Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Charleston Restaurant Scene


hazardnc
 Share

Recommended Posts

We ate at Fig last June, and agree it was very good - was wondering if there is another great place to try? We have been to Rue de Jean (not impressed - everythinv overly salty) but never been to SNOB, Peninsula Grill or other hot spots. Is Fig the best in Charleston?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you haven't been to Peninsula Grill yet, I would definitely go there. We have never had anything but great experiences, both with the service and the food, and if you have any fondness at all for coconut, you HAVE to try their coconut cake. It is fabulous!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last summer we had a wonderful dinner at the Oak Steakhouse.

http://www.oaksteakhouserestaurant.com/index.html

We split the tuna and absolutely fabulous lobster macaroni and cheese.  It was a lovely place.

I don't care how lovely the place is....we're simply not going to pay the prices for the food offered on the Oak Steakhouse menu---and we're not hurting for money. I suspect that when a place charges those prices for food, a lot of that money is going for overhead...and hey, we're not interested in paying for that. Just because a place charges top dollar for food doesn't necessarily mean that said place will present you with the best meal you've had in a particular city. Since we'll be making our annual trip to Charleston later this spring, I'm particularly interested in the posts on this thread. I've never tried FIGS, but seems that many others are pleased with it. Peninsula Grill is good, also Carolina's. You can get wonderful meals at many Charleston restaurants without having to shell out the $$$ charged by the Oak. Just depends on what you like, what's important to you in a dining experience. Good luck.

Edited by foodiehall (log)

CBHall

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll be in Charleston next weekend and want to take the SO to the best dining experience in the historic district for a birthday celebration.  Where should we go?

"Best dining experience in the historic district"? Guess that would depend on whom you ask and what aspects of said dining experience are most important to you. I can think of places which serve great food....but the atmosphere is like a train station. I can think of critically acclaimed places where we've dined....and felt like we'd been ripped off. On our last visit, my favorite dinner was at Hominy Grill....interior is probably not the most romantic setting, but the outdoor patio can be lovely. Also the HG isn't in the heart of the historic district so that might make a difference to you.

Edited by foodiehall (log)

CBHall

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a clarification on Hominy Grill location: it's not off the peninsula by any means. It's just not in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, rather is closer to College of Charleston and the med school---sort of on the edge of downtown. Maybe you were already aware of this; if not, I wanted to let you know since location seems to be one of your main criteria for selecting a place.

CBHall

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the Hominy Grill. In fact, it's probably my favorite Charleston restaurant, but it's not one that comes straight to mind when I think "big night out", just because of its more casual atmosphere. The Hominy Grill is like eating in your grandmother's kitchen, with white beadboard walls, hardwood floors, and simple furniture. The patio is very nice, surrounded by bamboo, so that you feel miles away from the street. The food is excellent, but you would want to drive to the restaurant, because it is a bit of a hike from the King/Meeting/Market area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do need to try the Hominy Grill someday, and no, it is not too far for us - I just don't want to have to drive across the bridge for dinner. When we do drive out of town, we go to Bowen's Island (which burned down, but i have heard is open for outdoor dining now). Hominy Grill sounds good, but perhaps a little too home-style. We want "fancy vittles!" Surely someone out there has tried Cordiva?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do need to try the Hominy Grill someday, and no, it is not too far for us  - I just don't want to have to drive across the bridge for dinner.  When we do drive out of town, we go to Bowen's Island (which burned down, but  i have heard is open for outdoor dining now).  Hominy Grill sounds good, but perhaps a little too home-style.  We want "fancy vittles!"  Surely someone out there has tried Cordiva?

Sorry to keep harping on Hominy Grill here....maybe I've misunderstood you, but I want to be sure you're aware that HG isn't "across the bridge". Last time we were there (dined on the patio with twinkling lights), it appeared that several duos/groups were indeed there for special occasions---I say that based on the way they were dressed, body language, etc. How about Carolina's, located right off East Bay St. near the Broad St. t-intersection...I'd consider that "fancier" than HG. Or for more sophisticated ambiance, the restaurant inside the Charleston Place Hotel....the Charleston Grille?---my bad, can't think of its name which has changed a couple times over the years...but still a lovely setting. I'd like to hear more about this Cordiva/Cordava place myself; alas, can't help you with that.

CBHall

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't tried Cordavi yet, but it has received several positive mentions in the free weekly Charleston City Paper. If you go to their website (www.charlestoncitypaper.com) and type cordavi into the search box, it will pull up the articles. They also have reviews for lots of the other restaurants, if you're in the mood to read/research.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Foodiehall, sorry. I didn't write that sentence well. I know the Hominy Grill is not across the bridge. I was actually referring to going to Mt. Pleasant to Siena.

I made reservations at Cordavi and will probably make them for another night at Fig, since we enjoyed that so much the last time. I will do my best to take good notes on Cordavi, and post them here.

Also looking forward to going back to Paolo's Gelateria!

