By Margaret Evans
When I arrived a few minutes late for our gathering at Fishcamp on 11th Street, I was surprised to see the Lunch Bunch seated on the porch. It was August in Port Royal, after all. Nobody had warned me to wear my bathing suit.
I needn’t have worried. There were breezes off the water and fans over our heads, and we were perfectly cool as we perused the lunch menu.
But before we get to that, I must confess that Fishcamp could serve me a plate of rocks and I’d enjoy myself. Why? Location, location, location.
Nestled alongside the historic Port of Port Royal shrimp docks, the place simply oozes character. With deepwater marsh and working shrimp boats on view from the expansive porch, and through the windows of the pleasingly rustic interior, the restaurant radiates a laid-back hospitality that just makes you feel good. This is where you want to take your out-of-town guests for that “authentic” Lowcountry seafood dinner.
But we were here for lunch, and I was hungry.
Since the others were busy chatting with general manager Tonya Murphy and Chef Garrett Priester (right) I took advantage of their inattention and called dibs on the Fish Tacos. (We Lunch Bunchers avoid doubling up on orders; that way we get to try as many items as possible.)
Betty ordered next – the Spinach Salad with Fried Oysters – and Jeff claimed the Fish ‘n Chips. Mike came in last with the Catch of the Day Fish Sandwich. (I think he really wanted the Fish Tacos, but hey, you snooze you lose.)
While we waited for our meals, we sampled a couple of appetizers. The calamari was good, especially if you like yours tender and not too crunchy on the outside. Our favorite were the Jalapeno Hushpuppies, which were like no hushpuppies I’ve ever tasted. Not as spicy as the name suggests – just a little kick – and they’re wonderfully textured and delicious, especially slathered with Fishcamp’s homemade honey butter. Really something special.
Mike is our soup guy, and he started with the Chef’s Soup of the Day, Tomato Crab Bisque, which he immediately deemed “amazing.” Between bites, he elaborated, calling it “incredibly fresh, rich, and tomatoey.”
And now the entrees were arriving.
Betty raved about her Spinach Salad, chock-full of yummy stuff like red onions, cucumbers, goat cheese, dried cranberries, and candied Georgia pecans. And then there was the icing on the cake – or oysters on the salad, as it were. “I asked for fried oysters on top – it wasn’t on the menu – and they said ‘sure’!” This answer made Betty very happy, as did the fried oysters, which were superb.
Jeff is a Fish ‘n Chips fan from way back, and he’s sampled the dish all over the Western world … including Beaufort. Fishcamp’s version stacked up nicely, with tasty, flaky flounder and “just the right ratio of breading to fish.” The fries were good, and the coleslaw sweet and crunchy, just the way I like it. (Yes, I picked on his plate. He’s used to it.)
Mike thoroughly enjoyed his Catch of the Day Fish Sandwich, and was particularly glad the Mahi wasn’t over-fried. (You can also get it grilled or blackened.) Served with lettuce and tomato on a pretzel bun, what’s not to love?
Last, but certainly not least, my Fish Tacos. I’ve rarely met a fish taco I didn’t like, but these were truly outstanding. I had my fish grilled – again, fried and blackened are options – and it practically melted in my mouth, along with the flavorful textures of roasted corn, black bean salsa, Calabrese chili aioli, and the aforementioned slaw. “Two thumbs up” is an understatement. Throw in a pinky.
We were all feeling fat and happy and ready for naps when our server broached the subject of dessert. “Oh no, we couldn’t possibly …” But of course, we did.
Fishcamp produces five different homemade desserts daily, and we felt it was our journalistic duty to sample each of them. The staff favorite is the Key Lime Pie, which took 30 attempts to perfect, according to Chef Priester. It was worth it! Perfection achieved.
My personal favorite, however, was the Bread Pudding – there are no words to describe it, so you’ll just have to try it – while others at the table were enamored of the Crème Brulee, the Oreo Lemon Cheese Cake, and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse, respectively.
There was literally something for everybody, and everybody indulged.
And now we really were ready for naps.
As we left the breezy porch, past the picturesque rope swings and the outdoor bar – where there’d be live music later – we thanked the friendly staff, bid the scenic view farewell, and vowed to return as soon as humanly possible.
Maybe happy hour?
Fishcamp on 11 th Street
1699 11th Street
Port Royal, S.C.
Open Seven Days a Week
Lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday Brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Happy Hour 4-6 p.m.
Dinner from 4 p.m.
Bar Open Late