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Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Vincent Chicco’s

December 4, 2015

Vincent Chicco’s is one of seemingly 1,000 Italian restaurants in Charleston (and no I’m not counting Olive Garden in that list, sorry). I remember hearing a lot about VC’s when it was first being constructed, but I recently realized that I didn’t actually know anyone who’d ever eaten there. Since it’s my job to tell y’all about food, I went in and got the scoop (and like 4 bowls of pasta, don’t judge me).

Look at that sexy brickwork.

Look at that sexy brickwork.

Because I think eating Italian food without bread should be illegal, I started the meal with the bruschetta (House Focaccia Bread, Local Tomatoes, Baby Arugula, Olive Oil, Goat Cheese, Basil, $10). Speaking of things that should be illegal, I think this is the best bruschetta I’ve ever had. The bread was that great consistency where it’s nice and crunchy on the outside, but soft and gluteny on the inside. The tomatoes and goat cheese were locally sourced, while the olive oil was imported from the Motherland. Note: if you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, you might want to go with a different app, because they don’t skimp on that creamy goodness when it comes to their bruschetta.

I'm not sure there's anything better than cheese on bread.

I’m not sure there’s anything better than cheese on bread.

Next up was the Roman Artichokes (Roasted Shallots, Heirloom Tomatoes, Castelvetrano Olives, Micro Herbs, $9), which were fantastic. The waiter made a point to tell me that the olives and artichokes were both imported from a tiny town in Italy that the chef picked out specifically because they produce the best quality of both veggies. I love how well they balance local ingredients with those imported directly from Italy. The artichokes were marinated and basically melted in your mouth without any of that chewiness that I’m used to from the artichokes on the Harris Teeter olive bar. I’m usualy meh about olives, but these were fantastic. Give me a bowl of these, and I’d eat ’em like popcorn.

lll

But that would be really gross to have at the movies.


The Masami Wagyu (Pickled Peppers, Capers, Parmesan Tuile, Sun Dried Tomato Aioli, Dried Olives, Heirloom Tomatoes, Ciabatta Toast, $11) was a cool take on a carpaccio, but it was a much thicker cut of meat, which was interesting. It was a little on the chewy side, so I was glad they gave us the crunchy ciabatta toast to add a little more texture to each bite. The sun dried tomato aioli was so good, you could put it on an old piece of shoe and call it a gourmet meal.

But please don't ask me to do follow through with that statement.

But please don’t ask me to do follow through with that statement.

I’m a fan of every cheese that’s ever existed, and the Housemade Burrata (Served With Roasted Tomatoes, Saba, Aged Balsamic, Marinated Olives, $9) was no different. It’s basically described as “cheese-stuffed cheese,” like a cross between mozzarella and brie, it was super creamy and paired extremely well with the roasted tomatoes and aged balsamic vinegar.

Taking back my earlier statement. Cheese-stuffed-cheese is better than bread and cheese.

Taking back my earlier statement. Cheese-stuffed-cheese is better than bread and cheese.

The menu at Vincent Chicco’s for entrees is split between Italian American favorites like Chicken Parmesan (Topped With Parmesan & Mozzarella Cheese, Served Over Spaghetti & House Tomato Sauce) and dishes that are a little more authentically Italian like the Veal Saltimbocca (Fresh Sage, Mozzarella, Prosciutto Di Parma, Fettucini, $24). Obviously I wanted to be a little more authentic, so I ordered solely off the Italian side. The Veal Saltimbocca was delicious, but a bit heavy on the sage, so be prepared for that.

veal

Take my sage advice. (Man, I’m so funny).

Ever since watching the first episode of Chef’s Table, I’ve been kind of obsessed with Cacio e Pepe (Spaghetti With Pecorino Toscano, Parmesan Cheese, Cracked Pepper, Topped With A Parmesan Tuile, $19) and Vincent Chicco’s version was pretty great. Even though the sauce is essentially just cheese and butter, it was very light and totally delish. Kind of like a grown up version of mac and cheese.

Like alfredo, but way better.

Like alfredo, but way better.

I think the Lamb Sugo (Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder Bolognese Style, Tagliatelle Pasta, House Ricotta & Lavender Mint, $19) was my favorite of all the pastas I tried. It kind of tasted like a deconstructed lasagna, if I had to compare it to anything. The house ricotta was superb and the lavender mint was a cool element that I wasn’t really expecting. It made this dish very unique and is a dish I’m sure to order again on my next visit.

ggg

That lavender mint, though.