Edited by hazardnc (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Foodiehall, sorry.  I didn't write that sentence well.  I know the Hominy Grill is not across the bridge.  I was actually referring to going to Mt. Pleasant to Siena.

I made reservations at Cordavi and will probably make them for another night at Fig, since we enjoyed that so much the last time.  I will do my best to take good notes on Cordavi, and post them here.

Also looking forward to going back to Paolo's Gelateria!

I will be in charleston later this month. How far is Kaiwah Island from downtown? What is the best way to get there? Thanks for the help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife and I will be there in late May, as well, for our first anniversary (we were married there).

New restaurants for us will be FIG, Cru Cafe and McCrady's

Ones that we must return to will be Fast & French, Cypress, Charleston Bookstore Cafe and Granville's Cafe (the latter two because they catered our brunch, and wedding although Granville's Cafe is new).

Has anyone tried Granville's Cafe? I love what he did for our wedding...

Edited by Reignking (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't tried the Granville, but we have eaten at the Bookstore Cafe many times - they have a wonderful breakfast! This trip, in addition to Cordiva, we are returning to Fleet's Landing. The Fried Green Tomato Crab Salad stack is a true taste sensation, and if the weather's good, I'm sitting on the deck and watching the boats. Does anyone know if Bowen's Island is open again?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll be in Charleston next weekend and want to take the SO to the best dining experience in the historic district for a birthday celebration.  Where should we go?

Inquiring foodies await the report of your culinary experiences....while still fresh in your mind.

CBHall

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes - sorry! I should have posted sooner.

Let me qualify this by saying I am no food critic, so please accept my humble descriptions. My husband and I do love good food - I just can't write about it very well.

We had our first dinner at Cordavi. Our reservations were for 7:45. When we arrived, we were asked to wait in the bar as they were working two large parties and the kitchen was a bit behind with the food orders. Since we were offered free cocktails, we didn't mind. After being seated, we were offered an amuse bouche of portobello foam. The foam had a deep mushroom flavor and excellent texture. Think essence of mushroom. Light and delicious.

For starters, I had the seared sonoma foie gras with french toast, sauterne sorbet and blackberry gastrique. The foie was perfectly cooked and the sauterne sorbet was the perfect foil to the rich fattiness of the liver. My husband had glazed kumamoto oysters with melted leeks and american caviar. This was truly delicious, with tiny oysters nestled in a bed of leeks.

For mains, I had the sous-vide of lamb with cassoulet of mixed beans and braised lamb. The texture was excellent and I loved the "cassoulet" of beans, but I will say overall this dish was a bit too salty for me. When I was mentioning this to my husband, the waitress overheard and asked if I would like to send it back. I almost never send a dish back (it has to be pretty darned bad) and given that I think I am "salt sensitive" I thanked her but said no. My husband had moullard duck breast with tomato confit, foie gras and honshemenji mushrooms. The duck was also cooked to perfection, but there was no "wow" factor here. The foie gras was a teeny piece - one very small bite's worth, which is okay by the husband (not a foie fan) but I hope that's not what drove the price to $30.

A couple next to us tried the sonoma foie gras torchon with sauterne jelly on blackberry fluid gel. The gentleman mentioned he had never seen torchon on any menu in Charlotte and so he had to try it. He described it as one of the best things he's ever eaten in his life.

Service at Cordavi was excellent and we got a fabulous wine suggestion from our waitress - wish I could remember what it was! Bottom line I recommend the place and I would definitely return.

Lunch the next day was at Justines. We've been here once before and thought it was fine. I was in the mood for a veggie plate (greens, mac-n-cheese, etc) and rather than drive over to some of the more respected places for soul food, we thought we'd return. All I can say is BLAH. Service was extemely slow, they give you honey butter for your cornbread (I can't stand this - why do people do this?) and the fried chicken was severely overcooked. Why folks wait in line for this place is beyond me.

In our strolls around the area, we found a new place called La Forchette (on King Street not far from John St). The menu looked enticing because one of their signature dishes is pommes frittes cooked in DUCK FAT! We decided to give them a shot. Luckily, given that it was a Friday, we were still able to snag reservations for 7:30 when we called at 4 PM.

The atmosphere at Forchette is very Paris bistro - brick walls, cafe tables with bentwood chairs, etc. I had a delicious cream of cauliflower soup that came to the table hot (so rare these days) while the hubby had an app of those famous frittes. They were perfect - crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and hot. And the portion was huge - it would have served 4 easily. For mains we had the moules frittes (for me - and I didn't need any more frittes) and bouillabaisse. The former were actually very good due to the huge amount of garlic in the broth try diping those frittes in there! The latter was so-so. Presentation is awkward. They bring it to the table in a Le Crueset cassrole with a side of the aioli. No ladle is provided - just a big spoon to scoop it into the bowl. The soup was loaded with nice chunks of monkfish and several shrimp, but not much else, while another table got more shellfish in their dish. It wasn't bad - just not great.

