queenofthefoodage’s Reviews

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posted 
Burwell's Stone Fire GrillBurwell's Stone Fire Grill
American (New) / Steak / Cocktail Bars

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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.

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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??

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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!

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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!

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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.

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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.

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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!

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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.

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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.

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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.

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

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!

 

Burwell's Stone Fire Grill

Hopefully this lets Burwell’s become less of a hidden gem and more of a neighborhood hot spot!

 

 

 

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posted 
MashMash
Cocktail Bars

Mash

Mash

Mash

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.

 

Mash

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.

 

Mash

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!

 

Mash

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).

 

Mash

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.

 

Mash

Accio cocktail!

 

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.

 

Mash

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.

 

Mash

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.

 

Mash

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.

 

Mash

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.

 

Mash

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!

 

Mash

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.

 

Mash

Just go. But make sure you save me a seat at the bar!

 

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posted 

Zero Café + Bar

Zero Café + Bar

Zero Café + 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.

 

Zero Café + Bar

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.

 

Zero Café + Bar

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.

 

Zero Café + Bar

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.

 

Zero Café + Bar

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.

 

Zero Café + Bar

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.

 

Zero Café + Bar

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).

 

Zero Café + Bar

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.

 

Zero Café + Bar

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.

 

Zero Café + Bar

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!

 

Zero Café + Bar

Posthaste I say!

 

 

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posted 
Virginia's on KingVirginia's on King
American (Traditional) / Southern / Diners / Breakfast & Brunch

Wild Olive Salumi Platter

Virginia's on King

Virginia's on King

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.

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.

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.

 

Nap

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!

“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.

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!

 

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posted 
Chicken Salad ChickChicken Salad Chick
Sandwiches / Delis / Salad

Chicken Salad Chick

Chicken Salad Chick

Chicken Salad Chick

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.

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 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.

 

cranberry-kelli

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.

 

nancy-pimento-cheese-scotty

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.

 

olivias-old-south

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.

 

placeholder text

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.

 

loaded-potato-soup

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!

 

chicken-salad-chick-exterior

 

 

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posted 

The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits

The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits

I love that Charleston has had a resurgence in hotel restaurants lately. When I travel, I generally try to avoid hotel restaurants, as I find the food to usually be subpar and overpriced. The hotel restaurants downtown Charleston, however, are a totally different beast, and as a local, I’m more than happy to check in for dinner for the night.

 

I love The Watch because its rooftop is one of the best in Charleston. On a clear night you get breathtaking sunset views and you also get to look into the residential sector of the city and see all the steeples dotting the horizon (hence the moniker The Holy City).

 

the-watch-sunset

Surprisingly not because we’re full of pot holes (although that’s also true).

 

It was raining when we visited, so we had to dine inside rather than out on one of their beautiful patios, but the space was still bright and airy, with lots of khakis, whites, and blues throughout. We started with cocktails. I opted for the Hugo’s Punch (Striped Pig Rum, blueberry, lemonade, $12), which was fantastic. It was fruity without being overwhelming, and sweet without being cloyingly so. I would 100% order this again.

 

hugos-punch

Even if it turns my teeth purple.

 

Caty got the The Copper Still (High Wire Vodka, brandied cherry syrup, ginger beer, $12) which was fantastic. It was basically a twist on a classic Moscow Mule, but the brandied cherry syrup gave it a nice warm feeling.

 

Warms you up from the inside.

Warms you up from the inside.

 

Our first course was the grilled oysters (with fermented garlic butter, lemon, grana padano, and house hot sauce, $ market price), which were fantastic. If you’re not a huge fan of garlic, you won’t care for these, as they don’t hold back (seriously, my breath alone after eating them could kill a vampire). I, however, love garlic and thought they were so tasty. Even Caty who hates oysters thought they were good enough to eat 2.

 

Meanwhile, I ate the other 10

Meanwhile, I ate the other 10

 

Up next, we tried the falafel (tzatziki, cucumber, radish, feta, pickled onion, $11), which I was a huge fan of. I loved that the feta was a bit on the milder side, which helped harmonize with the other flavors of the dish. It was super fresh tasting, thanks to the cucumber and radish, and the little tanginess of the pickled onion paired really well with the creaminess of the tzatziki.

 

This is way more greenery than I usually order with my falafel, but it really works!

This is way more greenery than I usually order with my falafel, but it really works!

 

We paused on the food here to get another couple of drinks. I opted for the Greyhound Cadet (Citaddelle Gin, Grapefruit. St. Germaine, $12) which was a bit sweeter than my previous drink. I liked that it was still nice and summery, and I could see myself sipping this out on the rooftop while watching the sun set over the city.

 

I prefer all my drinks have straws in them.

I prefer all my drinks have straws in them.

 

Caty got The Spoleto (Virgil Kaine Ginger Bourbon, Fernet Rinse, Lemon Shrub, $12) which was probably our least favorite of the night. It was so much stronger tasting than the beautiful and light cocktails we’d gotten earlier, and it just didn’t mesh with our main courses.

 

Caty likes all her cocktails in old timey champagne glasses.

And also I just don’t really like Fernet.

 

Speaking of main courses, I have to confess something to you: I’ve never ordered shrimp and grits in Charleston. I’ve eaten a number of them before, but on principle, I refuse to order this quintessential dish because it just feels so played out to me. If you’ve had it once, you’ve had it 1,000 times, I’ve thought to myself on more than one occasion. Well let me tell you: the shrimp and grits at The Watch (local shrimp, Geechie Boy Mill grits, caramelized Vidalias, tomato and bacon gravy, $27) were the best I’ve ever had. The shrimp were cooked perfectly, the grits were cheesy and creamy, and the tomato bacon gravy was out of this world.

 

Life-changing shrimp and grits.

Life-changing shrimp and grits.

 

You’d think because Caty’s shrimp & grits were so delicious that I’d have been disappointed in my dinner, but you’d be wrong. I opted for the fish of the moment (grilled local fish, jumbo lump crab succotash, lemon beurre fondue, $29). I’m a sucker for succotash, so I thought it was a great accompaniment, to the perfectly cooked and seasoned tilefish. But what made this dish truly amazing was the lemon beurre fondue, which was truly delectable. It had just a hint of citrus, with a depth of flavor that made me want to slurp it up by the spoonful.

 

I've never been so excited about fish before.

I’ve never been so excited about fish before.

 

For dessert, we capped off with the Sticky Toffee Pudding (pecan crumble, ice cream, toffee sauce, $8). It was just about as sweet as it looked, but I’m glad we had the vanilla ice cream to tone it down a bit. I still thought it was delicious, and we managed to devour pretty much the entire thing, despite being extremely full from our large meal.

 

"Sticky toffee pudding" makes me think of Christmas for some reason

“Sticky toffee pudding” makes me think of Christmas for some reason

 

All in all, I would recommend trying The Watch out for dinner. Get the shrimp and grits, and try to come on a clear day right around sunset. You won’t regret it!

 

Just watch what happens!

Just watch what happens! Did you see what I did there??

