queenofthefoodage's Recent Reviews
I’ve been to Burwell’s about 4 times now and have had an amazing meal each time. I find that people often overlook this hidden gem (especially locals) simply because it’s located on Market Street, but don’t let that deter you! This isn’t standard tourist fare; this is on par with your favorite Charleston restaurants, as both the bar and the food scene are both on point.
Bartender, pour me another!
The main attraction for coming to Burwell’s is (of course) the hot rocks ($16 – $18). Aka mini grilling at your table. I love this for a number of reasons: 1. It’s super fun 2. You can choose how long you want to leave your steak on (perfect for when I want it medium and my mom wants it weller-than-well-done). How often do you get to go to a fancy restaurant and be encouraged to play with your food??
DO YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKIN’?!
One of my favorite parts of dining at Burwell’s is the complimentary bread you get with your meal. This isn’t your standard sourdough, ohhhh no. This asiago brioche is heavy on the asiago and seemingly light as air. It’s super buttery so you almost don’t need the whipped butter accompaniment (but I’m a Southerner, so I slather it on anyway). Best part: they portion it out to have a the same number of rolls as people sitting at the table. No more fighting over who gets the last piece!
I don’t fight, I just take what I want. And what I want is another one of these cheesy breads.
I’ve tried a good portion of the menu, but I always come back to the deviled eggs (candied bacon, pickled vegetable, gastrique, $10). I’m not sure what they do to them, but they’re bursting with flavor and ridiculously tasty. I could eat 100 of these. I also like they cut them into squares so they don’t wobble all over the plate and make a mess. Plus, they’re easier to eat that way!
Plus, this way they can fit more on the plate.
The Lobster Bisque (when they have it) was one of the best I’ve ever had anywhere, and Lobster isn’t really even a thing in Charleston. It’s the perfect balance of creaminess and lobster flavor that doesn’t overwhelm you with richness.
I confess I may have licked the bowl.
Our waiter recommended that if you like filet mignon (which I do) to try the Wagyu flat iron steak (8 oz, $37), as it’s just as tender but even more flavorful. I was skeptical, but willing to give it a shot and I have to say: he was totally right. My dad ordered the Wagyu Gold Kobe Style Zabuton (8 oz, $38), and kept stealing bites of mine because it was just that good.
Reaching your hand over to my plate is a good way to lose a finger.
Another thing we tried was a new play on the classic pork belly that they were doing the night we visited, which they called the Pork Belly Banana Split (not sure if it’s on the menu, but their classic pork belly runs about $15). It was, in a word, amazeballs. The banana wasn’t too sweet, and the pork belly completely melted in your mouth. It was so tasty. I highly recommend it!
Who knew pork and banana would pair so well together?
My grandmother, being from Massachusetts, had her heart set on a lobster tail (especially after that amazing aforementioned lobster bisque), so she opted for the 2 lobster tails with asparagus, zucchini, peas, and local potato mash ($market price). When the waiter set the plate down in front of her, she exclaimed “there’s no way I’ll be able to eat all of this!” before devouring the entire plate. It was really something to watch. The lobster was perfectly cooked (although she did have to request drawn butter for dipping), and the local potato mash was super creamy and exquisitely savory.
Like all good potatoes are.
One thing that wasn’t my favorite was the breakfast sandwich mac & cheese ($8). Although I appreciate the creativity, I think it’s trying to accomplish too much. They focus so much on the fried poached egg (which is delicious on its own) that the actual cheese sauce in the mac is very much overlooked. Give it a try and judge for yourself.
I’m something of a mac purist.
Those of you with a sweet tooth: rejoice! For Burwell’s also excels in the dessert department. My favorite is the banana bread pudding. It takes all the things you love about banana bread and combines all the things you love about bread pudding, and even if you don’t love either of those things, you will love this, I promise.
It’s served with cinnamon toast crunch. I mean, how can you go wrong with that?!
Also a note about service: The service here is outstanding! The waiters are always super friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and more than happy to make recommendations. I highly recommend Burwell’s!
Hopefully this lets Burwell’s become less of a hidden gem and more of a neighborhood hot spot!
Ok, so I’ve been debating whether or not to actually post this review because I’m torn between wanting to keep Bar Mash all to myself and shouting my love from the not-that-tall rooftops downtown. I finally decided to not be so selfish and go ahead and let you in on a little secret. Bar Mash is amazing. If you follow me on Instagram or Yelp, you’ll see that I’m there all the time (I have a problem). Their cocktails are fantastic, the staff is super cool, the food is tasty, and the atmosphere is comfortable and chill.
