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Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012

Gut reaction for Nov. 15, 2012

Resort grill’s tasty cuisine no longer a secret

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The Red Parrot Ocean Bar and Grill is inside The Breakers Resort at 2006 N. Ocean Blvd. in Myrtle Beach. Its winter hours are 4-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, with the bar staying open later. On Fridays and Saturdays the kitchen is open until 10 p.m. The phone number is 282-1844, and parking is available across Ocean Boulevard at the Breakers parking garage.

Setting the Table

Tucked at street level at the rear of the north tower, facing oceanfront inside Breakers Myrtle Beach Resort, is a restaurant called Red Parrot Ocean Bar & Grill where extraordinarily delicious food is served for economical prices.

The elevation of the cuisine at Red Parrot came recently, after the resort hired Executive Chef Ryan Coffindaffer to revamp its food services, which include banquets.

A former National Guard PFC and graduate of the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts, Coffindaffer has worked in high profile culinary positions. Locally he has held positions as sous-chef, executive sous-chef, executive chef, chef de cuisine and general manager at Divine Fish House, Divine Prime, Roy and Sid’s, the Radisson Plaza Hotel, the Member’s Club at Grande Dunes and Ailsa Pub. In Colorado, he was chef de cuisine at the Isle Capri Casino in Blackhawk.

In addition to his extensive work experience, Chef Coffindaffer has earned three silver medals in certified American Culinary Federation competitions, works for charitable causes such as the March of Dimes and the local National Guard and returns to Colorado each summer to help earn donations for the ACF Colorado Chefs Education Fund at the Telluride Bluegrass & Country Music Festival.

The Red Parrot is a comfortable one-room restaurant with a pirate décor that the chef says is going to be remodeled this winter.

Down the Hatch

With the new Red Parrot menu locals and visitors are finding it tastefully evident Chef Coffidaffer is all about sustainable seafood and farm-to-market practices.

It isn’t that the menu is now all fancified – there are still Loaded Nachos and Wings, but additions and tweaks have made for impressive flavors. Appetizers ($6-$14.50) include Meatball Lollipops stuffed with mozzarella in a pool of fresh marinara; and Kettle Chips topped with pimento cheese sauce, blue cheese and scallions. During Happy Hour (4-7 p.m.) there are 50-cent Sliders of the Day (the day we visited they were Philly Cheese Steak) and $5 Barbecue Nachos or Shrimp Po’ Boy Tacos.

A friend and I sampled the meatballs, kettle chips, sliders, and shrimp tacos, as well as creamy Bacon and Spinach Dip, and were impressed with each. Portion sizes were generous, and in each case the food was fresh, hot and prepared with creative skill, as well as being attractively plated.

We didn’t try any soups or salads ($5-$11), but they include Hacker House Chili, French Onion Soup, Fried Oyster Cobb Salad, and House and Caesar salads.

Of course an oceanfront bar and grill has to serve sandwiches, and eight choices are $6-$9, from Carolina Pulled Pork that’s cooked in-house to a shaved sirloin Steak Sandwich, Hot Italian Sub and the Grilled Chicken BLTPC, where the “PC” is pimento cheese. All sandwiches come with fries and a dill pickle spear.

My friend and I ordered three entrees and, after trying so many appetizers we had plenty of food to take home to our spouses.

Entrees are $14-$19, and easily my favorite was Braised Short Ribs, which the chef slow-cooks for eight hours before serving the succulent and fork-tender beef with red wine demi-glace, mashed potatoes and a delicious side of roasted root vegetables. When my husband dug into it at home, his eyes got big, and he curled a protective arm around his plate.

“Where did you go?” he asked.

“An oceanfront hotel restaurant, the Red Parrot,” I said. “It’s kind of a locals’ secret.”

“Not for long,” my husband said.

Three large and juicy Pork Medallions were incredibly tender and flavorful from marinating in a sweet tea brine, and they’re served over a taste bud-popping Apple Cider Jus with a side of whipped potatoes and roasted apples and root veggies.

We also enjoyed a creatively stacked presentation of Shepherd’s Pie comprised of layers of ground beef, peas, carrots, fresh corn, caramelized onions, mashed potatoes and melted Cheddar that’s crowned with fried onions.

A few more entrees are Sirloin and Frites with scallion butter and veal demi-glace; Chicken Pompadour over pasta with roasted peppers and onions; and Shrimp and Scallop Scampi sautéed in lemon, white wine, garlic, tomatoes and basil served over linguine.

Check, please

The dessert menu is evolving, and the chef treated us to decadent Fried Cheesecake with Bananas Foster Sauce. A fried eggroll wrapper contains banana cheesecake, and it was cut on a bias and presented vertically with the sauce, whipped cream and a scoop of ice cream.

The Red Parrot has a full bar and a long list of “Mixologist Specialties,” and my friend enjoyed her Arnold Palmerita with Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, Sauza Tequila, lime juice, triple sec, sour mix and lemonade. During happy hour house wines and well drinks are $3, and domestic beers are $2.25.

“Little Pirates” have meal choices for $4-$5 – Chicken Strips, Grilled Cheese, Crustless PB&J or Grilled Chicken Breast – that come with a choice of fruit cup, chips, applesauce or fries, and a drink.

The Breakers Resort also has Papa’s restaurant on the west side of Ocean Boulevard, and it serves an excellent $10 breakfast buffet with custom egg orders, yummy corned beef hash and warm fruit compotes.

Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at
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