Being in the vacation rental business, it’s not uncommon to work 7 days a week. During the busy rental season, which typically runs from mid-March through mid-October on Hilton Head Island, the work week for me is Monday–Saturday, although I’m on call 24/7, which leaves me Sunday for family, relaxing and adventures. A normal Sunday for my husband, fur baby & I includes a day on the boat cruising the intracoastal waterways and catching up with our boating buddies. Our “Sunday Funday” this past weekend started much later in the day than normal, so we decided to turn the trip into dinner by boat. So our little family set out for Shelter Cove Marina with empty bellies and no exact plan of where we would end up for dinner.
After docking our small wakeboarding boat between two large yachts within Shelter Cove Marina, we were off to find a pet-friendly establishment to quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger. After looking at menus at 2 restaurants, we ended up at Bistro 17. We knew they welcomed pets at their outside tables and after seeing Sea Bass on their specials board we decided to look no further (Sea Bass is one of our favorite types of fish). Let me go ahead and state, I am soo glad we picked this French influenced restaurant because everything about the meal was FANTASTIC!
We were immediately greeted by the owner, Jim. If you have lived on the island for a while, then you know Jim, or at least know of him. Jim has been on the island a long time and is a well respected chef and restauranteer. Thankfully there was not a wait, so we were promptly escorted to the perfect two-top table on the front patio overlooking the marina. Without hesitation, Jim immediately proceeded to get our fur-baby, Sienna, a bowl of water. Moments later, our server welcomed us and brought over treats for her as well. Bistro 17 goes beyond what I would call “pet-friendly”…you can tell they truly enjoy having patrons bring their 4-legged family members to dine with them. It was even mentioned they have a chicken and broccolini dish for dogs.
After hearing the specials and perusing the wine list, we decided to share the Scallops appetizer and we each ordered the Sea Bass special and a glass of wine. My taste buds & belly could not have been happier with the selections we made.
First, I ordered a glass of Rioja that was being featured on their wine list for the
day and my husband ordered a glass of Shiraz. I’m pretty sure my eyes popped when the glasses of wine were placed in front of us! I would venture to say Bistro 17 pours the most generous glasses of wine on the island. To make sure it wasn’t just us receiving this special treatment, I looked around at the other glasses of wine being served and their pours were just as healthy. It was nice to know we were getting our money’s worth on a glass of wine.
Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long for our appetizer to arrive… seared scallops with a mushroom & shallot cream sauce. There were 3 very large scallops perfectly seared and then topped with the heavenly sauce. To say this dish was delicious feels like an understatement. If licking the plate were appropriate, I would have done so with this dish. The scallops were beautifully browned and crisp on one side and the inside were still moist and tender. And the sauce was rich and absolutely indulgent. So we were off to a fantastic start…perfect view, healthy pours of wine and a winning appetizer selection!
Not long after finishing the scallops, our main course arrived. This dish was equally pleasing to the eyes as it was to the taste buds. It was evident the chef took great care to impress with not only his culinary skills but also his plating presentation. The perfectly seared filet of Sea Bass was topped with slices of sundried tomatoes and served over whipped potatoes and a bed of champagne beurre blanc. I think our entire conversation at this point consisted of “this is soo good”, “mmmmmm”, “yum”, “this sauce is incredible”, and “this fish is perfectly cooked”…basically the food was soo good it was all we could talk about.
Sadly we did not save room for dessert, although the selection was enticing. Overall, our dining experience at Bistro 17 could not have been better. We set out on a late day dinner by boat adventure and ended up with VERY happy bellies and a wonderful evening.
If you enjoy French inspired food, you must visit Bistro 17 during your next visit to Hilton Head Island. I promise you will not be disappointed by the location, full glasses of wine, friendly staff and beautifully prepared dishes. And if you happen to witness someone licking their plate at a table nearby… make sure to say “hi” as I’m not sure I’ll be able to resist next time!