Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

June 29, 2012 11:52 AM

Restaurants: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff

The Inn at Palmetto Bluff

476 Mount Pelia Road
Palmetto Bluff, SC 29910
Reservations 866-706-6565
Debbie and I visited The Palmetto Bluff Inn in May as part of our honeymoon.

The Inn is a cluster of cottages ranging from one to five bedrooms, with several central buildings used for restaurants and other services, all consistent with a water-located facility.

There is also a community of individually-owned homes on the some 20,000 acres that make up the Inn and its confines.

The Inn is accessed by air either through Charleston, SC, or Savannah, GA. The drive from Savannah is shorter, but the planes that fly there, at least from D.C., are smaller.

With the exception of one lunch during a day trip to Savannah, we ate all of our meals at one of the four restaurants located at the Inn. Each of the restaurants is located in a different building.

Breakfast and lunch are served at Buffalos, lunch is served at the May Grill in the golf club. Dinner is served at the River House and the Canoe Club.


This restaurant is located on the “Square,” across the street from the main administration building of the Inn. There is an outdoor patio that seats 32 at tables of four. There is a screened-in porch that has five four-person tables. There are also a large number of tables inside the restaurant. The indoor restaurant area also includes a bakery area with truly enticing sweets.

We had breakfast here each day and lunch on all but two of the days we were there.

The menu is diverse to say the least. There are a variety of hashes, including one called “Daised & Confused” – your choice of cheddar, spinach, country ham, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and mushrooms, topped off with Hollan “Daise.”

There are also a variety of flapjacks, waffles, and, of course, grits. And, if you are looking for something less dramatic, you can order home-smoked salmon and a bagel.

My favorite dish was called Citrus Brulee - a half grapefruit and a half orange, covered with Turbinado sugar and blueberries. The sugar is caramelized. They must use a blow torch, because the sugar is clear, but the grapefruit and orange segments are still chilled.

You can basically order whatever you like. So our other treats ranged from fried egg whites, to a seasonal fruit plate, to toasted bagels, to toast.

For lunch we had shrimp and chicken gumbo with okra and andouille sausage, a turkey club, and buffalo burgers with pimento cheese, applewood bacon slaw and house pick-a-pepper.

And oh yes, Kettle Chips.

May River Grill

The Grill sits by the side of the golf course. As you enter the restaurant there is a bar with stools to the right and a reasonably sized dining room to the left. There is an outside veranda with two tables of four. There is also a screened-in porch that has another two tables of four.

The Grill’s veranda sits on the golf course, so you can watch players complete the 18th hole.

The menu is the simplest of the four restaurants. It is basically salads, sandwiches, and soups.

Debbie had a half chicken salad sandwich and a lettuce salad. I had a half corn beef sandwich and Caesar salad.

One item on the menu that jumped out was a Hot Dog wrapped in Applewood Bacon with White Cheddar Cheese on a Warm Potato roll.

River House

This is the most formal dining room at the Palmetto Bluff and is located in the administration building.

You will be told, if you ask, that dress for men is slacks and nice shirt. Most were dressed that way, with a few wearing sport coats. However, there were also folks in the dining room in shorts and shirts.

Just before entering the dining room there is an area with a small bar and a few tables where food is also served.

The main dining room has 54 seats in 2s, 4s, and 6s. A partial wall at one end separates a small area from the rest of the room. There is also a closed veranda. On one of the nights we were there that area was organized into two tables of 8. There is an open porch.

Debbie and I ate at River House twice. Between us, we had and shared the following appetizers:

- Chilled Local Blue Crab Salad with Fried Green Tomatoes, Citrus House Made Yogurt

- Chopped Baby Lettuce, pickled Red onion, confit Tomato, Humboldt Fog, and Red Wine Vinaigrette

- Melted Vidalia Onion Bisque, Benton’s Bacon Gougeres, with Charred Rosemary Oil

- Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, Upland Cress, Pine Nut Vinaigrette, and Shallots

For our Main courses we had:

- Pan Seared Wahoo with String Bean Cassoulet, local shrimp, fennel Pollen Croutons

- Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Braised Collard Greens, Flat Creek Cheddar Mac and Cheese, House made Hot Sauce

- Grilled Cap of Rib Eye Potato Puree, Baby Arugula, Pickled Pearl Onions, Crispy Maitake Mushroom

- Honey Glazed Duckling, Braised Greens, Duck Fat Potatoes.

The service was excellent, but intensive.

Canoe Club

This restaurant is located on the second floor of a large boat house in which dozens of canoes are kept. It overlooks the May River. It is limited to members of the Club and guests at Palmetto Bluffs.

In the main dining room there are eleven four tops. There is an area that is separated from the rest of the dining room by a wood and glass wall. It seats two tables of six. There is a screened-in porch that has seven four-tops.

We also had two dinners in this restaurant. Our appetizers included - Marinated Ahi Tuna, Confetti Sushi Rice, Seaweed Salad, Soy, and sandied Sesame Seeds, Caesar Salad – Hearts of Romaine, Creamy Dressing, White Anchovies, Focaccia Croutons, Parmesan Tuile, and Corn Bisque, Roasted Corn and Basil Oil.

Our main courses included – Citrus & Rosemary Poulet Rouge; Chermoula Marinated swordfish; May River Shrimp Scampi, Toasted Garlic, Linguine & Crispy Bread Crumbs, Lemon Butter; Kobe Beef Burger, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Boursin Cheese, Romaine, Vine Ripened Tomatoes served with Fries.

Sides are ordered separately and we ate Buttermilk Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes, Succotash and Steamed Broccoli.

We also chose several sauces, including, Red Wine Jus, Roast Shallot and Lemon Vinaigrette, Pickled Green Tomato Beurre Blanc.

Each dinner is able to build his or her own dessert. The list of options includes various ice creams, several cakes or cheese cakes, and a variety of toppings, including white chocolate shavings, Oreo pieces, burnt marshmallow, or plain old warm fudge.

The service in all of the Palmento Bluff Inn restaurants was first rate.

The men’s rooms available to diners in all of the restaurants tended to be institutional and adequate for the purpose.

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