Even though there was literally no more room in my stomach, I decided to order the Tiramisu (Espresso Rum Soaked Italian Lady Fingers Mascarpone Cream, $9) to be able to give a well-rounded review. I was not expecting it to come out covered in chocolate and cappuccino anglaise sauce, but I was really thankful for it, because it was totally yummy. I think if you’re a tiramisu purist, you might not be a fan, but if you love dessert in general, this is a definite win.

I'm drooling.

I’m drooling.

I also couldn’t pass up trying the Zeppole (Italian Donuts, Vanilla Sugar, Shaved Chocolate, Cappuccino Anglaise, $9), which were basically mini funnel cakes. They were so damn good. If you have a soul, you will like the zeppole.

Hello, Italian donuts. Where have you been all of my life?

Hello, Italian donuts. Where have you been all of my life?

Vincent Chicco’s is hidden in the alley between Rue de Jean and the Charleston Music Hall and is connected to Michael’s on the Alley by way of Victor’s Social Club. It’s a little hidden gem in Charleston, and I highly recommend you check it out!

That brickwork is even sexier at night.

That brickwork is even sexier at night.

Vincent Chicco's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Parlor Deluxe [CLOSED]

November 12, 2015

I’ve been to Parlor Deluxe twice since it opened back in August, and I’ve been a bit underwhelmed each time. When I first heard the rumors about the “hot dog, tater tot, and waffle shop” coming to Spring Street, I was excited, as those are 3 of my favorite foods. But these aren’t your regular, run-of-the-mill hot dogs. These are something else entirely. Like the Lil’ Kimchi Dog—a beef dog with toasted dried shrimp, miso mustard glaze, house kimchi, crushed peanut, and cilantro on a brioche roll. The hot dog is mostly bread, and the brioche is a little dry. But the kimchi and mustard glaze are pretty tasty.

Gotta give 'em props for the name, though!

Gotta give ’em props for the name, though! Photo by Mac Kilduff

The ice cream comes from Hilton Head Ice Creams and they rotate a few flavors at a time. There are approximately a bazillion (ok more like 15) different toppings you can add to your cone or cup, so you can have a totally new experience every time you stop by (although I don’t recommend the homemade gummy bears). Or get a milkshake, egg cream, or a jerk float using Cannonborough Soda Company sodas.

Look! Lily's hand is famous!

Look! Lily’s hand is famous! Photo by Mac Kilduff

There are 4 different kinds of tater tots available on the menu, each unlike any other tater tots you’ll find in Charleston. Take for instance, the Sour Cream and Onion, a take on everyone’s favorite potato chip. They come with dill and malt sour cream, Tabasco hot sauce, and crispy onions with a special dipping sauce. The tots themselves are super crispy, which I like in a tot.

Look, Lily's hand is famous again! Photo by Mac Kilduff

Look, Lily’s hand is famous again! Photo by Mac Kilduff


The waffles are made fresh when you order them, and come with a variety of Parlor Deluxe’s housemade toppings. You can build one yourself, or go with one of any of the premade versions, like the Bees Knees, topped with chia seed lemon curd, granola bark, local honey, and toasted cardamom berries.

Leggo my waffle. Or something like that.

Leggo my waffle. Or something like that. Photo by Mac Kilduff

The hot dogs range from $8-$11 (a bit pricey for a hot dog) and the offerings change regularly to include new ingredients and flavor combos, like the Cheeky Greeky, a beef + “gyro” spiced dog topped with cucumber and lemon greek yogurt, Fishing Creek feta cheese, fennel, radish, and roasted chickpeas on a seeded roll. I thought the roasted chickpeas were awesome, and this hot dog was pretty delicious, although the bun was a little dry. I would’ve liked more of that lemon greek yogurt to even it out.

We should put chickpeas on more things.

We should put chickpeas on more things.

Or check out the more “traditional” dog, a beef dog topped with slow cooked pork chili, house sauerkraut, chopped onion, and cheese whiz on a toasted pretzel roll. Lily ordered this one, and I’d say it’s probably my favorite on their menu.

Easy Cheese!

Easy Cheese! Next time I’m going to ask them to write my name.