 

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posted 
Coda del PesceCoda del Pesce
American (New) / Italian

snob

round-2

fire-street-food

There aren’t a lot of things that will convince me to drive 40 minutes out to Isle of Palms in the offseason, but I’m about to add Coda del Pesce to the list of things that make the cut. The adorable and artfully designed restaurant is cozy without feeling cramped and OMG those views of the ocean. It doesn’t get any better than this.

 

**Heaven**

**Heaven**

 

I’ve recently started to get a lot more into seafood, and seafood lovers will definitely be pleased with anything they order at Coda. Coda del Pesce (which translates to “tail of the fish” in Italian) is helmed by Chef Ken Vedrinski (also of Trattoria Lucca downtown), and you can rest assured that everything coming out of this kitchen will be fresh, flavorful, and perfectly done.

 

So pretty and blue and pretty!

So pretty and blue and pretty!

 

Being an adventurous and indecisive eater, I decided to go with chef’s 4-course tasting menu, which features dishes both on and off the menu and offers a truly unique dining experience. I love ordering this way, as it forces me out of my comfort zone and helps me expand my culinary horizons. The first course was a crudo quartet, featuring 4 different cuts of fish prepared completely differently. Crudo is one of Chef Vedrinski’s specialties, so it was unsurprising that it was completely delicious.

 

4 fish are better than 3 fish.

4 fish are better than 3 fish.

 

Next up, a shrimp spaghetti with whole wheat pasta, fresh artichokes, and lemon in an anchovy sauce. I was concerned that the anchovy sauce would make it super fishy and salty tasting, but instead it was like a really deeply flavored garlic-butter-lemon sauce. It was a dream.

 

I usually avoid things with anchovies in them, but this was too tasty to pass up.

I usually avoid things with anchovies  in them, but this was too tasty to pass up.

 

For the main entrée, Chef prepared a triggerfish scallopini with potato and onion. I loved how the fish was wonderfully crispy on the outside and perfectly moist and flaky on the inside. Basically exactly how you want a piece of fried fish to taste. The accompainaments were also delightful, and the potatoes practically melted in your mouth. The lemon sauce was perfect with the fish and I kind of wish they’d bottle it and let me put it on more things. It’s that good.

 

That sauce, tho.

That sauce, tho.

 

For dessert, I had just enough room in my stomach for Chef’s butterscotch budino with dark chocolate shavings. It was decadent but I was very thankful it was on the lighter side after such a heavy meal. I highly recommend this dessert!

 

I mean, as light as can be with a dessert.

I mean, as light as can be with a dessert.

 

TL;DR: If you love Italian food and seafood, it really doesn’t get any better than Coda del Pesce. Plus, you really can’t beat the gorgeous views of the Atlantic ocean right from the dining room. It’s totally worth the drive to IOP.

 

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posted 
Le FarfalleLe Farfalle
Italian / Tapas/Small Plates / Wine Bars

Chef Michael Toscano and Caitlin Toscano have opened Le Farfalle, a modern Italian Osteria serving regional fare, in the heart of downtown.  Located just off of bustling King Street, at 15 Beaufain, the restaurant is their debut project since relocating to Charleston last year; and after having both worked at some of the top Italian establishments in New York City.

 

Farfalle-44

 

The menu at Le Farfalle showcases various regions throughout Italy, as well as ingredients bountiful to the South. Dinner service offers diners an array of small plates and mains, including pastas, vegetables and salads. The Warm Rosemary Focaccia offered during bread service is made in-house daily. Standout small plates include: Ceci in Umido: Umbrian style stewed chickpeas, preserved lemon, allepo pepper with a crusty baguette; Octopus Carpaccio with roasted tomatoes, pickled eggplant and Fett’unta. Pastas—made in-house daily, include Gnocchi al Telefono with roasted eggplant, tomato, basil and cheddar cheese curd, while main courses are on the more decadent side, featuring Porchetta with grilled scallions, pepperonata, and pickled cherry glassato; and a 24 oz. prime aged porterhouse Bistecca Fiorentina for two, from DiBragga in NYC, with fagioli misti, lettuces and salsa verde, among others.

 

Farfalle-53

 

Special care for sourcing ingredients, from local produce, to grains, and sustainably sourced seafood, is of great importance to the Toscano’s. In addition to being produced in-house daily, much of the pasta is being made from locally sourced Anson Mills grains that are being milled by hand at the restaurant. Toasted buckwheat is highlighted in Michael’s take on Cacio e Pepe, Buckwheat Capunti with corn, scallions pecorino and black pepper, while sorghum is used to make orecchiette, which is paired with pork shoulder, zipper peas, mustard greens and chili, in the dish Sorghum Orecchiette.  Scialatielli, a thick and short fettuccine-like pasta indigenous to the Amalfi Coast, made simply with milk and flour, makes an appearance on the menu as well. As for seafood, shrimp is sourced from Tarvin Seafood on Shem Creek, littleneck clams from Andrew Hiser of Hiser Sea Farms on the Isle of Palms, and additional local catches will appear on the menu from Mark Marhefka of Abundant Seafood.

 

Farfalle1-1

 

In addition to some of the small plates, lunch service offers a variety of salads and sandwiches, such as the Le Farfalle Oxtail Burger, a signature blend of beef, rosemary-garlic cheese, grilled onion and porcini mustard; and the Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with confit tuna, faro and walnut pesto. While brunch goes the more traditional route, including Avocado Toast with soft boiled eggs, chili flake, cherry tomatoes and scallions; Frittata with shiitake mushrooms, shallots, spinach, arugula and ricotta salata; and Waffled Hash Browns with smoked salmon, salmon roe, avocado and soft scrambled eggs.

 

Farfalle1-18

 

Ending on a sweet note, dessert is classic Italian with dishes such as Grappa Chocolate Cake with amarena cherries, coconut and pistachio; Pine nut Crostata alla Gina DePalma (in memory of the legendary pastry chef) with crème fraiche gelato; and Affogato, a fior di latte gelato covered in espresso and served with rosemary chocolate chunk and hazelnut shortbread cookies.

 

Farfalle-76

 

Those looking to imbibe at Le Farfalle, have many options to choose from under the guidance of Bar Director Brad Goocher, formerly of Lantern’s Keep and The NOMAD. An extensive selection of wines—half of which hail from Italy—are available by the glass and bottle, as well as local beers from the breweries of Westbrook, Freehouse and Holy City. On the cocktail front, a sampling of the libations include The Troublemaker with vodka, Italian vermouth, lemon and strawberry-cucumber soda; Remember the Alimony with Navy-Strength gin, Fino sherry and Cynar; and Olen’s Old Fashioned with bourbon, madeira, salted maple and walnut bitters. Diners can also expect to see a handful of amazing locally distilled spirits, house-made limoncello and house-infused grappas, as well as thoughtfully constructed soft cocktails, including house Pineapple Ginger Beer, Cucumber-Mint Lemonade, Watermelon Basil Shrub and Orange Cream Fizz.

