Love is an ocean wide

December 2012
Written By: 
Ashley Burkholder
Photographs by: 
Bobby Altman

SeaBlue Restaurant showcases the qualities of a soulmate



If sitting at one of the smorgasbord of Myrtle Beach restaurants is like a round of speed dating, I found someone I can settle down with.
Yes, I’m in love … and its name is SeaBlue Restaurant & Wine Bar. There’s definitely physical attraction, a deep understanding of my wants and needs, and a certain level of unconditional love.

I feel like my Saturday night dinner here was the start of a serious, long-term relationship. And step one to winning me over was a positive first impression.

Electric blue neon signage makes a statement at the south corner of North Beach Plaza in North Myrtle Beach. Step inside, and you’re swept away to another beach in another city on another latitude. Metro meets art deco—from sleek seating along the mirrored wall to white linen tablecloths to sexy framed prints (some are nudes, so be mindful of that for innocent eyes). It’s cozy and intimate, but not like Grandma’s afghan—like a room you want to fully embrace and in which you want to pull up a chair.

And, yes, it lives up to its name in a sea of blue: dripping from the ceiling in raindrop lights hanging over the bar, stamped into the mosaic tile around the bartop and winking from the brilliant backlighting behind the wine rack and around the saltwater aquarium.

My dining companion and I were greeted and seated by owner Kenneth Norcutt. From a four-top near the middle of the dining room, business seemed to be good. There was only one empty table.

Norcutt and Tracy Smith, SeaBlue’s general manager, are all about the details—from what is served up in ambiance and attentiveness to what is placed on the dinner plates. Hand-cut beef is USDA Prime, produce is organic and certified South Carolina grown and seafood is pulled in from local fishermen and fisheries.

To start, we ordered a round of craft beer and split a small plate of Kobe beef sliders layered with smoked cheese and Roma tomato slices—the best three-bite burger I’ve had in a while. Just as its carefully selected wine list, SeaBlue’s beer selection is far more adventurous than the everyday brews. I chose Sam Adams and he went with Boddington. Turns out our server, Jason, is responsible for the diverse representation on the beer list and takes pride in his recommendations (and his talented tableside bottle pour).

On to our dinner course. The menu describes the cuisine as contemporary American family, but I think it’s indescribable. My Macadamia Encrusted North Carolina-Local Grouper was swimming in flavor and the kind of rare care and precision that’s not often duplicated. The hunk of grouper was the centerpiece for lobster and vegetable (carrots, asparagus) risotto, haricot vert and a Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Drizzle that provided a semi-sweet ending.

My date wanted to put the menu’s claim of being “The Grand Strand’s Best Steakhouse” to the test by ordering the 8-ounce filet medium-rare with a side of roasted garlic-whipped potatoes. Steak and potatoes belong together, but those of the SeaBlue variety arrived in separate dishes. That didn’t detract from the deliciousness level seared into every ounce, every bite. Garlic cloves were nestled in a pool of garlic and butter on a pillow of potatoes.
You can’t help but fall in love with a restaurant—and the passion of the people behind it—that invests this much time and care into the overall experience. Be prepared to make your own investment, as entrees range from the upper $20s to the mid $40s and higher for steak. But it’s well worth it—in the name of love

SeaBlue Restaurant
503 U.S. 17 North
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
(843) 249-8800
5–10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5–11 p.m. Friday and Saturday