Also it’s dark enough that you can get away with not wearing makeup notthativedonethatimjustsaying
If you’ve read my Thrillist article, you already know that I’m mildly obsessed (understatement) with bar manager and mad cocktail scientist Teddy Nixon (and of course I mean that in a fun, adorable, pleasedontgetarestrainingorder kind of way). I could go on and on, but the gist of it is Teddy is awesome and you should have him make some drinks for you.
Like a boss.
The cocktail menu changes with the season, but I’ll showcase some of my favorites below. First up is the Arboretum with Hophead vodka, sage liquor, ginger, lemon, rosemary tincture ($12). It was fresh and refreshing and super delicious. I highly recommend it!
Thanks Caty Cain for the photography skills.
Here’s the Heavy on the Vine (St. George Chili Vodka, Blanco Tequila, lime, Watermelon-Basil shrub, soda, $12), which has a happy little kick to it. Definitely more of a savory cocktail (but in a good way).
I have no idea what watermelon-basil shrub is, but it’s delicious.
So normally when I come into Mash, I tend to just chat with Teddy or Elliot or whoever’s behind the bar and have them freestyle something for me mostly because I don’t understand half the ingredients in their drinks anyway. I just tell them what I like, and before I can say “this isn’t considered stalking is it?” BAM a tasty and refreshing cocktail appears in front of my face. It’s magical.
Here’s a mystery cocktail that I don’t know what it is, but I’m really proud of my photo (and I’m confident that I enjoyed it), so I’m going to showcase it here.
Say, what’s in this drink?
Food is also a great option at Mash. Below, I’ll highlight some of my favorite options. My first favorite is the tater tot poutine ($12), which was just added to the menu this fall. They’re topped with mozzarella curd, smoked pork, roasted tomato gravy, and It’s happiness in a bowl.
Tots + roasted tomato gravy + smoked pork = heaven
Next up, pretzel bites with beer cheese ($7). Super soft, chewy pretzels, and a thick, creamy cheese sauce makes for a picture perfect bar snack.
And they taste pretty good, too.
If you’re trying to err on the side of being healthy, the fried brussels sprouts are a pretty tasty option, too. Topped with a grilled scallion vinaigrette, and parmesan cheese ($10), it’s hard not to scarf these down like popcorn.
They should serve fried brussels at the movie theatre.
A recent find of mine was the fried pickles ($8). These house made pickles are done a little differently from normal, as they’re sliced long ways, before being breaded and fried. They’re also served with black garlic ranch dressing, which is the perfect accompaniment IMO.
And my opinion is clearly the only one that matters.
I’ve also tried the ricotta toast (duck ham, poached egg, oyster mushrooms, persimmon vinaigrette, $12). It’s good, but probably my least favorite of everything I’ve tried. Something about the duck ham just isn’t my cup of tea, but the poached egg on the toast with the creamy ricotta is pretty good on its own!
At least it photographs well!
In addition to their normally great atmosphere, food, and drinks, they often have live music, a killer late night menu, rotating food trucks on Saturday nights, artisan jello shots, daiquiris, bocce, shuffleboard, a huge TV for watching sports games, and probably more stuff that I’m forgetting. *sigh* It’s just the best.
Just go. But make sure you save me a seat at the bar!
I want to start off this post by saying that Zero Restaurant + Bar is probably my favorite restaurant in Charleston. I’ve been 3 times now and each visit was even better than the last (and I didn’t even think that was possible). I’m not sure what Chef Vinson Petrillo is doing back in that kitchen, but it is magical. Recently, they changed up the way they present the menu, with the focus being on more of a pre-fixe, Chef’s tasting menu, which is honestly what I would have ordered anyway. It’s a bit pricy at $125 a person, but for 6 courses and beverage pairings, I think you’re getting a pretty good deal.
Then again, I’m always willing to spend more on something delicious.
Even if you don’t want to stay for dinner or order off the a la carte menu (but you really should), you should definitely stop by the bar and try one of their fantastic cocktails. My favorites are The Red Scare (Agavales Tequila, PAMA, Jack Rudy Grenadine, Habanero Simple Cilantro, Lemon, Lime, $13), which has a great little kick to it, and the Alter Ego (Hendrink’s Gin, Lavender, Lime, Habanero Citrus Foam (Egg White), Burlesque Bitters, $13), which also has a kick to it, but is also so fresh and bright. But you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything on the menu.