 

Farfalle-62

 

Le Farfalle will be open Monday – Friday, from 11:00AM – 11:00PM, and 10:00AM -11:00PM on Saturday and Sunday, with dinner service from 5:30 – 11:00PM daily. Happy hour is weekdays from 5:30 – 6:30PM.  Lunch and brunch service will begin in two weeks as follows: Lunch will be served weekdays, from 11:00AM – 2:30PM, while brunch will be served on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10:00AM – 2:30PM. A limited bar and garden menu will also be served daily between the hours of 2:30 – 5:30PM, with Happy Hour changing from 3:30PM-6:30PM on weekdays, once lunch service begins. Reservations can be made in advance for the indoor dining room via Resy, and the day of for outdoor seating (weather permitting).  Street parking is available, as is access to two nearby garages. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.lefarfallecharleston.com, or by calling (843) 212-0920.

 

Le Farfalle

 

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veggie-crawl-2

I can see myself spending lots of time out here.

13119904_1061896820542537_8917​164479525516397_o

On Thursday, July 7, Crust Wood Fired Pizza opened its second location at 1097 N. Main Street in Summerville. Chef John Roskowski helms the kitchen as executive chef, with Chef Dusty Chorvat of Crust’s James Island location overseeing the menu. The new location will bring the same focus on fresh, seasonal preparations of wood fired pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, salads and handcrafted desserts that diners have come to expect from Crust.

 

crust-summerville

 

In the 2,700-square-foot space, the Summerville location will offer dining room, chef’s counter and bar seating, as well as 22 seats on an outdoor, screened-in patio with access to the bar. The beverage program will consist of draft and bottled beer, wine by the glass and bottle, house made cocktails and a variety of soft drinks.

 

crust-summerville-2

 

While diners will recognize many familiar dishes from the James Island location, there will also be a few additions unique to the Summerville menu, including pizza by the slice and the “County Line” burger. Crust’s pizza by the slice will be available individually and as part of a lunch special, which includes a small salad, drink and your choice of cheese or margherita slice for $9. Diners can add vegetables to their slice for $0.50 or meats for $1. The burger will available at lunch and dinner service, priced at $9 for a single patty and $11 for a double patty, and will be served with a side of handcut fries.

 

“We’re excited to bring Crust’s fresh, seasonal approach to wood fired pizzas and pastas to Summerville,” says owner Steve Watkins, “and look forward to becoming part of the community here.”

 

The Summerville location will be open daily for lunch and dinner service. Operating hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The restaurant can be reached by calling 843.285.9157, and takeout orders can be placed by calling the same line.

 

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posted 

Every Sunday from 11am to 3pm,  guests can indulge in some seriously delicious brunch eats while jamming out to tunes in the gorgeous courtyard at Cannon Green. “Beats + Brunch” combines executive chef, Amalia Scatena’s lowcountry cuisine with the musical stylings of DJ NattyHeavy.

 

beats-brunch-2

 

Popular dishes include Amalia’s  fried chicken sandwich on brioche with housemade pickles and locally-sourced blackened shrimp and grits, finished off with a chimichurri sauce. For this Sunday Funday destination, reservations have become a must and it wouldn’t be a party without DJ NattyHeavy live spinning his “Miami Mimosa” music from the balcony.

 

Cannon Green

 

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posted 
WasabiWasabi
Japanese / Asian Fusion / Sushi

Sorry it's out of focus. Ben was very impatient

Next time, I want to try the vegan spinach & artichoke dip.

boston-restaurants

If your only interaction with Wasabi was the former CofC hotspot on Market Street, then you haven’t really tried Wasabi. When someone first suggested dining at Wasabi in Mount Pleasant, I was a little hesitant, remembering back to my college days where the only real appeal was cheap drinks and half off rolls. The sushi at Wasabi downtown was nothing to write home about, but the experience I had at Wasabi Mount Pleasant–which is owned and operated by a different guy than the one downtown–quite literally changed the way I think about sushi. If I’m feeling melodramatic, I might even say it changed my life. 

 

lol

 

It’s quite a trek out to Mount Pleasant, but trust me, it’s completely worth it. I sat at the sushi counter (if you’ve never eaten sushi at a sushi counter, you need to change the way you’re living your life), and was feeling extra hungry and adventurous and decided to go with the Omakase selection, aka the Chef’s Choice (price varies from $20 – $35). Chef Johnny Chan, who was trained on the art of sushi in Japan, was working the sushi counter, so I knew I was in for a real treat. Watching him slice the cucumber with the precision of a surgeon was enchanting to watch, especially knowing that if I tried to replicate his technique at home, I’d end up needing stitches.

 

Slicing Cucumber

 

After I ordered my drink (sake, because duh), I was handed a warm, wet towel with which to wipe my hands. Traditional Japanese sushi eating technique is to use your hands, rather than chopsticks, so this helps clean your mitts before you start manhandling all the delicious fish coming your way.

 

nn

nn

 

My first course was more of an amuse bouche, using the thinly sliced cucumber as a wrapper, with fresh snow crab legs and daikon sprouts with a rice vinegar sauce. If you are used to fake crab in your sushi, the flavor of real crab will blow your mind. It’s so much richer and more flavorful, and the texture is much more appealing. I also loved how beautiful this dish was. Chef Chan commented “Japanese and French cooking are very similar in that they both focus on presentation first.” One glance at this plate and you’ll know exactly what he means.

 

Cucumber Crab Roll

 

Next, Chef started preparing a plate of mixed Sashimi, which I usually tend to shy away from because I am lame. There’s really no excuse other than that I am one of those lame-o’s who’ve only ever really been exposed to Americanized sushi. Chef explained that when you go to Japan and order sushi, what you’ll be served is sashimi (sliced fish) or nigiri (sliced fish over molded rice), and that the rolls we know and love here are really not as popular. I watch, mesmerized, as Chef pulled out a little fire gun to char one of the fish he served me. Each fish got its own presentation and flavor accoutrements and were like little works of art.

 

m,

m,

 

First, hamachi (Yellowtail) with a slice of serrano pepper.

 

Hamachi

Hamachi

 

Then marinated salmon with fresh salmon roe.

 

IMG_1912

 

Then Saba (Japanese mackerel) with a slice of lemon and pickled ginger

 

IMG_1913

 

Followed by Bluefin tuna (imported from Japan) with soy sauce and pickled wasabi.

 

IMG_1914

 

Finally, there was kanpachi (young yellowtail) with citrus sauce, flying fish eggs, green tea sea salt, and truffle oil. I think this is truly what it feels like to be royalty. Although they were all amazing and rich and full of depth, my favorite was the kanpachi, AKA young yellowtail, as it was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. It was creamy and buttery and practically melted in my mouth. The hint of truffle oil was just enough to complement the natural flavor of the fish, without going overboard. I was in heaven.

 

IMG_1915

 

To complement the sushi, Chef also ground up some fresh wasabi root (which looks like it came from outer space). I’m not a fan of wasabi that typically comes with sushi. Chef informed me that this wasabi is usually made from a powder, with lots of flavorings, and that true wasabi doesn’t taste like that at all. And he was right! Yes, it does have a bit of that clear-your-sinuses feeling we all associate with the green condiment, but this wasabi was oaky and nutty, and it doesn’t linger. Now I’m a fan.

