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Wednesday, Oct. 03, 2012

Gut reaction for Oct. 4, 2012

Landing down-home tastes with unfettered view

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Graham’s Landing is at 5225 U.S. 17 Business in Murrells Inlet, and the number is 947-0520. It’s open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Saturdays.


Setting the Table

Inside Graham’s Landing, a new restaurant at the extreme south end of the Murrells Inlet waterfront where Cedar Hill Landing Restaurant & Oyster Roast used to be, the décor is rustic like a comfortable fish camp.

A mixture of woods comprises the earth-toned color scheme, which is accented by vintage fishing and boating equipment. About half the interior is a dining area with booths and tables, while at the rear is a roomy bar backed by picture windows overlooking a wild and natural view of the inlet.

Outside, a long covered deck runs along one side of the building, and a large elevated deck with umbrella-topped tables faces the water. Several tables - both inside and out - are equipped with holes where oyster buckets can be placed.

Greg Plummer and his son, Graham Plummer, are the owners of Graham’s Landing. Steve Martin was the opening executive chef, but a nasty fall in the walk-in cooler has him sidelined. Chef Henry Frieser Mills and Brandon Wyatt are now executing meals.

Down the Hatch

I have visited twice: the first time for South Carolina cluster oysters, and the second time for the lunchtime Blue Plate Special, Fried Pickles and the Deluxe Burger.

Steaming buckets of South Carolina cluster oysters go for $9, and they’re served with melted butter, lemon wedges and cocktail sauce. The first oysters of the season aren’t huge, but they have a wonderful salty brine flavor.

Graham’s Landing also uses single select South Carolina oysters for platefuls of Oysters Rockefeller ($8 for six, $13 for a dozen) in a creamy mixture of spinach, Parmesan cheese and applewood smoked bacon.

More appetizers ($7-$15) include Lump Crab Cake served with Louisiana rémoulade and Parmesan-breaded Calamari fried with mild pepper rings and served with house-made marinara.

We enjoyed Fried Pickles, which are disk-shaped and served with two dipping sauces – Ranch dressing and rémoulade – and pimento cheese. A hot fried pickle spread with pimento cheese is a new taste treat for my son and me, and we heartily approve.

The chefs say She-Crab Soup and Seafood Gumbo ($5-$7) have become menu standouts, and three salads include Caesar, Wilted Spinach with warm sweet and sour bacon dressing, and Chopped Salad with many tasty morsels.

Sandwiches ($8-$11) come with Tater Tots or fries and coleslaw with choices including seafood Po’ Boys; Sliced Pork Loin with creamy horseradish, slaw and Napa cabbage; Cheesesteaks, Andouille Sausage with peppers and onions on Cuban Bread; a pressed Classic Cuban; French Dip; and Fish Tacos containing flounder, salmon or tuna. Big Green Egg smokers are used to slowly cook pork roasts that are pulled and served on soft buns.

Graham’s Landing has Seafood Baskets – they’re $10-$12 – and four sandwiches that can be burgers or chicken for $7-$8 including Mushroom/Swiss, Bacon/Cheddar and the Deluxe with sautéed mushrooms, fried onions, jalapenos, Cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce.

My son tried the Deluxe Burger, and even though he hadn’t eaten breakfast and was extremely hungry, he could eat only about half of it because it was so big.

From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays there are regularly featured Blue Plate Specials for $8-$10 that each come with side dishes:

Monday – One-fourth Fried Chicken

Tuesday – Smoked Pork Plate

Wednesday – Pileau (rice with smoked sausage and chicken)

Thursday – Fried Shrimp

Friday – Fried Fish

I had the Fried Chicken and enjoyed the piping hot leg and thigh with delightfully crispy crusts. It came with a big soft square of sweet cornbread, Tater Tots and slaw.

Seafood entrees, served from 5-10 p.m., are $13-$25 and come with salad, vegetable and a choice of potato or grit cake. They include the fish of the day that can be pan-seared, blackened or chargrilled before it is finished with a choice of lobster sauce, white wine tomato caper sauce or pecan butter meunière. Stuffed Shrimp are filled with crabmeat, Shrimp and Grits are in Andouille Cream over cream cheese grits, and Atlantic Salmon is grilled, topped with fried onions and served with Dijon cream.

Also available after 5 p.m. are Hand-cut Rib eyes, Roasted Chicken, Chicken Piccata, local Clams in White Sauce or Marinara, Shrimp Scampi, Flounder Française, Pasta Marinara and Fettuccine Alfredo.

Check, please

Desserts are $6 each and sized to share, with choices including Ella’s Southern Pound Cake that’s made with pecans and bourbon, Chocolate Tower Cake and Key Lime Pie.

Happy Hour is daily from 4-6:30 p.m. when Pabst Blue Ribbon is $2, other domestic beers are $2.50 and house drinks are $3.50.

Becky Billingsley serves fresh restaurant news daily at
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