My Alter Ego likes to pretend she’s constantly being filmed like in The Truman Show.
When I visited recently, I was joined by my friend (and one of my favorite local foodie bloggers) Marianne of Basil and Bubbly. It’s nice going to eat with a fellow food blogger, as you don’t get the same annoyed stares and sighs as people wait for you to take 15 pictures of 1 dish.
Marianne knows what’s up.
Our first course was the Snacks plate, which consisted of Chef Petrillo’s world famous (or at least they should be) deviled eggs with caviar, a foie gras macaron, a lobster roll bite, and a potted “plant.” Each item was about 2 bites (unless you have a big mouth like me). My favorite was definitely the deviled eggs (which I’ve had before and are always a crowd-pleaser), but the potted plant (puffed red quinoa, housemade butter & heirloom radish) was one of the coolest and most unique things I’ve ever eaten. This course was served with a glass of champagne, which gave the whole thing a very whimsical, Alice in Wonderland-type vibe.
And the presentation can’t be beat!
Course #2 was the Beet Tartare (with encapsulated carrot “yolk,” sorrel, yogurt, warm multigrain), which also caught us by surprise. First of all, who’d have ever thought you could make an egg yolk out of a carrot?! Granted it didn’t taste much like an egg yolk, but it sure looked like one. I’m not usually a fan of beets, but Chef Petrillo smoked them on the Zero grill before serving them to us, which gave the whole dish a touch of smokiness, which completely changed the flavor of the beets that I had been expecting. In fact, if you closed your eyes, you might not have even noticed that this dish was meatless. It was that good.
My brain auto-corrected it to “beef” on the menu anyway, so I was really thrown off when it came out and was purple.
Course #3–probably my favorite of the entire meal–consisted of liquid parmesan tortellini (chanterelle mushroom ragout, late peas, spruce tips). They poured a nice broth over the tortellini at the table, which made the dish an entire experience in and of itself. I love any combination of cheese and noodle, but these soft parmesan pillows were out of this world.
Lord, please let them serve liquid parmesan tortellini in heaven.
Course #4, in contrast, was probably my least favorite dish: roasted snapper with potatoes cooked in seaweed and mussels cooked in whey. It was a perfectly pleasant dish, but nothing about it knocked my socks off (although that could’ve just been because I hadn’t had a chance to put them back on after the tortellini…who’s to say).
Socks are such fickle creatures.
The final of our entree courses was something I’m surprised to say that I’ve never had the pleasure of eating before: Beef Wellington (I know, I know…and I call myself a foodie) with foie gras, caramelized onion, wild mushrooms, and aerated potato. Every bite I took of this dish made me stop and say “wow;” the beef practically melted in your mouth, and the potatoes were so light and airy, they didn’t even seem real. When my plate was finally empty, I went into a bit of a depression that still lingers on to this day.
Beef Wellington, where have you been all my life??
For our dessert course, we were treated to tres leches in Chef Petrillo’s classic style. Young coconut, spongy cake, and honeycomb provided 3 completely different tastes and textures, with an understated sweetness that was very satisfying to the palate. I would 110% order this again.
How many milks do I need to recreate this dish at home.
From the impeccable service to the ambiance of the gorgeous outdoor patio to the expectation-shattering culinary prowess of Chef Vinson Petrillo, Zero Restaurant + Bar will forever hold a special place in my heart. If you ever get a chance to dine here, you should jump on that opportunity posthaste!
Posthaste I say!
At the end of the summer, Virginia’s on King introduced a revamped breakfast menu (served Monday – Friday from 7 – 11 am) that I was lucky enough to sample and review for your pleasure. First of all, I will say that it’s been a good 4 years since I last dined at Virginia’s on King. My last experience was subpar (hence the fact that it took me so long for a repeat visit).
They trick you into thinking you’re dining on the waterfront.
During that time, they got a new head chef, Shane Whiddon, who’s really turned the kitchen around and assured me that my present experience would completely change my perception of the cozy King Street restaurant (spoiler alert: he was right).
Don’t tell him I said that, though.
