Gwen Fowler



Croissants' wine dinner showcases delicious, local dishes

Posted 5/13/2011 11:34:00 AM

A wine dinner at Croissants Bistro and Bakery, part of Myrtle Beach's second annual Coastal Uncorked Food and Wine Festival, kept about 60 diners exclaiming over some delicious surprises.

Owner Heidi Vukov and Chef Brad Daniels, with Schug Caneros Estate Winery of Sonoma, Calif., served a six-course meal, starting with appetizers that included one of the best shrimp dishes I’ve ever tasted -- peachwood smoked shrimp. The shrimp were big, beautiful and butterflied, with a peach sweetness and a smoky taste. Also served were a smoked salmon cloud, a light, fluffy bite of salmon mousses with pumpernickel, and smoked trout crostini topped with a fresh cherry tomato. Appetizers were served with Schug’s 2007 Rouge De Noirs Brut.

The salad was served with grilled artichoke hearts on the side and included buttermilk fresh cheese, which Daniels said he made from a Lee Brothers recipe. (Matt and Ted Lee also are participating in Coastal Uncorked in an appearance with Paula Deen Saturday night and at a brunch at Croissants on Sunday.) The very fresh spring lettuces came from Thompson Farm in Conway, as did the honey that was mixed with lemon for the dressing. It was served with Schug’s 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, which was excellent.

Chilled English pea soup might not sound so appetizing, but all the people sitting around me practically licked their soup bowl clean. Served cold, it was refreshing and delicious. A small round of parmesan panna cotta, a cheesy custard, was in the center.

Next was a braised veal breast ravioli, served on a bed of sautéed spinach and topped with a thin slice of tuna. This was a combination that worked so well; the ravioli was delicious and the tuna very tasty. It was served with a 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir.

A sliced tenderloin filet of beef was served with delicious vegetables -- baby carrots, pearl onions and rapinni greens, which had a little sharpness – and topped with a horseradish froth. This course was served with the 2006 Heritage Reserve Merlot.

Dessert was warm sautéed peaches and mascarpone mousse, served in a crispy caramel shell. With a few blackberries on the side, it was as beautiful as it was tasty. It was served with a 2008 Late Harvest Reisling, a sweet wine that was a perfect match.

Croissants is a Fresh on the Menu restaurant, an S.C. Department of Agriculture program that recognizes the restaurant’s support of local products and produce.

Vukov has been the driving force behind Coastal Uncorked. She has said she hopes the festival brings recognition of the Grand Strand as a culinary destination. In February, she was named 2010 S.C. Restaurateur of the Year by the S.C. Hospitality Association. She was nominated for the award by the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association.

Vukov opened Croissants in March 1995 in a smaller location, where the restaurant quickly gained a following as a great spot for lunch and for delectable baked goods. She moved into her current home, at 38th Avenue North and Robert M. Grissom Parkway, in March 2007.