On Friday, my family and I were in good spirits. It was a great day, beginning of the weekend, and we hadn’t gone out to eat and splurge in a while. While we travel and camp quite a bit, there is still much to discover in our very own Vacationland aka The Low Country, SC.
We decided to eat at the Carolina Crab Company! Sounds great, right? It did to us, as well!
The History behind the Carolina Crab Company is endearing and funny. On their website they have listed this…
“The not-so-true story of Carolina Crab Company…
With New England Blood pumping through her veins and Irish sweat dripping down her face, Diane Reilley spent the 80’s and 90’s slaving away in the kitchen just to keep her litter of 7 from starving. She passed her culinary skills down to each child including her world famous meatloaf, Christmas morning eggs, and her melt-all-over-your-face mac ‘n cheese. There were only two things this woman wouldn’t dare to cook with… tomatoes and crabs. Feeling empty and incomplete, her sons went on a quest to find someone who would provide tomatoes or crabs at the high standard at which every other dish had been prepared for them. In 2010, the boys began training under a legendary Indian and tomato farmer, along with a crab minded protégé with a knack for packing bellies and smacking outlaws. In 2014 the Carolina Crab Company was born. Unfortunately they had no success with the tomatoes.”
I do so enjoy a ripe sense of humor.
I called them to see if we would need a reservation. The young lady who answered was a little convoluted in her reply. I simply asked if we would need a reservation to dine that evening. She replied with “No” and I asked if we could then just “show up” and she told me that there was no way they could seat us because they were full between 6 and 830. OK. We decided we would go to another restaurant we have been to a couple of times on Hilton Head Island.
Plot Twist!!! We enjoy Black Marlin restaurant on Hilton Head Island. It’s tucked away down a sleepy little street, past Haig Point Embarkation (Boat ramp). It’s among some shops, one other restaurant, and some condos on the water. We decided we would eat there. We knew we could do a walk up, and order drinks at the Tiki Bar if there was a wait.
Would you believe that the Carolina Crab Company was “The other restaurant” and we had never paid any attention??? So as we are walking up…I just went ahead and asked the hostess “How long is the wait?” and her reply???? “About ten minutes” So we decided to roll the dice after all and dine there! I was excited! I don’t know if the person I spoke to on the phone was confused. Maybe she was irritated with her job. Maybe she’s a psychotic loon. I prefer to think maybe between the time I called and we arrived, there was a large party who cancelled. Let us just go with that.
So we did get seated quickly. We had an adorable waitress. She was attentive enough without us feeling ignored or pestered. We ordered our drinks. They had a beer that Husband liked. I ordered a coconut lemonade concoction that I thought was less than stellar. *But full disclosure, Grown Up drinks always taste like the Bartender watered the liquor down, to me. I use to ask Mark to “Taste this!” and he nearly always thought “it” tasted as it should.* We enjoyed ourselves waiting for our Apps to arrive. While it was extremely busy, it wasn’t so loud that we couldn’t have a conversation. It was comfortable.
We ordered our Apps. Fried Clams and Gator Bites. We were pleasantly surprised by how MUCH they actually sent out to us. And they were GOOOOD!!! We had decided on a Market Priced seafood boil. It came with one whole lobster, many crab claws, one crab leg cluster, Shrimp, Muscles, Clams, Oysters on top of the typical Low Country Boil ingredients i.e. corn on the cob, sausage, potatoes.
It looked magnificent! While its price tag was on the steep side (for what we normally pay for seafood in these parts) it did have enough to feed 4 to 6 people! It could easily feed 4, if you didn’t bother with the sausage, potatoes and corn!
The kid ordered her normal “Calamari” which, again, came in a huge quantity! It was cooked nicely and tasted great!
Back to the big bucket of food we were going to share. What can I say? Live and Learn. The lobster was below mediocre. The crab cluster and crab legs were overcooked and dry. The peel and eat shrimp were over cooked. The clams, muscles and oysters were “ok”.
This beautiful bucket of food was so disappointing! If we were “Regulars” or if this wasn’t “vacationland” I might have even sent it back. But it was either the most expensive meal or next to the most expensive meal on the menu and I knew it would appear we were trying to “Get Out of Paying” Yep, we were just screwed.
The appetizers were so great, so yummy! And this is seafood restaurant called “Carolina Crab Company”. I just assumed they would know HOW to cook crabs!
(Another reason for me to have trust issues)
When our waitress asked, we told her it wasn’t very good. She said she would let the chef know. And she did! And he came out. He was very apologetic. He said he would take a few bucks off the bill, and he did. We saw the deduction. It was something. The bill was large, anyway. But the experience wasn’t all bad, and we weren’t looking to or expecting to have anything taken off, so there is that.
We ordered our desserts. My dessert was a Coconut Crème Pie Slice. It came to me still frozen in the middle. Ummm…Sara Lee? Or Marie Callenders? That was the Joke. I do understand that many restaurants prepare and freeze or order frozen deserts. I just expect them to take a minute and make them look like they were recently made.
We did learn that it may be better to recon a restaurant before ordering something of this magnitude. If we had gone to one of the restaurants we were familiar with, and ordered their version of this meal, and it had been a bust…I would have definitely said something to the manager. But we didn’t know this place, and didn’t know it’s capabilities. We assumed. We took for granted it would be “Fine”.
Maybe had we ordered normal individual plates, it would have been “Fine”. It definitely would have been easier for me to “Send it back” for being over cooked if it was a $20-$30 plate.
So I’m not going to say the whole experience was bad. I’m not going to say the food was all bad. But I will say that if my friends were going there, I would suggest they stick to something inexpensive and probably fried. They seem to know how to fry their food. Stay away from the Low Country Boil type pots.
We checked out Haig Point Embarkation (Boat ramp). It doesn’t look like an ideal place to put in PWCs. The waters did seem calmer than a few other boat ramps. We saw a PaddeBoarder come right in without any issues. It is pretty. I got a few decent snaps on my phone.
Carolina Crab Company
Palmetto Bay Marina
86 Helmsman Way
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
The Carolina Crab Company is 6.9 miles from: