Dragon Palace Chinese Bistro’s Chef Cheng Sin Yung is completely dedicated to authenticity. He commissioned the construction of his bistro in Taiwan and then shipped the eatery to the states piece by piece, instead of taking the easy way out and floating it across the waters via iceberg. To craft meals that live up to his high standards of authenticity, he spent time in Hong Kong, meticulously honing time-honored Chinese recipes and techniques.
Throughout the lavish dining room, decked in rich maroons and golds, artwork from contemporary Chinese visionaries whispers of the ancient culture, and so does the food. Instead of bombarding patrons with a buffet of Chinese food, he painstakingly curates a menu of dishes including five-spice duck and royal steak kew. The menu forays into the unusual with dishes such as seafood bird nest and minced pork with chinese eggplant, but also includes some familiar dishes, such as lo mein and general tso’s chicken.
It's easy to mistake Alligator Grille for a casual comfort-food haven with its menu of alligator gumbo, strip steaks, and sweet-potato fries. But it's the eatery's subtle, sophisticated touches that helped it earn a AAA Three Diamond award. The grills sizzle with lightly seasoned cuts of free-range chicken, filet mignon, and wild salmon, to be paired with everything from wild-mushroom risotto to stone-ground yellow cheese grits. A modest sushi selection features familiar staples while also spotlighting some unmistakably Southern ingredients; the alligator roll pairs its titular meat with sriracha sauce, and a roll of fried oysters and coleslaw takes its inspiration and name from po' boy sandwiches.
White columns and potted greenery welcome diners to the sidewalk patio, while indoors, the tiered dining room's neutral hues and crisp white tablecloths mirror the menu's casual elegance. A chef's bar invites diners to follow their meal from pan to plate as ceiling fans gently rotate overhead, circulating the servers' telepathic conversations throughout the room.
Parmesan-encrusted snapper. Hand-battered fried shrimp. One and a half pounds of steamed snow-crab legs. The culinary team at Parrot Cove Seafood Grill and Bar crafts these succulent seafood dishes from fresh catches at their waterfront restaurant on Shelter Cover Harbor. Owner Jimmy’s love of French and southern cooking is reflected in the menu featuring dinner and dessert crepes, oyster po’ boys, pulled-pork sandwiches, and half racks of ribs with housemade slaw. Meals unfold in a dining room adorned with nautical decorations and more than 40 parrots, who take forms such as paintings, statuettes, and waiters. Parrot Cove also provides spacious outdoor seating, seasonal live entertainment from local artists, and, for kids, a chance to rummage through a treasure box if they clean their plates.
Nestled in among the trees, sunshine, and ferns of Hilton Head, Nick's Steak and Seafood looks like a friendly local joint from the outside. A simple step through the door, however, teleports diners from the Lowcountry to pure Pittsburgh sports mania. Owner Josh and his wife, Katie, both love the Steel City teams, and they celebrate that love with apparel and memorabilia from the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates all over the walls. To fuel the fanaticism, their chefs dish up a menu of classic surf 'n' turf, which includes filet mignon, lobster tail, and ready-to-peel shrimp.
Customers line up for southern-style seafood at The Sea Shack, where cravings for fried, grilled, or blackened seafood selections are made to order and then delivered to tables of Hilton Head locals and visitors. Along with seafood staples such as scallops, salmon, and flounder, The Sea Shack also serves triggerfish, frog legs, and conch fritters for adventurous diners who no longer get their kicks by eating rare steaks while suspended over shark tanks.
The Hilton Head Seafood Festival entertains guests' tongues with cuisine from 12 island restaurants, including the Black Marlin, The Crazy Crab, and L'Woods, and non-taste senses with live entertainment. Deviled crabs ($5), mini shrimp po' boys ($3), and blackened grouper fingers ($5) pair well with truffle-parmesan fries ($2) or gelato ($5), and barbecue shrimp dances onto plates to the rhythm of live music ($5).