Lunch Bunch After 5 Goes to Breakwater Restaurant

September 2, 2010

The Lunch Bunch had the pleasure of dining at Breakwater Restaurant for a savory dinner and elegant experience at the upscale, but reasonably priced downtown bistro.  We enjoyed a private, early evening meal in the distinguished Wine Room, where J.C., our server delivered five-star hospitality and cuisine from the renowned local menu.

So last week it was breakfast, and this week, supper? Is the Lunch Bunch growing tired of the midday meal? Blasphemy! We’ve just opted for alternative times of day, since some restaurants in town aren’t exposed to the lunch crowd, like Breakwater.  Gary and Donna Lang and Beth Shaw, owners of Breakwater graciously invited the Lunch Bunch for a casual and memorable meal, so we kindly accepted.

The Lunch Bunch After 5: (From Left) Wendy Pollitzer, Elizabeth Harding, Christina Byrne, Heather Bruner, Kim Harding Gallant and April Ackerman

Donna Lang, Director of the Dining Room and Events escorted the Lunch Bunch into the Wine Room. Always cordial and accommodating, Donna welcomed the six of us and offered her assistance throughout the evening.

Executive Chefs Gary Lang and Beth Shaw immediately surprised us with two Southern Sampler Platters, clever teasers of any four tapas of your choice listed on the menu.  Breakwater offered the Lunch Bunch eight delightful and tasty selections of Fried Shrimp and Oysters, Cured Salmon, Smoked Duck, Pickled Shrimp, Pimento Cheese, a Crab Stack and the Shrimp Salad.

The Must-Have’s from the Sampler Platters are (drum roll please) the infamous Pimento Cheese served with flatbread crackers and the Lowcountry Pickled Shrimp made with the traditional recipe of red onions, lemons, capers and local shrimp. These two really stood out among the Lunch Bunchers. And, they’re both favorites among the regulars as well! How do I know this? I’m a regular, of course!

It was time to choose our entrees from the menu. Elizabeth and I knew we were in the mood for red meat, so we agreed to share a bottle of wine. J.C. brought tasters of two fine Cabernets. We chose the Earthquake Cabernet from Lodi, California, a bold and intense red that was just as smooth as it was balanced.

Elizabeth started with a seasonal summer salad that featured local speckled butterbeans, corn and tomatoes marinated in lemon zest, evoo and sherry vinegar served over a toasted French Baguette.  The salad accompanied her entrée, the Ancho Chili Grilled NY Strip Medallions, hand trimmed and served with buttermilk-mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and an espresso mushroom sauce.

I ordered the Fire Grilled Filet Mignon, an 8 oz. barrel cut filet topped with caramelized onions and gorgonzola and served on top of rosemary grits and seasonal vegetables with a truffle demi glace.

Elizabeth and I were quite satisfied with our meat selections. The Earthquake Cabernet complemented both entrees nicely and was the perfect addition to the aromatic dishes.

Christina and Kim opted for items from the Tapas menu.  They chose Tuna Tartare, lime, soy and chili marinated sushi tuna served with an avocado salad, wasabi aioli, soy syrup and wanton crisps; the Drunken Duck Breast, pan seared and served with a mushroom risotto, a cherry brandy demi and drunken cherries; and lastly, the Black Pepper Seared Beef Carpaccio, a seared encrusted NY Strip served with Barefoot Farms arugula, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and truffle pecorino.  Christina and Kim were overly pleased with their appetizers, large enough to be considered meals, in fact!

Heather opted for the Iceberg Wedge Salad that was a prelude to her entrée, the Blackened Mahi.  The Wedge of cold, crisp lettuce is topped with chopped bacon, Carolina sweet onions, tomatoes and Breakwater’s signature homemade blue cheese dressing. Her Mahi was local, of course, and was served with buttermilk-mashed potatoes, spinach and crab beurre creole. Heather, like the rest of us, was also very delighted with her choices.

And then, there was April, predictable April. As she requested dressing for her Caesar Salad with Shaved Country Ham, the table chuckled when she was denied Honey Mustard.  J.C., our server, jokingly responded, “This isn’t Outback.”  If I was at all concerned that this would offend April, I hope you know I wouldn’t write it. But April laughs, and confidently defends her conservative palette, “Hey, I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like. It works.”

Well April fooled all of us. She won for Favorite Dish for the entire table! She opted for the Special Fresh Catch of the Day, a corn meal crusted pan-fried Catfish served over Carolina Rice with creole succotash. Oh my! We all sampled her plate and were equally convinced that it was the best thing we’d put in our mouths all night. Any time you’re presented with a Special that the Chef has specifically prepared for the evening, you’ve got to know that it is his or her unique creation for which they’ve given terrific attention to detail. And this was no different. Chefs Shaw and Lang hit the ball out of the park with this entrée!

We finished off the evening with a dessert sampler of Cappuccino Crème Brulee, a Key Lime Panna Cotta and a Pecan Tart.  How we had any room at all for these delicious sweets, I’ve no idea; but, we ate each and every one with as much zest as we did with the appetizer samplers! These desserts were absolutely great and served with such panache! What an end to an incredible experience!

When Donna, Gary and Beth invited the Lunch Bunch to dinner, we were anxious and excited. When we finished our meal, we were ecstatic, like a child on Christmas Day.  When all the gifts are unwrapped, the family sits around and enjoys each other’s smiles. When we ate our last bite, we sat around for quite some time and took pleasure in the moment.

The staff at Breakwater is exceptional!  They are professional, courteous and eager to deliver a quality product. In fact, they truly believe in their product, and it shows!

I really can’t say enough about the superior service Breakwater demands of their employees.  And, it’s delivered so effortlessly!  The ambiance at Breakwater is relaxed and welcoming.  It is truly an indigenous favorite, encompassing sustainable seafood and produce from local farmers, growers and fishermen. It is, in fact, on it’s way to becoming a Lowcountry Institution!

Thank you Donna, Gary, Beth, Taylor, J.C. and Kendra for a perfectly marvelous affair! We thoroughly enjoyed the cuisine and were appreciative of your Southern Hospitality!

About Wendy

Wendy Pollitzer is a versatile writer living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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"I love Wendy Pollitzer’s writing. Her instincts are remarkable, her nose for truth infallible. I can’t pick up a journal or magazine that she’s written for without going straight to the table of contents in search of her piece. What I think is so interesting about her work is that she really believes in what she’s doing, in getting it right. She’s very, very good. "— Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides, South of Broad) 1945-2016