Monday, November 7, 2011

Plantation Cafe and Deli, Hilton Head

So many times in life we're forced to choose between quality and convenience, so I always feel a little surge of triumph when I find a place that combines the two - a place like Hilton Head's Plantation Cafe and Deli.

Located just across the road from the resort where we spent the week, this unassuming restaurant serves up breakfast and lunch daily. Sure it's a popular tourist haunt, but it's also favored by locals who prize its reasonably-priced hot breakfasts and the lunchtime Blue Plate specials. In fact, that Plantation Cafe provided such good food and value (along with some of the most pleasant servers I've ever met) that we returned a couple of times during our brief visit to the Island.

The decor and atmosphere are pretty standard as far as cafes go, but there are some interesting stained glass window pane decorations and a cozy-looking bar to give it a bit of character. What it may lack in presentation, it more than makes up for in the friendliness of the staff. On each visit, our server was the perfect combination of polite and playful.

Reuben Sandwich

So by now you must be wondering about the food! Well, between the four of us and our repeat visits, we were able to sample a few Blue Plates and some soup-and-salad combos. The real stand out item, however, was their She Crab Soup. Rich and creamy with some sizable lumps of crab, the soup was especially tasty when paired with a half turkey-and-Havarti sandwich on toasted rye bread (a bowl on its own won't be enough if you come hungry).

She-Crab Soup with a half Turkey and Havarti Sandwich on Rye

Another menu highlight was the pot roast, which Matt ordered on the recommendation of our extremely friendly server, but even more delicious was the sweet potato casserole that accompanied that meal. Since the side was technically Matt's, I only had a few bites but I can attest to the fact that it's both sweet and rich enough for dessert. I'm often on the fence about sweet potato casseroles - they can be very good or very, very bad - but this one might just have converted me (which makes me all the more frustrated that I can't figure out their secret!).

Pot Roast Blue Plate Special

In short, the Plantation Cafe isn't high-flown cuisine, and it might not impress a date (unless they really like good value and/or She-Crab Soup) but it's a good, solid restaurant, serving good, solid food - enough to earn our repeat business during our all-too brief stay on the Island. I'm sure it will a be a stop on our itinerary if we ever return!

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