 

Wasabi

 

Since I’d never had uni (sea urchin) before, Chef suggested I give it a try. It was imported from Santa Barbara (Chef Chan says that the best Uni comes from Santa Barbara) and he was so excited that I was willing to try it. I went in very afraid, but his enthusiasm was intoxicating (or maybe it was the sake)… either way, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a very unique flavor; it’s sweet and creamy and salty all at the same time. I have to say…it’s definitely an acquired taste, though. The texture is not my favorite. It’s not quite a liquid, not quite a solid. It was very perplexing. I suggest you give it a try to understand it for yourself.

 

Uni

 

Chef had me try it again mixed with tuna and truffle soy sauce and a gold flake on a nori chip, “like a taco!” he said enthusiastically, and I was a much bigger fan of this presentation. The crunchiness of the nori chip softened the strange texture of the uni.

 

Uni Tuna Taco

 

One of the things that really impressed me about Wasabi was the sushi rice. I’ve been to some places where the sushi rice is so dry that it sucks all the liquid out of your mouth, and you have to completely soak your sushi in soy sauce in order to palate it. Wasabi is not like that. Chef informed me that sushi rice is meant to be eaten at the same temperature as the interior of your mouth, so they keep it warm until it’s ready to be served. They also put a lot of work into flavoring the rice itself, since it is the base of pretty much every piece of sushi they serve, which I really appreciate. Chef demonstrated the importance of sushi rice by serving me a few pieces of nigiri, which I was really excited about because that meant I got to eat with my hands. First, madai, aka Japanese snapper.

 

IMG_1916

 

Next, chef got out the blowtorch again to sear a scallop (hotategai) for scallop nigiri. Scallops aren’t always my favorite, but these Japanese scallops were amazing. Plus, I like it when they’re a little more on the raw side, and the char from the blowtorch gave it a nice smokiness.

 

Scallop

 

Perhaps one of my favorite things Chef made for me, was the salmon belly. It was sinfully rich and flavorful. I wanted to cry when I was eating it, it was so good. It doesn’t have that typical salmon flavor, it was something else entirely. I’m getting wistful just thinking about it.

 

IMG_1927

 

The kanpachi, aka young yellowtail, was equally delicious over rice, and still rich and flavorful, just not as flavorful as the salmon belly.

 

Kanpachi

 

Since he knew my obsession with tuna, he also threw in a piece of bluefin tuna nigiri. Blue fin tuna is a classic. You can’t go wrong.

 

bluefin nigiri

 

To continue my tuna education, Chef excitedly prepared two versions of the same piece of fish, Toro, the belly of the bluefin tuna. The first was prepared normally, with just a little soy sauce, which just melted in your mouth. It was fantastic.

 

Toro

 

The second, however, was served with black charcoal soy sauce and chef seared the fish with the blowtorch. There was a little more bitterness from the charcoal, but it paired extremely well with the smoky flavor left from the fire gun. Even though it was cooked a bit more, it was still very tender and delicious.

 

Toro 2

 

To give me a taste of what Wasabi has to offer outside of the sushi realm, Chef prepared his Seabass Saikyoyaki, a roasted Chilean Seabass, marinated in a sweet miso sauce, accompanied by grilled veggies ($28). The fish was cooked perfectly, and the miso sauce was very unique.

 

Seabass Saikyoyaki

 

My final course was a brand new American-style sushi roll that Chef wanted me to try, since he knows I love sushi rolls (so for those of you not brave enough to try nigiri, this might be more your style). It was a tempura lobster roll with snow crab, pineapple, and asparagus inside. The whole roll was then tempura fried and served over a bowl of red curry sauce. I’m pretty sure they tapped into my brain to create this roll because it was basically all of my favorite things. It was bursting with flavor, and the hint of pineapple made it taste just like summertime. It didn’t have a name as of my visit, but I really hope they named it The Queen roll in honor of me and my giant ego. Time will tell.

 

Tempura Lobster Roll

 

If you haven’t been to Wasabi Mount Pleasant or Wasabi Daniel Island (both of which are owned and operated by Chef Chan and his awesome staff), you’re really missing out. Get out there and eat some sushi!

 

IMG_1896

 

 

 

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posted 
ÉlevéÉlevé
American (New) / Cocktail Bars

Élevé

Gotta give 'em props for the name, though!

"X" marks the spot where I'm going to start shoveling food into my face.

 

Sampling a new spring bev

That eagle’s coming for my drink!

 

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to try the new spring menu at the Grand Bohemian’s restaurant Élevé. The evening started with some of their new cocktails in the art gallery that featured both local and international art. The Bohemian Bramble cocktail, made with Old Tom Gin, House Made Limoncello, and Creme de Cassis was tart and refreshing and would be perfect for sipping on a hot summer night.

 

Don't mind if I do.

Don’t mind if I do.

 

After viewing the beautiful art, we headed into the wine blending room to have the sommelier explain what they do. Even before hearing that the wine blending room in a hotel is the first in the world, I was hooked and definitely want to attend a wine blending evening. After you create your own perfect blend, they’ll cork it and put your label on it.

 

Wine blending room

 

We went upstairs to look at one of the hotel rooms that overlooks the art garden before heading to dinner upstairs on a private terrace with a view overlooking the rooftops of downtown. The rooms were surprisingly art-deco and very different from your standard hotel rooms. We’re talking velvet headboards, cool lamps, and lots of art.

 

I want that pillow in my house.

I want that pillow in my house.

 

Before the food started to appear, Chef Rayley came to introduce himself and explain the dishes and what he did to create the magic behind each dish.

 

Spring menu

Glass of wine with dinner. A preview of the full menu for the night.

 

We started with an amuse bouche (fancy word for “little hors d’oeuvre”) of strawberry soup. It was made with SC buttermilk, sunflower, cucumber, cilantro, and sorrel and paired with a brut prosecco. I’ve never had a strawberry soup before, but this was a great way to start the dinner. The creamy buttermilk helped to cut the acidity of the strawberry and cucumber and the bubbles from the prosecco helped tie the whole dish together.

 

Strawberry soup

I feel like a 10 year old, but “amuse bouche” makes me giggle a little.

 

Our 1st course was an heirloom tomato salad with yellow beet vinaigrette, spring onions, and frico, and paired with a Sancerre white wine. If you know me, you know I don’t like tomatoes. But these were not your average tomatoes. They were crisp and juicy and had a very different flavor than your average tom. The aged Parmesan added texture and crunchiness to the dish.

 

This dish made me wish I liked tomatoes.

This dish made me wish I liked tomatoes.

 

Our 2nd course was a roasted Carolina Sheepshead with leeks, wild SC shrimp, and shellfish bourride paired with a Pouilly-Fuissé white wine. The Sheepshead was so light and flaky and didn’t have a super fishy flavor, it resembled more of shellfish.

 

Roasted Carolina Sheepshead

FYI sheepshead is a fish and not actually the head of a sheep.

 

The 3rd course was a 130-degree eye of beef rib, served with Bates Farm asparagus, Palmetto sweet potato, and poached baby root vegetables, served with a Cuvee Raphael red wine. The beef was tender, juicy and seared perfectly with a slight crispiness along the outside. Paired with the perfectly cooked vegetables and the red wine, it was a great dish.

 

Eye of beef rib

Beef Ribs > Pork Ribs

 

Our dessert course was a Jersey Milk & raw honey panna cotta with SC strawberries and Anson Mills oats. It was served with a moscato d’asti and I ate the entire thing. Almost licked the glass. The panna cotta was creamy and melted in your mouth. The oats and strawberries added a nice sweetness and crunchiness to the dish and the bubbles paired great with it.

 

It's in a glass, so I can just sip it, right?

It’s in a glass, so I can just sip it, right?

 

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by the entire evening. Each dish had something unique about it and was light and refreshing, which is perfect for this spring. The wine pairing for each dish went perfectly and helped highlight the flavors of the food. I love Élevé’s effort to use fresh, local foods in their dishes. It really makes a difference in not only the taste of the dish, but it also helps the community grow.

 

ggg

Plus, there’s lots of fun artwork to see inside!

 

I would recommend going to The Grand Bohemian to take a look around if you haven’t yet. The décor is very colorful and fun for a hotel, which surprised me. I would also recommend eating at the restaurant or if you aren’t interested in a full meal, they’re having a weekly series of cocktails on the balcony on Fridays. I can’t wait to go back and participate in the events!

 

Or just to sit on this beautiful balcony.

Or just to sit on this beautiful balcony.

 

 

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posted 

 

Bohemian Bull has introduced a new Spring menu, featuring new innovative items for lunch and dinner, as well as the classic Bohemian Bull favorites.

 

e282afec-dd57-4434-a208-8c97db27983f

Pub Nachos

 

New additions to the Bohemian Bull menu include Pub Nachos, Honey Siracha and Garlic Parmesan Sauced Wings, Jerk Dry Rub Wings, The Maybank Salad, Walnut Pesto Cream Pasta and more.

 

5e6a7576-c936-4fe1-bcb2-6a924b6712b9

Walnut Pesto Cream Pasta

 

The menu also features new Adult Desserts including Brandy Alexander Chocolate Chip and Grasshopper Mint Ice Cream, Coney Island Root Beer Float and Adult’s Margarita Popsicle.

 

Burger

New Wing Flavors

 

Bohemian Bull has also added a new burger, The “Son of a Southern Burger” to their list of fresh, hand-spanked burgers. The “Son of a Southern Burger” is made with pickled okra, pepper jack pimento cheese, slaw, and Chipotle BBQ.

 

Bohemian Bull

Son of a Southern Burger

 

In addition to the new food items, Bohemian Bull also added two new Spring cocktails to their cocktail list including the Strawberry Rye Mojito made with house infused strawberry rye whiskey, fresh mint, lime juice, simple syrup, and soda water and Kiwi Collision with house infused cucumber gin, fresh kiwi, lime juice, and soda water. To learn more about Bohemian Bull and to view the full new menu, please visit BohemianBull.com or find them on Facebook at Bohemian Bull.

 

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    • 5.0
  • Meal price: $20 - $29

The atmosphere at Rose’s Luxury is quaint and cozy, and you feel almost like you’re dining at the home of one of your friends. It’s recommended that you start lining up at 4 pm (the restaurant opens at 5) in order to get a good table (especially on a Friday or Saturday night). Not many places are worth spending an hour waiting in line, but Rose’s is definitely one that lives up to the hype! The food is inventive and delicious and your meal will not likely be one to forget! The cacio e pepe is my absolute favorite, but the goat curry with Carolina Gold rice was also a surprise hit with our dining group. The chicken fried oyster practically melted in your mouth, so I highly recommend that if you eat oysters. The crispy pig’s ear salad was also surprisingly good; the pig ears are fried so they’re super crispy. If I had a whole bowl of them at home, I’d eat those instead of popcorn during movie night! We tried a few of the drinks up at the upstairs bar. The bartenders were friendly and fun to talk to and they were slinging some pretty delicious cocktails. My favorite was probably the drink with tequila and jalapeño, which was the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. The only thing we weren’t crazy about was the tiramisu with powdered bay leaf. It was a little too adventurous and tasted like tiramisu mixed with lawn clippings. However, I’ve had their homemade ice cream in the past, and that’s always a delicious choice!

  • Cacio e Pepe! 615464
  • Weird green tiramisu 615510
  • Delicious and spicy rigatoni 615511
  • Carrots with fried onions 615512
  • Delicious cocktail 615513
  • Melt-in-your-mouth chicken fried oyster 615514
  • Orange salad 615515
posted 
The DarlingThe Darling
Seafood / Cocktail Bars / Live/Raw Food

 

The Darling is King Street’s newest seafood offering, taking over the former Union Provisions space. The one time I visited Union Provisions, I was very disappointed; so when I walked into The Darling, I was a little wary and curious to see if they could succeed where UP so clearly failed. I’ve been twice now and I have to say, The Darling is a huge improvement, and a great option for affordable seafood on King Street.

 

How could it not be with a name like "Basil Daisy?!"

Love those lights above the bar!

 

The first time I visited was with TQuizzle  for their media dinner. We went all out and tried a little bit of everything on the menu. First, the drinks: Syd had the Basil Daisy (Wodka Vodka, Aperol, Fresh Squeezed Lemon, Sugar, Fresh Basil, $9) which was light and refreshing.

 

Like summertime in a glass!

How could it not be with a name like “Basil Daisy?!”

 

I went the more Caribbean route with the Bermuda Swizzle (Goslings Gold Rum, Falernum, Ginger, Fresh Squeezed Pineapples and Oranges, $9). It tasted just like a drink I’d want to sip on while lounging on the beach in the Bahamas.

 

Not to be confused with a Pokeball, which is not food.

Like summertime in a glass!

 

Next, the food. We wanted to get a good idea of all the different things on the menu, so we kind of went all over the place. From the raw bar, we started with the Tuna Poke (White Grapes, Shoyu, Sesame Seed, $13). Having been to Hawaii a bunch, TQuizzle was not super impressed with this version of a poke bowl; she wasn’t a huge fan of the grapes. I, however, thought the grapes were a really cool contrast to the big ole chunks of tuna. Granted, this was my first poke experience.

 

Do not order this if you don't like Grapefruit.

Not to be confused with a Pokeball, which is not food.

 

Also from the raw bar, we tried the King Crab Parfait (Avocado, Grapefruit, Sourdough Crumble,
Herb Pistou, $15), which I was a little underwhelmed by. The dish relied heavily on avocado and grapefruit, and it was served as more of a dip than what I was expecting. The flavor was lacking a little bit of depth for the price point.

 

Plus, it's so colorful and pretty!

Do not order this if you don’t like Grapefruit.

 

From the regular menu, we decided to be adventurous and try the Snapper Toast (Potato, Pickled Red Onion, Country Ham, Sourdough, $7), which ended up being one of our favorite things we tried. The bread was buttery and had a nice crunch to it. The pickled red onion gave a bit of acidity and complemented the creaminess of the potato and snapper. Definitely not something I would normally order, but I’m really glad I tried it!

 

Served on a bed of salt and in the shape of a Palmetto Tree, which I thought was adorable (although

Plus, it’s so colorful and pretty! Also, this picture came from my second visit because I ordered it twice.

