The roads into the Isle of Palms from Summerville were sparsely traveled on this Thursday. Lowcountry residences were gathered around their tables with family and friends feasting on turkey and pumpkin pie, except for the few of us who selected to eat out at one of the various restaurants that chose to open their doors for the festivities. After surveying the list, the one-time ramshackled bait shop that became the Boathouse Restaurant had an appealing menu offering eight different entrees from which to choose for $36.95 per person. Reservations were set for 3:45 pm.
The November 28th sun was making its final farewell overtures with a mixed palette of oranges and yellows while a group of dolphins frolicked in the colorfully mirrored waters of the gradually darkening surroundings of Breach Inlet. Their momentary appearances for a quick breath of the cool air rippled the placid waters of the meandering outgoing tide. As I reflectively gazed out over the tranquil waters, thoughts of family and Thanksgivings past pleasantly invaded my grateful thoughts. A picture-perfect setting for the Thanksgiving Dinner offering at the Inlet's esteemed restaurant.
The entrance was marked by a rowboat hanging from the rafters above the double glass doors, a preview of what to expect once inside - more 100 year old vintage rowboats decorating its ceilings. The hostess offered us a choice between eating in the main dining area or on the porch overlooking the intercoastal waters of the Inlet. We took a quick look before finalizing our decision.
The main dining had a near full house. A nautical theme throughout, it was heavy on wood. Photographs taken in the early 1900's by Albert Cook, a famous nautical photographer, lined the walls. The porch was a few steps down, not as crowded with fans overhead and a couple of propane heaters. The view was the highlight, although hazy from the necessary clear plastic needed to keep the colder outside elements of November from making it uncomfortable. We chose the porch for the view.
Upon being seated, we were presented the menu with a respectable wine list. A server, not ours, stopped and offered water or drinks, which I thought was impressive on her part, taking the initiative. By the time our server arrived, we were ready to give our selections.
For the first of the three courses offered, I chose the Butternut Bisque. Second, I went with Roasted Turkey with Cornbread dressing, Giblet Gravy and Cranberry Sauce for the entree, which were served with a choice of two sides. I went Southern with the Grits and a typical choice for me, Mashed Potatoes. Finally, and this is where it got complicated, I chose Pecan Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert, but unfortunately they were out. So, next choice was Pumpkin Cheesecake, but there is a story to come concerning this choice. To round out the selections, a bottle of Chardonnay by William Hill was uncorked.
The Butternut Bisque had a nutmeg-pumpkin flavor to it and was very tasty. The generous portion of roasted turkey, four slices, was mouth-watery and tender. The mashed potatoes were just right and the grits, y'all guest it, were gritty.
Now for the desert. As for the Pumpkin Cheesecake, I have no observation to give, I was informed they ran out of it also. Y'all kiddin' me. What to do, what to do. The choices left for dessert were a Chocolate Mousse Cake and Key Lime Pie, but the server tossed out another choice that was not on the menu and had the word cheesecake in it, Chocolate-chip Cheesecake-and taken. The server threw in an extra glass of wine for compensation.
Now for some particulars. The restaurant staff was hospitable. Our server, David, was attentive and helpful. The courses were brought out in a timely fashion. We were not rushed. In fact we were the last to leave, which was around 5:30 pm. The menu and presentations were classy. The restaurant has the water-front appeal, which many restaurants cannot offer. Although, I did not sit in the main dining area, what I saw was rich in the warmth of wood with a strong nautical theme. I will be returning at some point in time to try their seafood recipes featuring seafood and produce from local farmers, fisherman, clammers, and shrimpers from around the coast.
I am a frequent visitor to their rooftop bar. The view of the inlet at sunset is unrivaled. I took some beautiful pictures of the sunset over the Inlet that night and the group of dolphins that call the inlet home put on an excellent show. One dolphin swam up to the shore several times and rolled over in the water at the edge next to the restaurant overlook. Spectacular.
Location: 101 Palm Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451. Phone: 843.886.8000
Winter hours of operation (begins Nov. 4th) : Sunday - Thursday: 5pm-9pm, Friday and Saturday: 5pm-10pm. Sunday brunch 11am - 2pm