April 2012

A Wise Cut of Meat - WiseGuys Adds Open Kitchen, New Steak Menu

Author: Peter Zink

Sometimes you wonder how your food is being prepared when you visit a restaurant. Is your ticket sitting idly in the hopper behind the kitchen doors? Are the servers picking up your food right when it’s ready? Is the chef using fresh ingredients to prepare your ideal dish? At the end of the day, when you decide to escape your house and enjoy some fine dining, it’s nice to know that your food is getting the attention it deserves.

At WiseGuys Steaks in Main Street Village, you never have to worry about it. Known for their big wines, small plates and serious cocktails, WiseGuys reopened on March 8 with a new expanded dining room with an open kitchen and a brand new fine dining menu featuring a wide array of steaks. Executive chef Jim Spratling appreciates the change. “It’s nice. I enjoy the open kitchen aspect of it, because it allows people to see the action—the sights, sounds, smells, and it allows me to see their enjoyment—to actually witness where our end product is going instead of being behind the closed walls of the kitchen all the time and not knowing and having to ask ‘How’s table 22?’” Don’t be surprised when you spot Spratling walking amongst the diners and ensuring patrons experience a flawless evening.

While the new dining kitchen and seating area certainly help Spratling engage his customers better, the focus on the customer is nothing new for this Hilton Head establishment. “One of our mottos is ‘share our passion.’ And we try to do that with everything we do here, from the effort into the presentation to the great selection we offer our customers,” said general manager Gary Caron.

No Half Measures
WiseGuys is known for delivering the very best in everything they do. There are no half measures or timid steps. As a wine and cocktail establishment, the restaurant features over 150 different wines with over 70 on tap, more than any other establishment on Hilton Head Island. The restaurant was featured in Wine Spectator magazine as having one of the top 100 wine lists in the entire country. “No one’s going to open a $60 bottle of wine and sell it by the glass,” Spratling said.
“Except us,” said Caron.

And cocktails have always received the same kind of commitment and attention to detail. Where many establishments choose to use pre-made or bottled infusions in their cocktails, WiseGuys creates their flavor infusions on site. “A lot of places are using syrups and stuff like that, whereas we’re using the real product. The flavor stays in the liquor. When we serve pineapple vodka, we’ve infused real pineapple in there,” Spratling said.

“By infusing [the drinks] ourselves, we get exactly the flavor we want,” added Caron.
It’s this commitment to quality and taking care of the details that has allowed WiseGuys to flourish as a key cocktail lounge and small plate restaurant for years. When the space behind their original lounge opened, the Southeast Entertainment Restaurant Group saw the opportunity to expand WiseGuys into the realm of full entrées and top quality steaks.

The Ultimate Steak Experience
From acquisition to presentation, WiseGuys has paid attention to every detail to create a successful steakhouse. “I like to think we’re setting a standard,” Caron said.
WiseGuys intends to keep doing that. All steaks are aged for at least 28 days and delivered daily from Chicago stockyards. Spratling puts in orders for the cuts he wants by 10 a.m. each day and receives exactly what he needs the following day. That sourcing is an ongoing process, Spratling said. “We think that we’ve hit the right spot for most diners’ palates.”

Each steak is prepared on a Montague broiler, which makes WiseGuys the only establishment on Hilton Head Island that offers that level of preparation for its steaks. Each cut of steak is seared to 600 degrees and finished in a broiler where it’s heated to 1800 degrees, creating a nice crusty but delicate finish to the meat, which, according to Spratling, is “just the way a steak should be cooked.”

“It really gives us the ability to seal in all the flavors,” Caron added.
From the hearty 22-ounce cowboy rib eye to the petite filet, featuring a variety of bone-in cuts to maximize quality and flavor as well as bone-out cuts are available to satisfy appetites of all sizes. The 32-ounce hand-carved bone-in prime rib will satiate the hungriest diner.

And for those who are looking for a red meat alternative, their crispy scored whole flounder is one delicious option. Delicately scored skin and elegantly placed with an orange and ginger glaze alongside a warm Thai noodle salad tail, it’s a culinary masterpiece, almost too beautiful to eat.

Something For Everyone
With their great steak lineup and more, WiseGuys literally has something for everyone who wants to have a great dining experience. Enjoy some of the finest steaks on Hilton Head or come by and enjoy their cocktail lounge with all time favorites from the original small plates menu. With $10 never-ending glasses of champagne and $3 bar bites for Ladies Night on Wednesdays, there’s always an interesting mix of visitors and locals enjoying the atmosphere.

“We like to think we’re a contemporary twist on the traditional steakhouse,” Caron said. Judging by everything they have to offer, it’s safe to say WiseGuys has achieved that.

WiseGuys Steakhouse is located at 1513 Main Street in the Main Street Village. For
more information visit wiseguyshhi.com or call (843) 842-8866.

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