 

TQuizzle isn’t much of an oyster person, but I am, so I ordered the Baked Oysters with Pimento & Sourdough Soppers ($9 for 3 oysters). If pimento isn’t your thing, the baked oysters also come with maitre’d butter & breadcrumbs for a more traditional offering. I really enjoyed the pimento oysters; they were decadent and very flavorful.

 

There are few foods that aren't improved by putting them over french fries.

Served on a bed of salt and in the shape of a Palmetto Tree, which I thought was adorable (although I’m not sure if they did that on purpose or not).

 

Speaking of decadent and flavorful, we couldn’t resist trying The Darling’s take on a poutine: the Clam Chowder over house cut fries (Local Clams, Vegetables, Sourdough, $9 for just the chowder, $10 over fries). Wow. These were exceptional. They bring a little gravy bowl of clam chowder to the table and pour it over your fries right in front of you (watch the video here), which I really appreciate because it prevents the fries from getting soggy before they’re even served to you.

 

And "bombolini" is such a fun word to say.

There are few foods that aren’t improved by putting them over french fries.

 

To finish, we decided to try a couple of the options on the dessert menu. TQuizzle opted for the Bombolini (Doughnut, Lemon Curd, Fruit Preserves, $8), which she really enjoyed. They were light and fluffy little donut balls and I really liked the fruit preserves that came with them.

 

I love chocolate, but I don't love cake. I'm an enigma.

And “bombolini” is such a fun word to say.

 

Since I can never say no to anything chocolate, I opted for the Chocolate Cake Bowl (Buttermilk Anglaise, Toasted Peanuts, Chocolate Sauce, $8). If you like chocolate and cake, you’ll like this. My only complaint was that the cake was a little dry.

 

And the devil monkey on my shoulder tried to convince me to.

I love chocolate, but I don’t love cake. I’m an enigma.

 

On my second visit, I met my friend Basil & Bubbly for happy hour. We sat at the bar and annoyed the bartenders with our constant photography. I started with the  Shoulder Monkey (Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Grilled Pineapple and Sage Syrup, Orgeat, Lemon, $9), which was so tasty. I loved the how the tartness of the pineapple cancelled out any of the alcoholic taste from the scotch. I could drink this all night long.

 

For the rice cakes alone.

And the devil monkey on my shoulder tried to convince me to.

 

We split an order of the Creole Shrimp (Anson Mills Rice Cakes, Mustard, Bacon, $11), which was fantastic. I’m not sure what they put in those rice cakes, but I want that secret recipe. I’ve never had shrimp that tasted so good. Definitely give this dish a try!

 

"If you like Sherry Coladas..."

For the rice cakes alone.

 

For our second round of drinks, B&B got the Sherry-Colada (Lustau Cream Sherry, Coconut Cream, Fresh Pineapple, Angostura Bitters, $9), which I was a little afraid to try since a drink with Sherry as the base sounded a little strange to me. As it turns out, I was a silly goose because that drink was really delicious. It was light and also tasted like something you’d want to drink while on a beach somewhere.

 

Looks can be deceiving, because this puppy is strong.

“If you like Sherry Coladas…”

 

My second cocktail was the Smoke on the Harbor (Goslings Gold Rum, Lime, Sugar, Compass Box Peat Monster Scotch Rinse, $9), which was a self-proclaimed unique twist on a classic daiquiri. I loved it. It was totally unique and unlike any other daiquiri I’ve had before. Not sweet, but not savory. I highly recommend giving it a try. The cocktails at The Darling are legit. I haven’t had a single one I didn’t like.

 

ice not salt

Looks can be deceiving, because this puppy is strong.

 

To go with our second round of drinks, we decided to split the Lobster Cocktail (Mango, Endive, Lemon Herb Vinaigrette, $14), which was a huge success. The lobster was very tender and not chewy at all. The lemon herb vinaigrette was fresh and with the mango, offered just the perfect amount of citrus to complement the shellfish.

 

Coconut ice cream is bae.

This time, it was served on a bed of ice (not salt. even though they look the same).

 

The bartender was really talking up the Warm Date Oat Cake (Coconut Ice Cream, Caramel, $7), as “the dessert people come here to try. It’s what everyone orders,” so we decided to give it a try. Considering that most oat-based desserts tend to not be as sweet, I was really taken aback by how cloyingly sweet this was. I liked the caramel, but it packs a punch. It had the consistency of a really fat sugar cookie, with a firm outer shell and a nice chewy inside, which I really liked (see my aforementioned cake comment). The coconut ice cream was really subtle, and was not nearly as sweet as the caramel, which I was glad for. Overall, a very pleasant dessert if you’re in the mood for something very sweet!

 

Smile, TQuizzle!

Coconut ice cream is bae.

 

Both of my experiences at The Darling were very positive and I can see this becoming a very popular hangout space for everyone from young professionals to older tourists. Give it a try!

 

The Darling Oyster Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smile, TQuizzle!

 

The Darling
513 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 641-0821

 

  • How could it not be with a name like "Basil Daisy?!" 604856
  • Like summertime in a glass! 604857
  • Not to be confused with a Pokeball, which is not food.  604858
  • Do not order this if you don't like Grapefruit. 604859
  • Plus, it's so colorful and pretty! 604860
  • Served on a bed of salt and in the shape of a Palmetto Tree, which I thought was adorable (although  604861
  • There are few foods that aren't improved by putting them over french fries. 604862
  • And "bombolini" is such a fun word to say. 604863
  • I love chocolate, but I don't love cake. I'm an enigma. 604864
  • And the devil monkey on my shoulder tried to convince me to. 604865
  • For the rice cakes alone. 604866
  • "If you like Sherry Coladas..." 604867
  • Looks can be deceiving, because this puppy is strong. 604868
  • ice not salt 604869
  • Coconut ice cream is bae. 604870
  • Smile, TQuizzle!  604871
  • The Darling Oyster Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 604872
posted 

 

I admit that I am a creature of habit. When it comes to restaurants, I tend to stick to Johns Island, James Island, and Downtown. When venturing outside of my usual radius, I tend to stick to old favorites. Poe’s on Sullivan’s Island; La Norteña in North Charleston; Jack’s Cosmic Dogs in Mount Pleasant… but I got out of my comfort zone recently and tried a new place out in Park Circle, the Iron Dog Diner, with my dad.

 

Next time I'm bringing a book and camping out for a while.

Back off ladies, he’s taken.

 

The Iron Dog Diner is named for the area in which it’s located (apparently, it’s the Iron Dog District, but I definitely didn’t know that!). The space is super cute; it’s very retro chic. I think if I ever had the patience to start a cafe, this is who I’d want to design it.

 

Like a pastry made by angels.

Next time I’m bringing a book and camping out for a while.

 

After we placed our order with our very friendly waitress, but I got restless so I stood up and wandered around to have a looksie. What caught my eye was the dessert case. “What’s this?” I inquired. “A coffee-glazed cronut ($3). We make them fresh every morning,” the waitress responded. Then she laughed at the way my face lit up. “We’ll start with one of those.” It was light and moist (sorry) and flaky and not overly sweet, which I appreciated. We finished it in under a minute. It paired perfectly with the hot cup of coffee I was nursing.

 

It came together really well.

Like a pastry made by angels.

