Food & Wine
Author: Clayton Rollinson
Six Tips for Getting the Best Restaurant Service
Restaurants have become more than a place to get food and drink. On Hilton Head Island, restaurants are often the entertainment for the night. Here’s the truth about who we are and what we do so that you can have the best experience possible when you dine out.
1. The vast majority of servers and cooks are not criminals or addicts. We are somebody’s daughter, son, brother, sister, mother or father, working to pay for life just like the rest of you. We make a greater effort than any other industry to ensure that you have a positive customer experience. We just ask to be shown the same respect as the nine-to-fiver who works in an office.
2. You will have a better time eating out if you are pleasant to serve. People who complain that their order is never right or that they always get poor customer service may need to consider how they are interacting with the server. If you change the whole dish, you are rolling the dice that the server is going to understand what you want. Then the server has to ring it in and explain it to the chef, who is going to try to explain it in multiple languages while cooking for multiple tables at the same time. Good luck!
3. Local ingredients are always available, but restaurants may not be using them. Food that is grown locally or regionally is always available, but many restaurants are afraid to change the menu based on the season for fear of alienating customers.
4. Not liking something is different from being allergic. Chefs and servers take allergies seriously. If something we may serve you will make you sick or kill you, let us know before you order since not all ingredients are listed on menu. For example, if you are allergic to onions, that limits what you can eat. Mirepoix, which consists of celery, carrots and onions, is one of the major foundations to all classic cooking. Almost all stocks, soups, braises, and sauces have seen mirepoix at some point. If you are allergic, we will find something for you to eat. If you just don’t like onions, be honest, and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
5. Everyone is friends with the owner or chef. If you are a friend, be polite. Staff members hear this 25 times a night, and they have no idea who is friends with whom.
6. Being nice and being a repeat customer will get you more than being rude and demanding. For example, you may get an extra course that the chef is testing or an extra cocktail or glass of wine that the server or bartender is excited to showcase.
The restaurant industry employs some of the hardest working, most passionate people you will ever encounter, all of whom want you to have a great night. We want you to come back, but like my grandmother always said, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
Chef Amanda Cecille Russ – Owner POMODORI
1 Quart Fresh Celeste or Black Mission Figs, washed, de-stemmed
Goat Cheese Crema (recipe follows)
Candied Pepper Syrup (recipe follows)
25-year Balsamic from The Oilerie
Goat Cheese Crema: 5 ounces goat cheese, 1/2 cup heavy cream
Beat together with a hand mixer, place in a pastry bag to pipe onto salad, keep refrigerated until 5 minutes before plating.
Candied Pepper Syrup
(I actually candy jalapenos by slicing them thinly and boiling them in a 3:1 ratio of sugar to apple cider vinegar, but this is a quick way of achieving the same flavor and consistency):
3 cups sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Place the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a hard boil for 4 minutes. Reduce heat and hold at a soft boil for 7 more minutes, stirring often. After the allotted time, check the consistency; you are looking for the sauce to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon or to become a “nappe.” It will thicken a bit more as it cools; you are striving for the consistency of honey. Allow to cool and place in a small plastic squeeze bottle. This syrup will hold in a cool dry place for up to 3 months.
Bedazzling the Plate:
Prepare all components of the salad. On a white plate, place a mound of quartered figs in the center, squeeze a diagonal pattern of the pepper syrup from end to end of the plate, allowing the light pink color of the syrup to streak the white plate. Pipe a small dollop of the goat cheese in the center of the figs and top with crushed pistachios. Drizzle the 25-year balsamic lightly over the plate and salad for contrasting color and depth. Serve as quickly as possible and enjoy the oohs and aahs of your guests.
The Reilley Group is proud to announce it’s newest addition, the Carolina Crab Company. This new restaurant is settled into a location that not only boasts potential, but is packed with a history of its own. Ask an islander where they are located (Palmetto Bay Marina), and you will undoubtedly be told that it is the old Captain Woody’s. Chef Josh offers a menu that is diverse, yet focused, with offerings suiting the name. From blue crab bites to Lowcountry boil, Seafood lovers will appreciate the fresh, consistent taste of every item offered. Join them for lunch or dinner seven days a week, or just stop by for a cocktail at their inside or outside bar.