The atmosphere inside the tiny corner shop is pretty rad. The whole place looks like a soda shop out of the ’50s if it was designed by a trendy New York City designer from today. There’s black and white checkered tile on the floor, an ice cream scoop collage behind the cash register, and a bright neon sign that says “Parlor” above shelves stocked with ingredients for the perfect ice cream sundae. Pops of mint color pervade the retro cool corner spot. There are only about 3 tables in the whole place, but fortunately the food is made to be eaten on the go.

I need some more neon in my kitchen at home.

I need some more neon in my kitchen at home. Photo by Mac Kilduff

Parlor Deluxe is open noon to 12 am, Tuesday through Saturday; 5 pm to 12 am on Sundays; and is closed on Mondays. While I appreciate what PD is trying to do, I’m not entirely sure I’m hip enough to enjoy it. The hot dogs are good. The tots are ok. The waffles are unique and fun… but I don’t think I’m in a hurry to come back.

 

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Spero

October 2, 2015

I first learned about Spero in April when the City Paper wrote an article titled “Spero May Be The Best Under-The-Radar Restaurant in Town.” I didn’t read any of the article (I have a bad habit of only reading headlines), but added Spero to my list of restaurants to try right then. On my first visit, in the spring, I went 3 friends, which was a great choice because we were all willing to share dishes, so I got a great variety of what Spero had to offer. We started with the “Pickles and Pate” (chicken liver, half sour pickles, bread and butter pickles, mustard, $5.5), which was pretty delicious if you like pate. I thought it was great with the buttery bread and vinegary pickles, with a little tanginess from the mustard. The pate itself was a great consistency and had a nice subtle smokiness to it.

om nom nom

om nom nom

Our second starter was the bread flight (yes, you read that right. A flight of bread). It consisted of the sourdough pretzel bread with ham and mustard butter, beef tallow biscuits with horseradish cream, and cornbread with burnt honey miso butter ($6.50). It was divine. Each bread had a totally different flavor profile and paired perfectly with the condiment to which they were assigned. I would go back for the bread alone.

Why aren't bread flights a thing EVERYWHERE?!

Why aren’t bread flights a thing EVERYWHERE?!

We split a few of the small plates, including the Roasted Beet Salad (beets, berries, bleu cheese, buttermilk, battlestar galactica, $7.5), which was pretty good. Beets aren’t my favorite, so I only tried a bite, but it was absolutely gorgeous to look at!

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.


I, of course, opted to try the Lamb Barbacoa Sammich (pulled lamb, lemon pickled jalapeno, mayo, queso fresco with a seasonal side, $9), which had my name all over it (not actually, but it may as well have). It was awesome. The lemon pickled jalapeno took away any gaminess the lamb might have had, leaving it perfectly tender and packed with flavor. The bread was nice and soft and the sandwich was a great size for sharing.

baaa

baaa

Someone lame at the table (whom we’ll call Voldemort) ordered the Red Russian Kale Salad (strawberry vinaigrette, candied local pecans, $6.50), which was tasty for a salad. I mostly just at the candied pecans.

Piled high!

Kale piled high!

Another person at the table ordered the Braised Beef Sammich (pickled carrots, whipped bleu cheese, $10), which was also really tasty. The beef was packed full of flavor that literally dripped down your chin after you took a bite (in a good way). The pickled carrots gave it almost a banh mi kind of flavor, and the whipped bleu cheese was creamy and a great complement to the beef & carrots.

yummy in my tummy

yummy in my tummy

We got 2 of the oatmeal cookies for dessert, which were served with ice cold glasses of milk. The cookies are baked to order, so they take about 12 minutes or so from when you order them. We were so enthralled with our company that we didn’t notice that our cookies were taking forever until the chef / owner came out to apologize to us for “technical difficulties.” I was confused because technical difficulties + cookies didn’t really equate for me. But he explained “first there were cookies on a tray, then there were cookies on the ground. But we’re starting all over… it just might take a few more minutes.” It was definitely worth the wait, as there are few things in this world better than a fresh baked cookie and ice cold glass of milk.

Cookies on a platter.

Cookies on a platter.