Dessert was profiteroles with ice cream and chocolate sauce. The sauce was wonderful - I don't know what kind of chocolate was used, but it was rich and thick. The profiteroles tasted as if they'd been made and frozen. But I still ate everything :biggrin:

The oddest thing about Forchette is probably the owner. He appears to be a crazy Frenchman who micromanages the place. He stood at the bar, drinking wine, checking his watch and anxiously watching the door for patrons to arrive. I woud describe him as outright hyper. Twice I saw him call people who had reserved tables but were no-shows. I can understand that, however, since it's a small space and empty tables means no money. What I did not like was when he informed a woman and her two kids who walked in without reservations that he had no room for them that night, then promptly went out to the sidewalk to hawk his restaurant to passersby and actually convince 4 people to come in. I guess the mom of two didn't look like the kind of patron he was after. La Forchette either has a limited liquor license or they can't figure out what to stock. My husband wanted an after dinner brandy. No bandy, but they had port and Baileys Irish Creme. They can make gin and tonics but not martinis? Maybe they didn't have any vermouth?

Would all of this keep me from going bac? Porbably not - the fries are that good :wub:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
I do need to try the Hominy Grill someday, and no, it is not too far for us  - I just don't want to have to drive across the bridge for dinner.  When we do drive out of town, we go to Bowen's Island (which burned down, but  i have heard is open for outdoor dining now).  Hominy Grill sounds good, but perhaps a little too home-style.  We want "fancy vittles!"  Surely someone out there has tried Cordiva?

I'm giving this thread a bump, just having returned from Charleston yesterday afternoon, mainly for the benefit of those planning a trip there in the near future. I especially want to report back on Hominy Grill since I kept suggesting that "hazardnc" go there for a special meal.

I sensed that something was up when, shortly before our trip, I got an e-mail from HG saying that their hours have changed---no more dinner on the weekends, cutoff for dinner during the week is 8 PM (meaning that you have to get there by 8; they don't clear out the place at 8). We went there for dinner on our first night...again on the patio. I immediately noticed that the twinkling little lights from last year were gone, light came from hurricane lamps on the tables and some muted lights placed around the patio. Am not sure why, but we immediately noticed that we had paper napkins instead of cloth napkins as before. I was pleased to see that the menu looked pretty much the same as before. Since we arrived after 7:30, we were among the last diners and our server had more time to chat with us and answer some questions. She explained that Chef Robert Stehling, a protege of the late Bill Neal, has had a "philosophical change" in the way he wants the restaurant to be perceived....he wants all the emphasis to be on the food, wants the ambience to be very casual (paper napkins, butcher paper covering the indoor tables, etc.). In other words, they most certainly aren't looking to be classified as "fine dining"---although I'd say the food is certainly as fine as ever! She said some of their regulars were a little put off by this and the change in hours, while others are more accepting. NOTE: if I haven't expressed this new philosophy correctly and you have more info about it, feel free to jump in and set the record straight.

We had other good dinners at FIG (first time for us and we were suitably impressed); Fleet Landing (also a first for us; high noise level, definitely family friendly, outside tables were quieter---which was nice on the waterfront, but wouldn't have been so great once the rains came from tropical storm Barry); and Carolina's (a long-time C'ton favorite which has a new chef, Jeremiah Bacon, who has put in some time at the French Laundry).

Lunches were at Cru Cafe, Blossom Cafe, and Sermet's Corner....nothing new to us there, always good food. We had reservations at Cru and even arrived 10 min. early to find lots of business, lots of scurrying around; could not be seated immediately as table wasn't ready yet. Chef/owner seemed to be working the front and back of house. Two couples came in at about the same time we did, without reservations....room for one duo was found at the bar, the other couple went to an outdoor table and we continued to wait and watch people without reservations being turned away. Finally we were seated, seemed that it took a long time for server to take our order....finally, when we saw both the couples leaving, after having eaten, and we still didn't have food, I knew something was wrong with the picture. I mentioned this politely to our server and in a few minutes, here came the chef/owner and I repeated this tale to him. In conclusion, finally our food came, it was great, and they didn't charge us for it....which was the Right Thing, but we didn't get any explanation for the delay. All said, I'd go back there again but not if I had time constraints, as in tickets to something immediately following the meal. Don't think I've ever seen any mention on this board of Sermet's Corner so I'll put in a good word: it's been in its convenient location on the corner of King & Wentworth Sts. for 10-15 years (a good run by C'ton standards), always does a good business for lunch and dinner, food is always tasty, slight Mediterranean influence due to the Turkish chef/owner Sermet, who can always be seen working on the food, but NOT trying to manage the place.

A footnote: with the exception of Hominy Grill, we were always given cloth napkins....lunch and dinner, casual and otherwise.

Edited by foodiehall (log)

CBHall

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I really really wanted to check out Peninsula Grill...but alas, on NYE they were serving only an NYE tasting menu. Ditto for Charleston Grill.

ended up at Magnolia's which was serving ala carte. Not food that I would eat every day but it was all quite tasty. really liked the place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...