Before fishermen discovered the edibility of fish, they used each catch as bait for larger species, hoping in the end to hook the biggest fish of all—friendship. Satisfy cravings for companionship and freshly caught fare with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get $50 worth of seafood, sushi, and drinks at Alligator Grille, on Hilton Head Island.
Alligator Grille's eclectic menu treats maritime palates to fresh seafood dishes and a variety of sushi rolls. Flash-fried calamari ($8), roasted-duck spring rolls ($9), and other small plates rev up appetites, while main courses such as teriyaki-glazed grilled salmon ($23) and pecan-encrusted red snapper with shrimp fried rice ($26) plunder heftier portions of deep-blue treasures typically reserved only for trident-wielding mermen. Those with overflowing internal fish tanks can opt for lightly seasoned and grilled free-range chicken breast ($16) or New York strip steak ($27). Specialty sushi ranges from popular rolls such as the spicy tuna ($8) and the california ($8) to more distinct offerings such as the rainbow roll, which adds tuna, salmon, and tobiko to the traditional california bundle and doubles as a lure for trapping rogue leprechauns ($10).
With multiple levels of dining rooms and a sushi bar where chefs prep raw fish dishes right before patrons' eyes, Alligator Grille boasts a spacious laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere. To keep spirits running high and to motivate merriment, the restaurant's vast wine list boasts A-grade grape bloods from all over the world and select interplanetary vineyards, as well as cocktails such as the key-lime martini and the mango mojito ($7 each).
Alligator Grille was featured as one of 10Best's 2010 Editor's Pick for Best Seafood. TripAdvisors give the business an average of four owl eyes, 69% of Urbanspooners like it, and five Yelpers give it an average of four stars. More than 1,700 Facebookers like the business.
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.