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Is there an upscale restaurant in South Carolina


gwilson
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If memory serves correct (which, unlike that TV guy, mine probably doesn't), I read a while back (within past five years, probalby less) about a restaurant in South Carolina that was very upscale - practically fine dining. But it was almost in the middle of nowhere. It was on a somewhat major highway, but it wasn't close to any big cities. And yet somehow, they had a steady business, even had a few Hollywood type semi-regulars. Does this sound at all familiar to anybody?

-Greg

P.S. And don't worry, I'm still working on my little 'project', Melissa.

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Is it the place that Guenther Seeger's recently started? Seems like it's in SC, in what is basically a very very very upmarket B & B. Saw a piece on it recently (within the last few months) in the AJC. It's not open in the summer, as I recall.

I'll look around and see if I can come up with the name, or maybe somebody will beat be to it.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Okay, so The Willcox in Aiken is the place where Seeger's running the restaurant. It's in Aiken, SC, pretty much the back of beyond.

Both Woodlands and The Willcox are members (or whatever they call them) of Relais et Chateaux.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Aiken does not look to be that far from Augusta. Maybe he is using it as a way to attend the Masters every year.

Besides, White table cloth dining is not limited to just big cities. I love the fact that you can find a variety a good food styles and price ranges in out of the way places. I remember being pleasantly suprised while dining in San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize. I remember when finding decent dining in the Napa Valley was not that easy in the early 70's.

I have eaten at Seegar's restaurant in Sandestin Beach Resort Florida and will go back. So dine on.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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It's not the Wilcox place, therese, although I really want to go there. His take on Southern cuisine sounds very good (even though I still haven't been to his namesake here in Atlanta). And he has a restaurant in Sandestin also? I didn't know about that.

And I don't think it's the Woodlands place either, as I remember it being a stand-alone restaurant. Nothing attached to it in anyway.

But like I said, I'm trying to remember something I read in passing a few years back. The article was probably really about a hot dog stand in Outer Mongolia. lol

-Greg

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Weirdly enough, The Willcox may feature a restaurant run by Seeger, or it may not, because at the moment at least, the actuall Willcox web site makes no mention of a restaurant of any sort, much less one run by Seeger (and this site did feature lots of info re the restaurant and Seeger a few months ago).

I'd also not heard about Seeger having restaurant in Sandestin. I've been to his restaurant here in Atlanta several times, and always find it a mixed experience. Fortunately I'm rarely spending my own money.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Simone Rathle's web siteHere is a link to Simonesez that gives a press release on Gunther Seeger's restaurant at the Willcox. I hope this helps with any questions. From reading about the property, I would expect this type of dining here.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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And I don't think it's the Woodlands place either, as I remember it being a stand-alone restaurant.  Nothing attached to it in anyway.

We stayed at the Woodlands for several nights two years ago. (The exact name is Woodlands Resort and Inn.) It's on a huge property -- 20 acres, if I recall correctly -- which is located about 3-4 miles off Interstate 26, in Summerville, SC. Once on the property, you have to drive a bit to get to the main house. So, I suppose the restaurant could be considered "in the middle of nowhere." However, unless things have changed recently, the restaurant was not a "stand-alone." It was on the ground floor of the main house where all the accommodations are located. Btw, in addition to the Woodlands being a member of the Relais & Chateaux group, last year, the restaurant was awarded "Relais Gourmand" status.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I almost hate to let this cat out of the bag, but I think you may be speaking of LaBastide in Travelers Rest ,SC. It is absolutely in the middle of nowhere. My wife and I were looking at property and simply driving around when we stumbled upon a vineyard and inn. I thought it was closed-she, the adventurous type, suggested we go and look and what we found was magnificent.

The inn was a beautiful rustic style with a greenhouse room overlooking the vineyards with a view of Panther Mountain,NC. The service was friendly but impeccable-the server was completely knowledgable about the menu and the wines. He seemed genuinely happy to be working there. He gladly guided us through the intricate menu and watched for signs of delight(he found it by suggesting a soft-shell crab appetizer for me)

The rest of the dining experience was top-notch. The carrot-coriander soup and the goat cheese and filo on the salad were delicious. My wife had the wild salmon with lobster and roe and I had the halibut in puff pastry. The creme brulee was crisp and creamy.