 

Former Daniel Island Club and Anson Chef Lee Padgett came out and said hello to us and let us know that the daily special was a Smashed Potato Pancake Topped with White BBQ Pulled Pork, Served with an Apple Pecan Salad ($10). That sounded like my jam, so I ordered that. I really loved the potato pancake, as it was unlike any potato pancake I’ve ever had before. The white BBQ sauce was nice and mild; perfect for brunchtime. I also really loved the apple salad, which was fresh and added just a touch of sweetness to the dish (from the candied pecans). I was particularly impressed with how unique the dish was; I can’t think of any other place in Charleston serving anything like this.

 

Frittata. Frittata. Frittata.

It came together really well.

 

My dad ordered the frittata–mostly because I think he likes saying the word ‘frittata’–which consisted of Oven Baked Eggs Topped with a Pork Belly Hash ($9.50). The pork belly in the hash was cured in the oven with curry, so it has a really nice depth to it, without being overwhelming. I like how perfectly cooked the pork belly was (I hate when it’s too chewy), but this was like fat, happy bacon bombs, which was a perfect compliment to the potatoes. The eggs were light and fluffy and the whole dish was really simple, but beautifully done.

 

I'm the Goldilocks of sausage gravy.

Frittata. Frittata. Frittata.

 

Because we were feeling adventurous, we also ordered the Biscuits and Gravy to split (2 biscuits with milk sausage gravy, $6). The biscuits were amazingly light and fluffy, which was a nice balance to the heavy sausage gravy. This is definitely a stick-to-your-bones kind of breakfast. There was a nice hint of pepper in the gravy without being overwhelming, and I quite enjoyed the consistency of the gravy: not too thin, but also not too thick. Just right.

 

You gotta get it with the ice cream. Magnifico!

I’m the Goldilocks of sausage gravy.

 

Because we hadn’t eaten enough, our waitress was able to sweet talk us into ordering dessert (see what I did there??), which was a chocolate chip cookie baked in a little cast iron skillet, topped with 2 generous scoops of vanilla ice cream ($5.99). Chef Padget said the key is “just like cooking cornbread. Get the skillet nice and hot before you put the batter in, so it gets a little crisp on the outside, but stays warm and gooey on the inside.” And boy did it ever. This might be one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.

 

It's so cute!

You gotta get it with the ice cream. Magnifico!

 

All in all, we were delightfully pleased with our meal, the service, and the atmosphere of Iron Dog Diner. This gives me an incentive to get out to North Charleston more! If you’re ever in Park Circle area, I suggest stopping by to give IDD a try; they’re open for brunch Tuesday – Sunday and dinner Thursday – Saturday.

 

Thanks, Chef!

It’s so cute!

 

Also, here’s a bonus shot of Chef Padgett who was kind enough (and sufficiently weirded out by) my request to get his photo. If you see him, give him a high five or something, because he’s awesome.

 

Iron Dog Diner

Thanks, Chef!

 

  • Next time I'm bringing a book and camping out for a while.  604873
  • Like a pastry made by angels. 604874
  • It came together really well.  604875
  • Frittata. Frittata. Frittata.  604876
  • I'm the Goldilocks of sausage gravy. 604877
  • You gotta get it with the ice cream. Magnifico!  604878
  • It's so cute!  604879
  • Thanks, Chef! 604880
  •  604881
posted 
The DarlingThe Darling
Seafood / Cocktail Bars / Live/Raw Food

 

It’s official: King Street has a new oyster bar! The Darling, the long-anticipated oyster bar that took over the spot where Union Provisions used to be, will officially open their doors at4pm today (Thursday 2/25).

 

the-darling-menu-shot
Guests will be seated on a first come, first served basis, and kitchen hours are Sunday through Thursday, 4:00 p.m. – 10 p.m; Friday through Saturday, 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. (kitchen will serve until 11:00 pm).darling 1

 

The Darling aims to be more of a neighborhood spot (which means you won’t have to sell your firstborn to get some oysters, unlike another King St. raw bar I can think of *coughtheordinarycough*). Here’s a preview of the menu:

 

darling 2

 

The Darling

 

We’ll see if they can live up to my (and everyone else’s) expectations!

 

  • the-darling-menu-shot 604927
  • darling 1 604929
  • darling 2 604931
  •  604932
posted 
5Church5Church
American (New)

 

On Monday, February 1, 5Church Charleston will begin serving lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., offering delicious appetizers, sandwiches, salads and entrees ranging from hearty to healthy.

 

5church-lunch

 

Patrons can choose from a variety of Chef Jamie Lynch’s expertly-crafted sandwiches such as the Italian Hoagie, French Onion Roast Beef, Reuben, Cubano and famed 5Church Lamb Burger with red onion marmalade and gorgonzola fondue.

 

Diners looking for a lighter lunch can enjoy a number of fresh salads such as the Roasted Beet Salad with shaved fennel and goat cheese crostini or Mixed Green Salad with marinated mushrooms and porcini-thyme vinaigrette.

 

Entrée options include Prime Bistro Steak, Mussels and Fries, Bolognese Pasta and 5Church’s signature Crab Cakes with red pepper emulsion. Guests looking to linger a bit longer over lunch can also choose from a selection of appetizers like Jerk Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Fried Calamari.

 

5Church

 

5Church Charleston is located at 32B N. Market Street, near the corner of East Bay Street. Follow the restaurant on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

  • 5church-lunch 607858
  •  607860
posted 
MercantileMercantile
Bars / Coffee & Tea

 

I have been so excited to try Mercantile & Mash ever since I first heard about the project way back when. I’m so glad they finally found something to do to revamp the old cigar factory, because it’s such a great space.

 

I'll have one of everything, please.

Doesn’t it just look like a place you want to come hang out for a few hours? Or forever?

 

The idea behind Mercantile & Mash is simple, but unique: Mercantile is a self-described “gourmet food emporium” featuring homemade and local products such as charcuterie, cheese, fresh baked goods, grab-and-go items, and other food essentials. They also recently introduced the Chef’s Counter, a gourmet lunch experience that I was lucky enough to try out last week. The menu changes regularly, but I’ll give you the rundown on each of the dishes I tried.

 

It's like lunch AND a work of art!

I’ll have one of everything, please.

 

First, the Rappahannock River Oysters (shallot, cucumber, and housemade kimchi mignonette, $13). The oysters were perfectly prepared and I’ve never had anything like the kimchi mignonette before. The sourness of the kimchi paired perfectly with the oysters and the sweetness of the shallot. I highly recommend these if you like oysters!

 

Like a little bite of sunshine.

It’s like lunch AND a work of art!

 

Next, the Smoked Tuna Crudo (fennel, orange, pistachio, and pomegranate, $14). I love tuna, so I was really excited for this dish. I loved the combination of the fish with the pistachio and pomegranate, but the orange felt a little superfluous to me. My dining companion was also a little disappointed and wanted a little more flavor out of the dish. Regardless, if you like tuna, you’ll probably enjoy this dish.

 

Plus, this photo got me like a thousand likes on Instagram. #score

Like a little bite of summertime and sunshine.

