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Fall is "Prime" time for local seafood at Catch 22

Layer upon layer of colorful vegetables and herbs perch atop creamy Parmesan risotto and sautéed baby spinach, in Catch 22’s savory Eggplant Napoleon.
Layer upon layer of colorful vegetables and herbs perch atop creamy Parmesan risotto and sautéed baby spinach, in Catch 22’s savory Eggplant Napoleon. Stacey Studley Collins/Special to the Packet and Gazette

When the term "Catch 22" wascoined, the author probably didn'thave dinner entrees in mind.But picking a favorite can be a realdilemma at this popular south endrestaurant. The casual atmosphere maybe fun, welcoming and relaxed, butdon't be misled, there is seriously greatcooking going on here. For nearly 10years (they opened in February, 2001),the four co-owners, Chef Bryan andwife Daisy Bobencheck together withPenny and Gary Duren, have been pouringtheir hearts and souls into makingCatch 22 one of the top dining venueson the Island.

"We all pitch in," said Penny, who canoften be found mixing cocktails andmaking excellent wine recommendationsat Catch 22's eat-in bar. Fromelegant martinis to old classics like theSidecar, she enjoys the challenge aswell as the social atmosphere.Now that the tourist season is windingdown, Catch 22 has extended theirearly dining special so there is plenty of time to getin an afternoon round or wind things up at the officeand still make it in to enjoy their value menu.Golfers aren't the only ones enjoying the pleasantweather.

"This is my favorite time of year," said Chef Bryan,who loves to cook with cool season vegetables,incorporating them in unexpected ways. His artistrycombining flavors was particularly evident in theroasted purple pepper puree embellishing the evening'sfresh, local triggerfish. The especially light andflaky filet was dusted in corn meal and served overAsiago risotto with sautéed asparagus and artichoke."Fall is also a great time for finding locally availablegrouper, snapper, black bass and lesser knownvarieties like spadefish," added Chef Bryan, addingthat the unusual fish's diet is made up mainly of jellyfishwhich gives it a mild flavor.

While fresh selections from Hilton Head Islandfishermen often grace the Chef's specials, therestaurant is equally noted for its USDA prime beef,cut in-house to order. Even the humble pork chopgets top billing in Chef's Bryan's capable hands. Hisall-natural two-inch thick bone in chop, is encrustedwith breadcrumbs and three varieties of caramelizedonions before receiving a decadent Bourbon glaze.The sweet, smoky flavor is well worth a try.

No matter what you choose, you will not bedisappointed, but be prepared. Locals and frequentvacationers know that reservations are highlyrecommended, particularly if taking advantage oftheir $16.95 early dining special, which includes aglass of red or white house wine, a caesar or mixedgreen salad, and a choice from among seven exceptionalentrees. So settle in with a drink and enjoy thevibrant local artwork and smooth jazz in this everpopularsouth end favorite. Making up your mindmay be your Catch 22.