Dynamic Dining at Two-Eleven Park Wine Bar & Bistro
Author: Jimmy Leppert
Like Hilton Head Island’s growth from its humble beginnings, Two Eleven Park Wine Bar and Bistro’s evolution has remained progressive and loyal to the essence that first made it unique twelve years ago. This longevity is unique and dynamic. Proprietor Billy Cubbage and Chef Richard Canestrari have been working side-by-side since the opening night, and much of the staff and management have tenure of at least four to six years. Everyone on the island knows Steve, the bartender (and entertainer). He is a unique connoisseur of fine wine, cuisine, and stories, making for spirited fun and fine dining. This loyalty to the exceptional dining experience reveals the expectation and appreciation of the professionalism required in each ingredient that makes Two Eleven Park a top-tier restaurant in the region.
Cubbage has created an environment that is conducive to innovative art, both on the plate and the walls. Canestrari’s cuisine draws inspiration from such cultures and ethnic backgrounds as Southern, Central American and Italian, to name a few. He views his cuisine as an art form, and this perspective aids his goal of “using food as a medium.” He elevates this mantra by marrying the flavors and accents gracefully and unobtrusively. This art is visually experienced with the elegant, yet straightforward presentation of the plates. A common sight in the restaurant is patrons admiring each other’s food and its uniqueness.
The elegant bistro cuisine keeps to Canestrari’s vision of constant, progressive evolution. Every night there are two fish specials: the Fresh Catch and the Chef’s Pasta. The catch is often a grilled fish such as grouper or sea bass. The pasta is pan sautéed fish over pasta tossed with olive oil and tomatoes. To keep dynamic, the specials are prepared in a different manner each night.
The mainstays of the menu include adventurous combinations starting with the Beer-Battered Lobster Tails appetizer. The entrées include the Cedar Plank Salmon, a local favorite. The salmon is oven-broiled over seasoned cedar chips and topped with brown sugar and a Dijon mustard glaze. The 16-oz bone-in veal chop is another favorite, with preparation changing nightly.
The desserts are heavenly and a must. The most popular is the Southern Mud Pie. The core is a blend of coffee and vanilla ice cream with a heath bar crunch mix, all in an Oreo cookie crust covered in fudge topping, sprinkled with slivered almonds and finished with caramel and whipped cream.
The art of the cuisine is mirrored, both literally and figuratively, in the restaurant. Numerous original paintings of well-known wine bottle labels line the walls. This focus on wine began when Cubbage and his wife, Bobbie, entered the wine business well before the opening of Two Eleven Park. Their experiences have brought a well-educated vision of fine wine to the restaurant. Two Eleven Park boasts a wine list of over 300 bottles and 75 by the glass.
April marks the annual fresh soft shell crab shipment to Two-Eleven Park. This migration of delicious soft shell crabs comes only once a year; and Canestrari’s innovative, culinary creations with the crabs are one of the more anticipated delicacies in the Lowcountry. (People have driven across state lines just to have a single meal.) One of the more famous recipes is tempura battered, deep-fried, tossed with buffalo sauce and topped with crumbled blue cheese. This is an absolute must if you enjoy soft shell crabs or are interested in tasting a fusion of one of the more traditional Southern fares with contemporary artistic expression.
Through this combination of exceptional service, fine wine, and superb cuisine, you are sure to have a memorable experience that will bring you back again and again.
See you at Two Eleven Park!
Two-Eleven Park Wine Bar & Bistro
211 Park Plaza