Friday, September 14, 2012

Jekyll Island Food Disappointing - Some Gems

Shrimp Creole - Driftwood Bistro
When I am on vacation, one of the main things I get excited about is trying new food that is authentic to the region. While I enjoyed some of the dishes I tried during my recent trip to Jekyll Island, Ga., there was nothing special or unique about the cuisine. And, some of the restaurants did not live up to their hype. 

For example, Driftwood Bistro is the third highest rated Jekyll Island restaurant on TripAdvisor. I am not sure why that is. Most of the food was not up to par. We tried the Shrimp Creole and the Wild Georgia Shrimp Platter with fried okra (at $10.99 each for petite platters this is a pretty good deal). On the Shrimp Platter, we received only a few small, overcooked shrimp. The fried okra, however, was cooked perfectly with its light and airy cornmeal breading. The Shrimp Creole was also disappointing: it tasted like it was made from canned tomatoes and didn't have strong flavors or spicing. Perhaps I am spoiled by authentic creole dishes from New Orleans.

We had another less-than-stellar experience at Latitude 31 restaurant in Jekyll Island. While our seafood was cooked correctly, the white-tablecloth atmosphere and prices ($21-$30 for dinner entrees) do not match the offerings and service. We truly enjoyed the Snapper special with the most amazing garlic mashed potatoes. I didn't think the snapper needed the coating of breading and oil. Just honor the fish, and grill and season it correctly. The "Surf and Surf" with oysters and Georgia shrimp was flavored well and cooked right, it was just priced high at $25, for the amount served. 

Cornmeal Grouper - Courtyard Cafe
Fortunately, we were saved by the food served at the Courtyard at Crane, at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. For lunch, we ordered the Grouper with Tomato and Basil Topping, accompanied by Sweet Potato Fries for $12.95. The fish portion was very small, but it was cooked perfectly and I really enjoyed the bruschetta-style topping. The Crab and Shrimp Croissant Sandwich for $13.95 was okay, but did not have great or unique flavoring. 

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