 

Next, my favorite dish, was the Beef Carpaccio (crispy sweetbreads, mustard, apple, and a mustard seed aioli, $14). The beef carpaccio itself was full of flavor and perfectly spiced. The mustard and apple offered some sweetness and tanginess to the dish, and the buttermilk-fried crispy sweetbreads were perfection. Our waitress described them as “adult chicken nuggets” and they practically melted in your mouth. I’d come back for this dish alone.

 

"ACORN SOUP FOR YOU" - Hipster Soup Nazi

Plus, this photo got me like a thousand likes on Instagram. #score

 

Next up was the Local Acorn Squash Soup (goat cheese, sherry, brown butter, and sage, $9. The soup was creamy and velvety, but lacked some depth that I was looking for.

 

Like little pasta pillows.

“ACORN SOUP FOR YOU” – Hipster Soup Nazi

 

The Butternut Agnolotti (duck confit, dates, hazelnuts, and vanilla bacon, $12) was really interesting. The vanilla was very strong, but was a great complement to the creaminess of the butternut pasta and dates. I liked that the duck confit was not inside the agnolotti, but rather served alongside in the pasta.

 

Is this ambrosia?!

Like little pasta pillows.

 

The Seared Scallops (roasted cauliflower, parsnip, almond, and citrus, $16) were perfectly cooked and were huge on the plate. The sauce that they were served with was amazing, and I wished they would bottle it so I could put it on everything.

 

Like the Goldilocks of vegetables.

Is this ambrosia?!

 

The final entree of the meal was the Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Chop (ham hock, brussels sprouts, cider, and ginger, $18). The pork was amazing… it was moist and flavorful and I loved the cider and ginger that went along with it. The brussels were also perfectly cooked; not too hard and not too mushy….juuuust right.

 

Go into this one with an open mind.

Like the Goldilocks of vegetables.

 

We also tried an iced coffee from the “coffee wizard,” a concoction that he created dubbed the“Steve Palmer” (named after the owner). Instead of lemonade and tea, they combined limeade and iced coffee, which was surprisingly delicious.

 

And so whimsical!

Go into this one with an open mind.

 

The space itself is breathtaking and perfect for lunch with friends, a casual coffee date, or working remotely. They also offer great take-and-go options like their “dinner for two” deal. Be sure to stop by and check out this amazing space if you haven’t already!

 

Just call me "Sydney Doubtfire."

And so whimsical!

 

I was feeling lazy the other day so I decided to try out the aforementioned “dinner for two.” It has all the makings of a home-cooked meal, without the hassle of a bunch of dishes. Remember that scene from Mrs. Doubtfire when Robin Williams (as the title character) orders a bunch of take out and puts it on the plate to pretend like she cooked the whole thing herself? This is basically that.

 

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Just call me “Sydney Doubtfire.”

 

The week that I chose had the following options:

 

  • Bone-In Cheshire Pork Chop with a South Carolina BBQ glaze, herbed confit fingerling potatoes, bourbon buttered mushrooms, and baby greens salad for $30
    OR
  • Seared Blue Crab Cakes with pickled okra and mustard seed aioli, sweet potato purée, steamed broccoli and bell peppers and baby arugula salad for $32. It was a tough choice, but I ended up going with the pork.

Everything came packed neatly in little tin containers. To cook, you preheat your oven, remove the plastic covers, place the containers on a tray, and cook for the recommended time in your oven. Easy peasy.

 

I'm so profesh.

Except the salad. Don’t cook that, ya crazy.

 

Once everything was nice and hot, I plated it like normal and pretended like I’d made the whole thing from scratch. Which no one believed because I am nowhere close to a gourmet chef (except in my own mind).

 

Chocolate heals all wounds.

I’m so profesh.

 

No good dinner is complete without a tasty dessert to go with it. Although it’s not part of the dinner-for-two deal, I stopped by the baked goods case and grabbed something nice and chocolatey in the form of a chocolate, bacon, peanut butter, and banana bar.

 

Now you're speakin' my language.

Chocolate heals all wounds.

 

Basically, I’m in love with Mercantile and Mash. It’s a great place to come for a morning coffee, brunch with friends, a lunch meeting, or to grab something quick to put together for dinner. Try it, and I bet you’ll fall in love, too.

 

Mercantile And Mash Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Now you’re speakin’ my language.

 

Mercantile and Mash
701 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 793-2636

 

  • I'll have one of everything, please. 605027
  • It's like lunch AND a work of art! 605028
  • Like a little bite of sunshine. 605029
  • Plus, this photo got me like a thousand likes on Instagram. #score 605030
  • "ACORN SOUP FOR YOU" - Hipster Soup Nazi 605031
  • Like little pasta pillows. 605032
  • Is this ambrosia?! 605033
  • Like the Goldilocks of vegetables. 605034
  • Go into this one with an open mind. 605035
  • And so whimsical! 605039
  • Just call me "Sydney Doubtfire." 605040
  • Easy peasy lemon squeezy. 605041
  • I'm so profesh. 605043
  • Chocolate heals all wounds. 605048
  • Now you're speakin' my language. 605049
  • Mercantile And Mash Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 605050
posted 
Halls Chophouse GreenvilleHalls Chophouse Greenville
American (New) / Steak / Bars

 

Charleston’s premier steakhouse, Halls Chophouse, will open its second location in the existing High Cotton Greenville space on Main Street on the bank of the Reedy River. Halls Chophouse Greenville will be led by Owner Bill Hall, a veteran in the hospitality and dining industry, along with his family, wife Jeanne and sons Billy and Tommy. Joining Halls Chophouse in January as General Manager is Matthew Blakeley, who brings 15 years of steakhouse experience to the team. Additionally, Pam Falvey has also been named the assistant general manager, having worked previously at Del Frisco’s steakhouse in Dallas and Nantucket Seafood in Greenville. The restaurant will operate as High Cotton through January 4 and will re-open as Halls Chophouse on January 22, 2016.

 

meat-halls-greenville

 

“We are excited to introduce our Halls Chophouse dining experience to the Greenville community,” states Owner Bill Hall. “We look forward to continuing to provide guests with exceptional hospitality and service in addition to offering an elevated menu including our signature premium steaks.”

 

oysters-halls-greenville

 

Since the 2009 opening of Halls Chophouse in Charleston, the Hall Family has been steadfast in their commitment to operate their flagship steakhouse with dedicated precision and a finely-tuned penchant for impeccable hospitality. Halls Chophouse has received national acclaim and numerous awards, including recently being named the #5 Best Restaurant in the U.S. by TripAdvisor’s 2015 Traveler’s Choice Awards and #4 Best Restaurant in the U.S. 2016 by OpenTable. The Hall Family plans to apply the same principles of unsurpassed service and exquisitely-prepared cuisine refined over seven years to the forthcoming Halls Chophouse Greenville.

 

salad-halls-greenville

 

Located at 550 S. Main Street in downtown Greenville, Halls Chophouse will be open for dinner seven nights a week, serving until 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on the weekends. The bar will be open until 2am daily.

 

Halls Chophouse Greenville

 

For more information, please visit www.hallschophouse.com.  Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/hallschophouse and follow us on Twitter: @HallsChophouse and Instagram:@HallsChophouse.

 

  • meat-halls-greenville 607658
  • oysters-halls-greenville 607671
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  •  607673