RESTAURANT REVIEW: High Thyme Cuisine 

Living the High Life: Little island bistro proves that blasé doesn't lack taste

High Thyme Cuisine
American/Eclectic — Casual
2213-C Middle St. Sullivan's Island
(843) 883-3536
Entrees: $10-$15
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday, Sunday Brunch

Take a drive out to Sullivan's Island any night of the week and you'll see that this small island town is a happening place. Nestled among the crowds of some of my favorite island hang-outs is perhaps one of its best kept secrets: High Thyme, a laid-back, little island bistro delivering food that is anything but small on flavor.

My husband and I ventured out on a recent Tuesday night to sample High Thyme's Tapas Tuesday. To our surprise, the house was packed. Dim lighting and votive candles enhance the restaurant's already cozy feel, and the menu has something for everyone, with plenty of seafood offerings, as well as several chicken, beef, and vegetarian dishes, most of which have a southeast Asian influence. As if we had not already hit the jackpot, half-priced wines are available by the glass until 10 p.m., and the varietal choices are plentiful.

As soon as we were seated, our very friendly and attentive server arrived to take our drink order and tell us about the specials. We opted to start with the crab and crunch roll ($9) and the duck roll special ($9). The crab roll is comprised of crab, julienned cucumber, and crispy wontons, which add a unique twist and crunchy texture to this traditional sushi roll. The duck roll contained perfectly rare, small slices of duck, avocado, red pepper, and scallion. Both are served with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce.

Next came a coconut chicken soup ($9). The broth was rich and creamy and bursting with the flavor of sweet coconut milk. Loaded with chicken, cremini mushrooms, carrots, and celery and garnished with cilantro and crispy wonton strips, this decadent soup was so hearty, I could have easily eaten it as my entire meal. It's what you'd call bowl-licking good.

I had to concentrate in order to make room for the seared scallops ($9), and I'm very glad that I did. The only miss of the evening was the slightly overcooked, but well seasoned scallops. They came with sesame shiitake mushrooms and glass noodles, swimming in a broth of yuzu and hoisin sauce. The sourness of the yuzu was perfectly balanced by the sweet and spicy hoisin, and as I savored every last spoonful, the overcooked scallops were but a distant memory.

Szechuan pepper-crusted sirloin ($10) and the mussels special ($9) ended our selections. Served with wasabi-roasted potatoes and teriyaki butter, the sirloin was one of the evening's highlights. Cooked to rare perfection, my knife slid right through the beautifully grilled meat. Sublime. The pepper crust added just the right texture and heat to the sirloin, and the wasabi-roasted potatoes were pleasingly crisp with just the right amount of spiciness. A rich brown teriyaki butter finished this well-executed dish with the perfect kiss of sweetness.

The sweet mussels were showcased in a bath of extremely spicy red curry with a nest of egg noodles. While I was first caught off guard with the spiciness of the broth, it was not offensive. Indeed, it was spicy in a good way.

And just when I couldn't eat another bite, our server tempted us with the evening's dessert selections. We chose the ever popular chocolate molten cake ($6) with homemade vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and a raspberry coulis. The cake was everything you would expect in all of its rich, dark, chocolaty gooey goodness, and the vanilla ice cream was creamy and delicious.

As a professional cook who's worked and eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world, I am always on a mission to find places that produce good, flavorful food. Dishes that are well executed and beautifully presented. Service that is pleasant and attentive and an atmosphere that is inviting enough to make me want to come inside and spend a few hours. I love talking about every little detail of the dining experience, happy to provide my patient husband with bite-by-bite commentary. Fortunately for him, my mouth was stuffed too full of delicious food at High Thyme to talk.

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