By Author Unknown | So, it all started with a dress. Something as simple as a brand new piece of fabric; weaved, cut, and stitched in all the right places, with a particular pattern and specific affect. I’m not one to make impulse buys, but this dress spoke to me from the hanger and from the moment I took the smooth, silky strands between my fingers, I knew that I was a goner. But as I drove home from the store with an absurd smile on my face, I realized that, yes, I had a great dress, but no good reason to wear it, at least not anytime soon.
Enter, fancy date night. I’d been lamenting to Mr. Foodie for weeks on end that I just wish I had a reason to wear it. A good reason; I’m not going to wear it along with my favorite heals to simply clean the house or to go grocery shopping. Mainly because grocery shopping with a toddler can be a messy affair, due to the insistence that she snack on a variety of the items in the cart, all before proceeding to the checkout counter of course. I wanted to feel something close to gorgeous for a change, more than mommy and wife. I wanted to feel purposefully put together, not haphazardly thrown. So finally, after not being able to tolerate my whining any longer, Mr. Foodie told me to get a sitter; it’s time for us to go out on the town.
Being decked out to the nines requires dining at an establishment that is developed to impart a particular aura. A place where date night is something done best, where celebratory occasions are par for the course and that has the elevated kind of food that makes me wish I didn’t have to follow up its’ performance in my own kitchen the following day.
Fast forward a week, to a nicely moody dining room on a cool Beaufort evening. A beautiful glass of Malbec and a fine plate of Brie with honey and peaches sitting in front of me.
Breakwater Restaurant & Bar. Date night at its finest, and where our story picks up.
Brie, in general, is beautiful, but can be a tricky cheese, with attributes not always appreciated, or simply paired poorly, and something that’s been an acquired taste for me. However, this particular plate is an excellent example of when all elements in a dish come together perfectly. Warmed to the perfect temperature, and paired with fleshy peaches and slightly sweet regional honey, each element helps to accentuate the others’ highlights. Sweet and savory rolled into one simple, yet yummy starter.
So busy am I in devouring the (what should be) guilt-filled plate of Brie, I almost neglect the overflowing bowl of mussels before Mr. Foodie. But the scent of Rosemary wafting in my direction gets my attention and I dig in with tiny fork and crusty bread. While I am pleased to find the mussel to be delightfully delicate and delicious, the Rosemary almost steals the show in its uninhibited simplicity and is such a delightful surprise. Harmoniously working in conjuncture with the white-wine based brothy-sauce and making me wish there was more bread to soak up its juicy goodness.
But there is little time to revel in the delightful starters, as the service is lightning fast at Breakwater, and our entrees arrive before we can wipe our mouths.
The main event includes Cornmeal Dusted Diver Scallops with Haricot Verts, cream corn risotto and Tabasco beurre blanc sauce, for me. For Mr. Foodie, a New York Strip Steak with Cheddar and Chive Spoon Bread and subbing Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes for seasonal veggies (because, despite my best efforts and constant eyerolls, vegetables are his kryptonite, apparently.)
Scallops are a delicacy to me, something that I don’t relish in often and try to save for special occasions in elevated establishments. Especially because scallops can go horribly, horribly wrong if not prepped properly before cooking. But, luckily for my hungry tummy, these Scallops are exactly what I was hoping for; a nice searing on the top to render an ever-so-slight crisp when bitten, and a nice, soft, tender inside. The scallops are delicately seasoned so that the inherent scallop taste shines through, and the supportive, contrasting flavor accents are found in the Tabasco Beurre Blanc. A warm, thin white-wine based sauce emulsified with butter and, in this instance, spiked with Tabasco, delivers a fine flavor punch counterpoint to the subtle scallops. The spiciness from the Tabasco hits you fast and leaves even faster, which just entices you to use the creamy risotto as a sponge to soak up more sauce. The Risotto, in all its porridgey glory, is the ying to the scallops yang, and with the understated corn, and evenly, carefully cooked rice granules makes me glad that I am hungry, because there will be no to-go boxes tonight. The final addition of Haricot Verts (thin, long green beans) is a lovely surprise and not only adds a nice bit of color to the dish, also add a nice crunch, too.
Mr. Foodie decides to take a preemptive strike against my inevitable thievery, and places a slice of NY strip on my place, complete with a smear of demi and mushroom butter. The steak itself is trimmed, seasoned, and seared all to the ideal degree, but when eaten in conjuncture with the demi and mushroom butter, it is as if every nuance you love about steak has been amplified by 100, imparting a complimenting richness. The mashed potatoes are creamy and moist, but the true intriguing wonder of the side dishes is the Cheddar and Chive Spoonbread. Spoonbread is a moist, soufflé cornmeal base dish that is common in parts of the South, but though I’ve been a quasi-southerner for many, many years, I must admit that I’ve never had spoonbread before. Yes, mortifying, I know. But I think that somehow it was preordained; that I was destined for my first bite of Spoonbread to be in Breakwater, for it is here that I have fallen in love with it. Much lighter than I was expecting, the uncharted territories of flavor in this dish is both exciting and rewarding. It immediately transports me to my favorite time of year, The Holidays, and makes me want to immediately replace my families’ customary stuffing /dressing dish for Spoonbread. Though I’m sure any attempt I make in my own home to replicate Breakwater’s flavorful rendition is sure to be unable to live up to my first experience. I love finding great, flavorful surprises when I eat, and Breakwater has done just that.
As our waitress clears away our handy-work, my sweet-tooth of a husband immediately asks for dessert menus. Ignoring my patent eye roll and observation that the “no-vegetables no-dessert” rule should exist outside of our home, he peruses the menu and perks up when the waitress mentions that have a special dessert in-house tonight, a Raspberry Sorbet. Before she can finish the “-bet” syllable of Sorbet, Mr. Foodie implores me with puppy dog eyes and says “but it’s Raspberry, and fruit is just as healthy as vegetables!” Knowing how to talk me into almost anything with his ridiculous yet funny comments, I relent, and in no time our dessert arrives.
While you know that I’m not much for desserts, I must say that I’m glad Mr. Foodie talked me into this one. Cool, light and refreshing, not sickly sweet nor too tart, and holding true to its palette-cleansing intentions, it is the perfect punctuation note to end the meal.
As I sit back from my dessert and assess the successful date night, I realized that it wasn’t just the dress that enticed me to want to feel fancy for a change. Good food can compliment you in just the same way that clothing or hairstyles or company can. It invites you in, asks you questions, forces you to look inward and helps you to reveal to yourself exactly how you are doing and what you really want. What you choose to eat can say a lot about you in the moment, and between the range of menu choices, the chic atmosphere and extensive wine options, Breakwater Restaurant helps you by taking you down a path and toward a destination that you didn’t realized you needed to be, fulfilling both body and mind.
And giving you a really good reason to wear your favorite outfit.