The second time I visited was in the summer (technically “sautumn” or “summer into Autumn” as they called it) with Lauren. We sat at the bar, which I highly recommend, because it gives you a much more inclusionary experience and makes you feel as if you’re a part of the restaurant (for example, they do their “safety meeting” at 9:30 every night, where the whole kitchen staff shotguns a beer together. I’ve never worked in food & bev, but if I did, I hope I would’ve worked in a place like this). We started with the Chilled Acorn Squash Soup (herbed goat cheese, pickled onions, $5.50). The goat cheese was amazing and totally sold the whole dish. It was velvety and smooth and super flavorful.

Dat goat cheese, tho.

Dat goat cheese, tho.

After the soup was the Marinated H2Omelon Salad (beef tataki, thai basil, mint, $6.25). Big, thick pieces of watermelon with a little spicy kick, served with thinly sliced steak. Looking at the description, I wasn’t sure how it was all going to come together and if the flavors were going to mesh well together, but after my first bite all my worries disappeared. I loved the contrast of the spicy watermelon with the mint and seared steak and would highly recommend it if it’s on the menu again.

That's a-spicy watermelon!

That’s a-spicy watermelon!

Next, we got the Roasted Okra (jalapeno honey, bleu cheese, peanuts, $6.75), which were amazing. Lauren commented that she loved that they kept the okra whole because that kept it from being dried out. I loved the jalapeno honey and blue cheese combo with the okra, which is, again, never a combination I would’ve thought up on my own, but it really worked! 

jalapeno honey butter

I cannot get into my properly emotional state without my jalapeño honey butter!

After the okra came the delicata squash (Vietnamese caramel, sour yellow curry, brown butter breadcrumbs, $7) which perfectly cooked and caramelized on one side, with a great mixture of spicy and sweet. Probably my favorite thing we ordered. Also, can I please get brown butter breadcrumbs on everything I order in the future? kthx.

Caramelized Squash just sounds so sexy.

Caramelized Squash just sounds so sexy.

To finish, we decided to go with 2 of their Pigerdoodle (I think that was the name) cookies (like snickerdoodles, but made with rendered pig fat). They were great. Super rich, and melty…just the way I like a cookie: “warm, sweet, and directly in front of my face.”

You know what doesn't sound sexy? "Rendered pork fat."

You know what doesn’t sound sexy? “Rendered pork fat.”

All in all, the prices for the small plates are more than reasonable, and if you haven’t stopped by this neighborhood gem yet, then I feel like you’re missing out on an essential part of Charleston. What are you even doing with your life.

I "hope" to return soon!

I “hope” to return soon! (Get it… guys? Do you get it?)

Spero
616 Meeting St,
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 203-3255

Spero Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

O-Ku

September 16, 2015

I’ll happily admit that I’m addicted to sushi. O-Ku will be my third sushi restaurant I’ve reviewed on my blog, but by no means will it be my last. For my birthday lunch, I decided to try out O-Ku’s lunch menu because I’d only ever been for lunch and dinner (and a few cocktails).

And also for this reason.

And also for this reason.

Syd and I decided that since it was my birthday lunch (see: gif above) we would order a smorgasbord of sushi. We started with the Panko Fried Shrimp Bento Box (which includes Spring Mix Salad with Ginger-Carrot Vinaigrette, Crab Salad and Avocado Sushi Roll, Steamed Glass Noodles with sautéed mushroom, onion & carrot with sweet ginger garlic soy sauces, $13) because I’ve never actually had a bento box before.

And look how cute the little box is!

And look how cute the little box is!

It was huge and very filling. The shrimp were perfectly fried and the panko gave them a nice crispiness without being too heavy for lunch. The tangy dipping sauce they came with gave a nice sweetness and rounded out the flavor. I really enjoyed the lightness of the ginger-carrot vinaigrette salad dressing and appreciated that they used real greens instead of limp iceberg lettuce in their salad. The sushi came in 4 pieces, and was your standard crab and avocado roll. The steamed glass noodles were an interesting addition (and fun little puzzle to try and eat with chopsticks). All in all, the bento box alone would be a very filling meal for lunchtime for a normal human.

Bento box unboxed.

Bento box unboxed.


But I am not a normal human, I am part sushi monster, so we ordered 3 more rolls of sushi to split between the 2 of us.

And without even a hint of shame.

And without even a hint of shame.

First, we tried the Tuna Wrapped Roll (Spicy tuna, cucumber, tuna, spicy aioli, eel sauce, $13.50), which was very delicious. I absolutely love tuna, so I was a huge fan of the extra piece of tuna on top of the roll. The fish is very high quality and the ingredients were really well balanced.

