"Don't Whine, Just Dance" is the motto here. There's food, wine, a jukebox with a big blue-and-green crab on it and, out the window, the New River. In the distance you can see the port of Savannah and the Talmadge Bridge, but for now, you're on Daufuskie Island.
[i:307644610f]"It's like Madison Avenue meets the Third World,"[/i:307644610f] observed Bo Bryan, a Daufuskie resident and an author ("Shag: The Legend"). But the island's old timers and new resorters groove together well at Marshside Mama's. "At times, it's [i:307644610f]sort of a transcendent rock 'n' roll experience to have the jukebox on and your shoes off and start dancing. We have millionaires and paupers dancing together." [/i:307644610f]
That's just what we saw one hot Friday night. At 9:05, somebody punched in "Susie Q" on the jukebox, and the party began.
The gumbo on the menu is famous for two things: It's always spicy (my lips actually sizzled) and it's never the same. Chef/owner Beth Shipman had mixed up golden sea bass, chicken, sausage, crab, clams, and shrimp -- "kitchen sink gumbo," she called it. Maybe most noticeable is the unmushy, bright-green okra, always added last.
Shipman keeps her menu simple and relies on local fishermen and divers to bring her their best catch. Cobia and tuna sometimes appear; shrimp and ribs are a constant. Nothing is fried, except pan-fried catfish (on this evening, served with grits, white beans, and andouille sausage).
Appetizers included gazpacho with shrimp, Caribbean-style jerk barbecue wings, and Ethel Mae's "Devil" Crab.
Among the entrees: barbecue baby back ribs, grilled tuna with mango salsa and grilled center-cut pork chops.
Daufuskie Seafood Boil includes snow crab, shrimp, sausage and corn. Our foursome ordered Beth's famous shrimp and grits, family-style. Like the gumbo, it's never the same. This time, scallops and artichoke hearts were added, all served with salad.
[i:307644610f]"Tastefully tacky" is how someone described the décor. Pink flamingos, colored lights and plastic picnic furniture help relieve any feelings of starchiness.[/i:307644610f]
Have a Heineken -- or, as Bo Bryan puts it, "red wine of some description" in a plastic cup -- and let it out. Everybody else is.
[u:307644610f]This and other lowcountry favorite restaurants described in this Raleigh, NC newspaper article:[/u:307644610f]