Lowcountry Food Scene

MA-Management-Team-021717Husband and wife team Tony and Becky Fazzini agree customer service and hospitality have always been a cornerstone of their restaurant Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana. “We believe people dine out to create memories. That is why we’re all about knowing your name, knowing your favorite wine, your favorite table and meeting expectations. I met a gentleman fifteen years ago who was a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Culinary Institute of America named Walter Conti. Walt said if you can implement these four things, your restaurant will be successful: quality food, quality service, high-end hospitality, and warm and inviting. You want your guests to be treated royally and every detail attended to…that is why Becky is the boss!” says Tony, whose parents came from Ascoli-Piceno in the Marche and Sciacca in Sicily – he is third-generation Italian. They rely on their team of professionals to make sure everything is as perfect as they can make it.

The co-owners of Il Carpaccio Maurizio Colla and Eddie Campos go back more than 20 years to when they both worked at the elegant Italian restaurant, Neno. Colla was the maître d’ and Campos was the chef. When Neno closed, they decided to open their own restaurant in 2001 and so Il Carpaccio was born. Eddie continues to be in charge of the kitchen, and Maurizio is running the front with their dedicated and attentive staff, some of whom have been at Il Carpaccio from the beginning.

Question: Michael Anthony’s has been a Hilton Head Island institution for more than 14 years. What is the secret? 

Answer: Hospitality. We have always strived to serve the highest quality product with the most professional service possible, but we believe the real secret to success is hospitality. Being able to serve all types of guests and make each one feel comfortable and welcomed is what we specialize in.

The flavor of the pecan is indescribably good — this rich, mildly sweet, slightly crunchy, oval-shaped nut is even better when lightly toasted, and it’s quite addictive. Of course, the minute this delicacy was discovered by European explorers foraging here, they whisked pecans off to the West Indies and Europe. As legend has it, it was delicious enough for Founding Father and President George Washington, who at his Mount Vernon estate planted a pecan sapling given to him as a gift by President Thomas Jefferson, also an avid gardener. This gift was ideal, as I imagine the first president was hard to shop for.

“Eat Here or We Both Starve” reads the sign inside Harold’s Diner, a no-frills diner at the intersection of William Hilton Parkway and Singleton Road - an institution since 1974. It’s where loyal customers are constantly vying for spots at the busy counter, fillin out their own order sheets. Names are cried out from the cramped kitchen and orders of towering, mouth-watering burgers are served.

The Oyster Bar restaurant in Old Town Bluffton is adding sushi and sashimi to its menu, courtesy of Bluffton’s Fujiyama restaurant. The Oyster Bar’s owner, Jimmy Soules, teamed up with Fujiyama owner Kevin Chen to create what Soules describes as “a true raw bar.”

What to look for when buying fish? The eyes should be clear, the flesh should be firm and it should smell like clean water with a touch of cucumber - the same sort of criteria as a blind date! Restaurants are really the best venues to try out different types of fish. They offer so many more types of fish than you would typically be able to find at the market and they have access to the most fresh and tastiest choices.

The brick interior walls and wooden beams exude the feel of a cozy speakeasy, where cocktails, fine wines and small plates soothe the palate and the soul. Speakeasies disappeared after Prohibition ended in 1933, but the term just seems to suit the ambiance of Twisted Cork Cocktail & Wine Bar on Hilton Head Island, which Melissa Roy opened in August.