I know this blog is normally about food from New Orleans and South Louisiana, but I love seafood and recently I walked down "Memory Lane" for an unbelievable seafood dinner. Growing up, every year I went to Myrtle Beach South Carolina with my family. We always had a wonderful meal in the nearby community of Murrel's Inlet, specifically at one of the Inlet's most prolific, and oldest restaurant, Lee's Inlet Kitchen.
Established in 1948, the restaurant was opened by Eford and Pearl Lee of Cool Springs South Carolina. The restaurant grew in popularity, being located in a favorite seafood destination for many Grand Strand vacation goers. Absolutely fresh local shrimp, flounder, oysters, and scallops, to name a few, made up their returning customer's favorite menu items.
Their Lowcountry-Murrells Inlet style seafood is lightly breaded for frying, or broiled to perfection, and always consistent. So many times you have a great meal at a restaurant and the next time you return it is totally different. That's why I always loved going back to Lee's Kitchen.
Years passed before I returned to Lee's Kitchen. We had kids of our own now and I guess it just was too much trouble to drive all the way down to Murrel's Inlet. Whatever the reason, it had been way too long since I had eaten at my favorite seafood restaurant.
We planned to get there a little early to avoid the long lines. My family and I entered and were seated almost immediately. The air was fragrant with the all-too-familiar smells that I remember so fondly. The place hadn't really changed in all the years since. Oh, it was a little fancier in terms of decor, otherwise the place was pretty much the same.
My daughter asked about the She Crab Soup, which she was promptly brought a sample of some of the best soup ever. Smooth and creamy with fresh lump crabmeat, this was so luxurious it's sinful.
We all pretty much ordered different, fried seafood dishes and waited while I prattled on and on to the kids about how Lee's hadn't changed since I was a kid. Our food soon came and honestly it was some of the best shrimp, oysters, and scallops we had eaten. The scallops were sweet and tender, the shrimp barely dusted and expertly fried, and the oysters were crunchy and plump. All served with some of the best tartar sauce ever made. In a word... wonderful.
I highly recommend Lee's Inlet Kitchen for when you visit Myrtle Beach and advise you to take the time to drive down to Murrel's Inlet and experience Lee's, as well as some of the other great old restaurants there like Nance's Crab Bar or Oliver's Lodge. Be sure to post a comment to let me know about your visit and the food you had. I'm sure it will be memorable.
Photo by Todd Evans