I was pretty hungry, so I ordered the Fried Chicken & Eggs with white onion gravy ($13) served with your choice of homefries or grits (I chose homefries, because…potatoes); toast or biscuit (biscuit, duh); and 2 eggs of my choice. The fried chicken was amazing–perfectly crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. The gravy was a perfect consistency (not too thin, not too thick), and was bursting with flavor without overwhelming the flavor of the chicken itself.
What it should have also come with was a nap for after I was
The biscuit was so buttery and flaky, I almost didn’t even need to add any more butter to it (but I did anyway, because YOLO). I also really enjoyed the seasonal jam, for a tangy and sweet complement to the biscuit’s savory base.
“Biscuit’s savory base” – New band name. Called it!
My dining partner ordered “The Scone” ($8), and although I don’t typically enjoy sweets for breakfast, I thought this dish was pretty great. It lacked that cloying sweetness that many breakfast pastries have and I loved the complementary flavors offered up by the fresh peaches (fruit changes seasonally).
I used to think scones were lame, but now they’re my fave.
All in all, I am happy to recommend you try breakfast at Virginia’s on King. I think you’ll be surprised at how delicious everything is!
I’ve always been a huge fan of chicken salad. It was pretty much my go-to lunch when I was in high school and I enjoy when restaurants take a little creative leeway with its classic recipe to create something fun and delicious. One of my new favorite spots that does just that is Chicken Salad Chick in Mount Pleasant. I went recently with a friend to give their different offerings a try, and boy were we in for a treat!
Or a whole lot of treats, as it were.
I really wanted to get an accurate feel of the different flavor combos and unique offerings that CSC provides, so we went a little crazy. I’ll break down each dish one-by-one. First up: the Classic Carol, because I wanted to see how their signature original compares with other chicken salads I’ve had. The verdict? It was pretty tasty! A very good consistency, with an impressive amount of flavor, considering its simplicity.
I don’t know who you are, Carol, but you done good.
I personally like a little mixture of flavors and textures in my chicken salad, so we decided to try the Cranberry Kelli (A mixture of dried, sweetened cranberries
& slivered almonds) next. We opted for the “Original Chick” combo, which included a side (we opted for the seasonal salad, made with strawberries and feta cheese. So simple and refreshing!) and a cookie of the day (which was white chocolate macadamia nut on the day we were visiting). I loved the tartness of the cranberry as it complemented the creaminess of the chicken salad, and the almonds added a nice texture change.
Seriously loving these names!
My dining partner took advantage of the Chicken Trio, which comes with (you guessed it) 3 scoops of chicken salads / sides. She opted for the Fancy Nancy (Fuji apples, pecans & seedless grapes), the Sassy Scotty (A zesty blend of ranch, bacon & shredded cheddar cheese), and a scoop of the pimento cheese. Of the two chicken salads, I was most impressed with the Sassy Scotty. I just really loved the combination of flavors and slight smokiness of the bacon. The Fancy Nancy was also fun, and had a nice refreshing note to it, due to the apples and grapes mixed in. The pimento cheese was also pretty tasty, especially with the buttery crackers.
Why try 1 when you can try 3!
For something a little different, we decided to try a sandwich combo with Olivia’s Old South (A southern tradition combining sweet pickles & egg). I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, as I’m definitely not an egg salad fan, but this was surprisingly enjoyable! The pickles gave it a subtle sweetness and tanginess, and the egg made it extra creamy.
Never thought I’d say that!
Finally, we tried the Jazzy Julie (A spicy mixture of cayenne pepper, bacon & shredded cheddar cheese) on croissant. I thought the Jazzy Julie tasted a lot like the buffalo chicken dip my mom makes for tailgate. It had a nice little kick to it, and I loved the combination of flavors on the flaky croissant. We tried the broccoli salad (seen in the back), which I thought was just ok. Nothing to write home about.
But I rarely write home about broccoli.
Finally, I wanted to try a cup of their soup of the day, which was loaded baked potato. It was super creamy and cheesy, just the way I like it. I would come back for this on its own, it was that good.
Do they sell this by the gallon?
All in all, I was super impressed with the food at Chicken Salad Chick. The service was also on point, and the next time I crave chicken salad, you can bet your britches I’ll stop by their Mount Pleasant location. Also, if you’re a chicken salad lover like me, be sure to sign up for their Craving Credits mobile app to earn fun rewards, like free chicken salad!