Hudson’s Seafood House and Docks
1 Hudson Road, Hilton Head Island SC 29926
Web Site: http://www.hudsononthedocks.com
Hudson’s is an old school, waterfront seafood restaurant that looks like thousands of others across the country. However, dismissing it as just a tourist trap would be a mistake.
During the Labor Day weekend and the second week of September, Rachel and I went on vacation to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. For the most part, the intention of this vacation was to soak up some sun, relax at the pool and the jacuzzi, read a few books, and confine our thoughts to what we’d be eating for dinner rather than racing around and finding various activities to do. It was a decompression vacation.
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Other than fishing, golfing, playing tennis and go to the beach, that’s what you do on Hilton Head — and if you’re lucky enough to be blessed with nice sunny weather, you relax. There isn’t much else to do. Oh sure, they’ve got a bunch of tours where they take you out on the water and you can drive around observe some of the remnants of Gullah/Heechee/Low Country culture, especially if one of the festivals is going on, but other than that, it’s a resort town. What they do have a LOT of, however, is really good seafood.
Rachel and I only visited a few restaurants during our vacation stay — we cooked breakfast and lunch and a few of our dinners in the timeshare unit. But we wanted to be able to have a definitive, Hilton Head seafood experience, in particular to have some of the White Shrimp that the island and the Carolina coast is known for.
We had asked around and we got various responses of where to go get it. One of which was a really local seafood vendor that would allow us to cook it at home, which I’ll get to later. The others were recommendations of touristy-style seafood joints that you always find on coastal resort towns. One of these was Hudson’s, which is right on the water overlooking the Port Royal Sound, where parts of the movie Forrest Gump were filmed nearby.
We had attempted to go to Hudsons on the Sunday before Labor day. That ended up being a mission abort because we had well over a 1 hour wait for a table ahead of us and the parking lot, which can accommodate several hundred cars (and shares its space with another seafood restaurant, Charley’s Crab) was completely filled up. It was a mob scene. We decided to go elsewhere and re-considered whether or not we should go back.
On our last night in Hilton Head we did go back, I guess because we really did want the authentic South Carolina, eat dinner by the water thing and eat a real Low Country Shrimp Boil as it was supposed to be prepared. I was prepared to be disappointed. As it turned out, it was the most memorable experience of the trip and we really loved the food.
Port Royal Sound, dusk, as seen from the docks by Hudson’s.
One of the two shrimping boats that is parked at the Hudson’s docks. I think one of them is actually named “Jennifer”. Ahm not a smart man, Jenny….
More beautiful Port Royal Sound and purple sky.
The restaurant has an outdoor bar by the docks that is open during lunchtime.
A view of the busy main dining room, on a Friday night. Yes, this is a “Big taxidemified fish on the wall with nautical knick-knacks” sort of place.
Hudson’s also has an Oyster bar where single diners or pairs can have drinks and appetizers while waiting, or dine on the full menu. You can also purchase raw seafood retail here if you want to bring some shrimp back to your timeshare unit.
To say that Hudson’s is a popular seafood restaurant is an understatement. A lot of these people are actually locals.
Hudson’s makes a heck of a good spicy Bloody Mary, made with Shrimp Boil mix spices.
A bowl of thumb-sized hushpuppies, which are absolutely addicting. We could have easily gone through two bowls, no problem.
An order of local oysters on the half shell.
These girls seem to be enjoying their seafood dinner!
Rachel ordered a rich She-Crab Soup, which had a splash of sherry on top. It was really good, but I don’t know if I could have eaten a whole bowl of it. Definitely one to share.
I went for the seafood okra gumbo, which was good but it definitely needed a spike of hot sauce.
Fried Green Tomatoes, served with a remoulade dipping sauce. I liked these a lot but Rachel thought the tomatoes were actually on the ripe side and didn’t have enough acid.
Rachel decided to stick with appetizers. This is the “A little bit of everything” appetizer platter with Oysters Rockefeller, Stuffed Clam, Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Oysters wrapped in Bacon (Oysters Hudson) and Blackened Scallops. The blackened scallops were actually cooked perfectly but Rachel felt they were a bit too spicy. I liked them a lot, however.
This is Hudson’s signature ‘7-Day’ cole slaw, which is given its name due to the fact that it can last in the fridge for seven days from the absence of mayonnaise. It’s a very sweet slaw.
This is an order of “Boiled Pinky” which is typically referred to as Low Country Shrimp boil, seasoned with boil spices and cooked with sausage and corn. This is a full order but I thought it was more appropriate as an appetizer.
We loved the shrimp so much that we got another order, but just the boiled shrimp, which you can get without corn and sausage.
And for dessert, peanut butter pie. Very rich, very satisfying, and enough to share.