In a burst of color and flavors fresh from the garden and the sea, Crane's Tavern celebrates the arrival of spring by launching a seasonal menu next week.
Crane's has made its mark in the culinary community as a destination for beef, but the restaurant also serves many other dishes which offer a completely different dining experience. In the spring and summer, the unassuming, casually elegant restaurant on Hilton Head Island's New Orleans Road expands its fish and seafood offerings. On a typical night, selections may include scallops, shrimp, a cold water lobster tail entree and crab cakes.
"Behind the prime rib, the number one menu item that people come to Crane's for is actually the crab cakes," said Beth Ann Crane, who owns and runs the restaurant with her father, Hank Crane.
Made of 95 percent Maryland lump back crab with very little filler, the crab cakes are "very pure in quality and taste," she said. They are lightly browned by being pan sautèed and then finished off in the oven.
The grilled salmon fillet is an example of a lighter, healthy option with vibrant flavors. It's garnished with tiny pieces of fresh orange, capers, fresh basil and orange zest. The salmon is served with white rice that's made interesting by the addition of small chunks of feta cheese and fresh parsley, and a vegetable of the day or Crane's famous creamed spinach.
On the appetizer menu, the grilled vegetables Napoleon combines slices of yellow squash, zucchini and eggplant drizzled with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil reduction and served between two puff pastries. The dish is finished with a twirl of scallion-infused oil, then adorned with green scallions.
Crane's also serves pork, chicken and a vegetarian mushroom ravioli. The restaurant's salads come in two sizes and feature plenty of fresh vegetables.
"Basically, we have something for everyone," Beth Anne Crane said. In the intimate dining room, black and white photographs chronicle four generations in the restaurant business. Crane's opened on Hilton Head Island in 1999.
All of Crane's steaks-ribeyes, filet mignon and sirloin- are generously hand carved, prime grade and come in sizes from petite to large. All steaks can be prepared au poivre, with Crane's secret recipe for a Jack Daniel's or with a mushroom demi-glaze.
The restaurant's early fare dining menu is a great deal. It's offered daily from 5 to 6 p.m. and includes a house salad, four entree choices and a glass of house wine for $16.95. The restaurant also has a bar menu, including an award-winning burger, sandwiches, a French Dip, and oysters on the half shell.