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For live music and inspired food, dine at Bistro Mezzluna

Delicious food and live music can set the stage for romance, and Bistro Mezzaluna is a great choice for date night. On Hilton Head Island's New Orleans Road, the restaurant features authentic Italian and Continental food, music by local favorite entertainers, a dance floor and a fun and welcoming atmosphere. Black table cloths, a baby grand piano, terraced seating, skylights and original art set the scene.

Owner Mark Sertl touts his new chef's background as the former owner of a successful New York restaurant, and says patrons should look for changes in Bistro Mezzaluna's tapas menu. Wine dinners are also coming to Bistro Mezzaluna, including a six course Italian-inspired dinner in July featuring Chianti-braised short ribs. The wine dinner is by invitation only, so contact Bistro Mezzaluna for tickets ($75 per person).

For a light summer meal that's pleasing to the palate, try the Tuscan chicken salad paired with Fonseca Twin Vines Vinho Verde 2008. Crisp baby field greens are wrapped in cucumber slices and served with blue cheese crumbles, plum tomatoes, mandarin oranges and an aged balsamic vinaigrette dressing with extra virgin olive oil. The salad can also be made with blackened shrimp. Refreshing and versatile, the crisp wine is from the Northern region of Portugal.

Most entrees at Bistro Mezzaluna are $17-$25.95; the restaurant specializes in beef, veal and pasta dishes. For a special occasion, try the New Zealand rack of lamb, made with sautéed Chanterelle mushrooms. It's served with a mushroom polenta with a truffled rosemary demi glace. Or go for a seared prime New York strip steak, topped with crunchy shoe string onions.

Elegantly presented and delicious, Bistro Mezzaluna's prosciutto wrapped grouper is an excellent choice. It's served with a heirloom tomato stuffed with ratatouille.

Finish with a coffee, cappuccino, espresso or a dessert including homemade spumoni, tira-misu or cannoli.

From 5 to 6:15 p.m. during the summer, Bistro Mezzaluna offers a "sunset menu," with 24 entrees priced from $12.95-$15.95. These dinners, served in the main dining room, include a choice of chicken, fish, veal or pasta entree, a salad and a glass of wine.

Currently, live entertainment at Bistro Mezzaluna includes "First Lady of Jazz" Teri Rini Powers on Wednesday nights, playing grand piano and singing Broadway, soft jazz, requests and more. Other performers include locals' favorite vocalist Cheryl Christine. With a sparkling, sultry voice, she sings everything from big-band music to Rascal Flatts. The band Target performs Motown and Shag tunes and has a high energy presence that encourages dancing. Check Bistro Mezzaluna's website for a complete entertainment schedule.

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