1 Hudson Rd
Hilton Head Isle, SC
Rolling along on our roadtrip, we finally reached our destination – Hilton Head, South Carolina a resort town by the sea. And since Hilton Head is by the sea, there are no shortage of seafood joints of various stripes. Hudson’s is one such seafood joint, and it fits somewhere between a seaside clam shack and a Chili’s, if you can picture such a place. We arrived at Hudson’s with a group of 14 – and before being seated we hung around on the seaside patio, where a man with an acoustic guitar was playing Jimmy Buffet cover songs. Next to the outdoor patio, and flanking an outdoor bar, was a gigantic pile of clamshells (below). So I guess you could say the place was a bit touristy. But as tourists, who are we to complain, especially as we were treated to a lovely sea-side sunset.
The interior of the restaurant continued the nautical theme, as did the menu, which was printed to look like a newspaper. We figured this place, if anywhere, was going to have some good seafood, so we decided to go all out and order nothing that could be found on land (a rule disobeyed by other members of the party – who were treated to some lackluster steaks). Before we ordered, several free baskets of hush puppies were placed on the table, which we quickly devoured. We started off with Seafood Gumbo ($4.25) and a Crab Cake (below, $10.99). Both appetizers were good, with the gumbo being pleasantly richer and spicier than expected. However, for 10.99 we expected the crab-cake to have less veggie filler and more crab. For our mains we ordered Broiled Shrimp ($17.50) and Stuffed Flounder ($20.99). both the shrimp and fish were obviously fresh, and were well cooked, but we found both to be too lightly seasoned. The little plastic cups of condiments were also a bit out of line with the price point.
Of our meal, the gumbo was a standout, as was the house-made Key Lime Pie ($6.50), which was a great way to finish the night. Service was actually very good, and it seemed that they had experienced their share of 10+ crowds before. The food was decent, but we found it all to be a bit overpriced. But in the end, the real reason you come to place like Hudson’s is not the haute cuisine. As they say in real estate, location is key, and that is probably where Hudson’s shines the most. You’re paying a premium for the ocean views and the inimitable mountain of clamshells!