Our first night on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and I found a steakhouse. I know that it sounds incongruous to be in the Low Country and going for a steak. At the turn of the Twentieth Century, Frank Crane founded Crane’s Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Through a couple of different generations and locations, Crane’s Tavern and Steakhouse is now over a hundred years of age. This location was opened in 1999 and their wines are stored in a temperature controlled cellar. I found this winery as they are a recipient of Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence.” As we walked in, we saw a classic interpretation of an old style bar, that looks like it could be a hundred years old and made me feel very comfortable.
Even though they call themselves a steakhouse, we went with seafood for the entire meal. I learned years ago, that steakhouses can have some of the best seafood around. We started out sharing an order of Traditional Style Shrimp Cocktail with a great Horseradish Sauce and just a wedge of lemon. Good old-fashioned jumbo shrimp and nothing fancy. My Bride had the Low Country Shrimp, lightly sautéed and served over White Cheddar Grits with Creamed Corn, Bacon and Green Onions. I had the Crab Cakes, which were pan-seared with Rice Pilaf and a Red Pepper Remoulade. They were the biggest, thickest and crab-stuffed Crab Cakes I have ever had, a true delight and my Bride several times that evening, told me that I had the best choice for the evening.
We enjoyed a bottle of Jean-Marc Brocard (Domaine) Sainte Claire Chablis 2021. Jean-Marc Brocard established his initial vineyard in 1973 as a gift, and they have since expanded to produce a Chardonnay wine from all four of the Chablis appellations. They started with one hectare and it has grown to sixty hectares of certified organic and forty hectares of biodynamically farmed land, as well as contracts with some of the oldest vineyards in the region. The emphasis is on the terroir, and the approach is traditional, they use oak barrels and larger format, they do not use any new barrels. This single vineyard wine is on the classic Chablis soil known as Kimmeridgian, which is a mineral rich-clay with essential marine fossils and a significant lime content; the trademark clay of Grand Cru wines of Chablis. A pretty soft-yellow wine offering notes of lemon and yellow fruits. On the palate, a crisp, fresh fruit with a tangy balance and nice long-count finish of terroir. An absolutely great first night on the island.