The Myrtle Beach area is home to more than 1,500 restaurants and, make no mistake, Aspen Grille is on any short list of the Grand Strand’s best.

Don’t just take the word of your faithful correspondent. Nearly 560 Trip Advisor reviews, almost all of them glowing, have netted Aspen Grille a 4.5-star rating, and 141 reviews on Yelp produced the same evaluation.

But ratings alone don’t do Aspen justice.

Executive chef and owner Curry Martin, who was classically trained in Paris and San Francisco, has designed an eclectic menu that rivals any in the state for quality and diversity of offerings.

Whether you want fresh, locally caught seafood, steak or lamb, everything on Aspen’s menu is outstanding, but the sea scallops over wild mushroom risotto and fried spinach is the restaurant’s most popular entree.

Scallops are a delicate dish to prepare and the art has been mastered in the Aspen Grille kitchen. The risotto is without peer, perfectly complement by the fried spinach. The Myrtle Peach Martini - a seasonal drink that features vodka infused by fresh, local peaches - is Aspen’s signature cocktail and worth an order, if you choose to have a drink.

The dessert menu is no less appealing, and the bread pudding, topped with homemade ice cream, is the ideal end to a great meal.

The atmosphere is the equal of the food as Martin often brings in live musicians to help provide ambiance. The white table cloths and an impeccable wait staff also help set the tone, but another of Aspen’s many charms is its ability to offer a fine dining experience without being stuffy.

The bottom line: Aspen Grille is one of the best restaurants in Myrtle Beach and all of South Carolina for that matter. If you are celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a great meal, Aspen will deliver an outstanding dining experience.