As to the celebrity aspect, the waiter showed us a photo of a recent celeb who had visited with his family. I won't mention who-people deserve to be able to maintain privacy.

It was a huge surprise for both of us.

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  • 1 month later...

I know I'm "Johnny Come Lately' on this - but I think RMChef is on to something. I live in Charleston, and La Bastide is a best kept secret of sorts, but it is in the upstate and is hell and gone from anywhere.

However, if you haven't been to the Woodlands, they have a new chef who is outstanding - the food went up a notch, which is significant considering how good it was before.

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To mention La Bastide and The Woodlands in the same thread is such a disservice to The Woodlands.

I have visited both within the last 60 days and came away from La Bastide VERY disappointed. Woodlands on the other hand, was probably the best meal I’ve ever had.

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I have no idea if Greenville qualifies as in the middle of nowhere, or whether this guy's restaurant would qualify as upscale physically or aesthetically, based on standards you're trying to apply, but I cooked with a chef named John Malik down at Disneyworld this weekend and his dish--sweet potato blini with smoked pork, green tomato chutney, apple cider sauce and creme fraiche--was a special dish, a standout dish at the event, it wasn't something that could be labelled sophisticated, simple or subversive, yet it was all three. It was also great. His restaurant is named 33 Liberty, more info here:

http://www.33liberty.com/

Based on my brief encounter with John at Epcot, this guy is worth a detour because he's a passionate advocate of his craft. The restaurant sounds charming, too: 7 tables, very reasonably priced on its surface, eclectic and interesting wines including some of my favorites, likely on par with other understated gems of a place like Django in Philly or Hugo's in Portland, which those of us in the know knew about before they were outed nationally. It seems John has white tablecloths. I didn't find an actual dinner at 33 Liberty ever discussed on Chowhound, though that's not surprising, nor who could blame me what with having to load and reload the entire archive of posts back to 1998 everytime. On eG I found only one eG comment by Lan4Dawg who said he liked it immensely and also that William McKinney has mentioned it a few times in other eG South Carolina assessment threads, but no real reports of actual delicious dishes, no assessments of what it was like to actually sit at John's chef table, no comments about the very reasonably-priced wine lists, nor how fortunate anyone felt after having a 5 course menu for $50 there in a 7 table restaurant in this supposed culinary also-ran of a town. That's too bad, because if local restaurateurs and independent chefs who aim higher and hit higher marks for individuality and appeal are not appreciated by enough locals, if their virtues are not regularly and specifically extolled in print and on eG, no one wins.

I wish he was cooking closer to Washington, DC so I could just swing by to eat my way through his weekly changing menus.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Although Greenville has its share of naysayers, John Malik is seen by the locals as something particularly special in many respects and 33 Liberty is the best in town, I am told.

Thanks for the background on the Disneyworld weekend cooking ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interestingly enough(to me anyway) we ate at 33 Liberty two days after we visited LaBastide. 33 was terrific. It was everything that was advertised. Food was prepared with great skill with attention to freshness and flavor. John Malik came out and visited with all of his guests. I found him to be quite engaging. It's a charming little bistro (7or 8 tables).

But....

LaBastide gets higher marks on style, location(33 is located in the back of a strip mall in a so-so section of Grenville, while LaBastide has a view of mountains and vineyards).

Other than that 33 Liberty can stand up to anyone.

I spent 27 years working in kitchens. I always hated the thought of someone like me sitting out in the dining room with a critical eye , considering the enormous amount of effort it always took to simply open the door every day. The food business can be a punishing experience.

A very wise Chef once told me that we were in the business of selling memories.

He was right.

John Malik and the chef at LaBastide shold both be extremely proud of their accomplishments. They are both outstanding.

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Welcome to the Southeast Forum of eGullet, RMChef! and for sharing your perceptive and knowledgeable feelings and impressions of 33 Liberty and LaBastide with us here!

Is there a website for the latter which we might be able to access? I have seen that of 33 Liberty ... here

Just located it myself .. dining at La Bastide :biggrin:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sounds a lot like the Woodlands. Located ~30miles north of Charleston. Owned by an obscure English aristocrat (I know someone who used to work there) and affiliated with an international resort consortium that caters to the high, mighty and wealthy. And yes, celebs like it because it is secluded.

Food is outstanding and well worth the trip.

Best,

Ross

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