Thanks to a network of local captains, Chef Bryan Bobinchuck always has an incredibly fresh selection from which to craft enticing dishes. The blackfin tuna pictured at left was brought in straight off the boat by Captain Huff, and the freshness was apparent in the fish's flavor and texture. "I love preparing tuna rare like this when it is incredibly fresh," said Bobinchuck. "The delicate flavor of the fish really shines through."
An avid fisherman himself who's out on the water every chance he gets, Bobinchuck is a master of pairing flavors to best accent the daily catch. He draws inspiration from Asian and Spanish culinary traditions, where seafood is a mainstay.
With the exciting addition of Chef Russell Daken from Daufuskie, he is also delving deeper into Lowcountry elements. "It's been fun learning his secrets," said Bobinchuck. "His sauces and soups in particular are outstanding."
Incorporating local ingredients extends beyond seafood at Catch 22. The restaurant's owners (Bobinchuck and his wife Daisy, and Penny and Gary Duren) maintain their own organic gardens which provide many of the herbs and vegetables used in their specials. Even in their main menu, they strive to use as much South Carolina produce as possible.
"Locally sourced food is naturally more flavorful and healthy," said Daisy Bobinchuck. "It really makes a difference in the quality."
As a starter, try the shrimp and lobster stuffed portabella. The rich, almost meaty taste of the mushroom is paired with the more subtle flavors of shrimp and crab. For those who fancy something other than seafood, the crispy half duck is wonderful, especially as a winter meal. The skin is crispy, and the meat is succulent-perfectly cooked, and not at all greasy.
Whether you choose one of their amazing seafood specials, or perhaps opt for a hand cut "Prime" steak, you won't be disappointed. Reservations are highly recommended, particularly if taking advantage of Catch 22's $16.95 early dining special, which includes a glass of red or white house wine, a Caesar or mixed green salad, and a choice from among seven exceptional entrees.