Although, I'd avoid this roll if you're not into spicy mayo. Or tuna.

Although, I’d avoid this roll if you’re not into spicy mayo. Or tuna.

Our second roll was the Black Dragon Roll (Spicy seafood mix, cucumber, avocado, eel, eel sauce, spicy aioli, $15). I also really like eel, although I am a little hesitant to order it sometimes, as it can be chewy. Not so at O-Ku. The eel practically melted in your mouth, and I loved the slight kick from the spicy seafood mix.

Although, I was disappointed that it didn't come out looking like a dragon.

Although, I was disappointed that it didn’t come out looking like a dragon.

Our final roll (and my favorite of the 3) was the Potato Roll (Shrimp tempura, avocado, shoe-string potatoes, eel sauce, sweet chili mango, $12.50). When one thinks of sushi, “potato” doesn’t usually come to mind, but O-Ku really makes it work. The outside of the roll is nice and crispy and maintains the distinct taste of potato chips, even with the sweetness of the eel sauce and sweet chili mango. Inside, you get the saltiness from the shrimp tempura, and creaminess from the avocado. It really is like an adventure for your tastebuds.

Why don't we wrap more foods in potato?

Why don’t we wrap more foods in potato?

All in all, I had an outstanding (albeit expensive) lunch at O-Ku for my birthday. Assuming you only order food for 1 person, instead of 5, O-Ku is actually a pretty affordable option for a sushi-lovers lunch. Also be sure to stop by for their Happy Hour on Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 5:00 – 7:00 PM and get half off sushi rolls and great drink specials.

And to eat 2 rolls for the price of one. #SushiMonster

And to eat 2 rolls for the price of one. #SushiMonster

O-Ku
463 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 737-0112

O-Ku Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Caviar & Bananas

August 24, 2015

Caviar & Bananas has been making a lot of fun changes to their menu lately, and I’ve been by a couple of times to check out their new sushi menu, brunch offerings, and salads. Here’s what I’ve had.

All of the food. I've had all of it.

All of the food. I’ve had all of it.

Sushi

Creole White Fish – $9.95
Blackened white fish, snap peas, shaved jalapeño, red bell pepper, roasted tomato, brown rice, Asian remoulade sauce

Creole Whitefish

Creole Whitefish

This I think was my favorite roll of them all. The Asian remoulade sauce is quite delicious and lighter than your typical spicy mayo. I’m not crazy about the snap peas (which make an appearance in many of the rolls at C&B), but they do add a nice layer of crunch without the added calories of tempura.


Crispy Crab & Coconut – $8.95
Coconut fried crab, julienned carrots, scallions, daikon radish, brown rice, and peanut red curry sauce

Coconut + Crab + Sushi = Tastiness

Coconut + Crab + Sushi = Tastiness

This one was also really delicious, and I loved the Asian flair with the coconut and red curry peanut sauce. It was super inventive and unique while not getting too complicated. All the flavors really complemented each other well.

Cucumber and Avocado – $5.50
Cucumber, avocado, citrus cream cheese, brown rice, sweet soy reduction

Just a typical cucumber avocado roll.

Just a typical cucumber avocado roll.

The only things that really set this roll apart from any other cucumber & avocado roll is that it uses citrus cream cheese and has a sweet soy reduction. These distinctions definitely give a little extra to the roll than you’re used to getting, but it’s very subtle. The soy reduction is a little sweeter than typical soy sauce and the citrus cream cheese adds some brightness to the roll.

Salmon Citrus – $6.95
Salmon, snap peas, shaved jalapeño, cucumber, cilantro, white rice, lime sauce

One of the prettiest rolls I've ever eaten!

One of the prettiest rolls I’ve ever eaten!

This was the only inside out roll of the bunch, so it had a different texture to it than the other rolls. The lime sauce was nice and creamy without being too tart or sour. My only complaint with this roll was that I wish there had been some avocado or something else inside to give it extra creaminess because it was a little dry.

Shrimp Pad Thai – $9.50
Poached shrimp, egg, peanuts, scallions, cilantro, white rice, pad Thai sauce, lime

One of the weirdest rolls I've ever eaten.

One of the weirdest rolls I’ve ever eaten.

This one really took me aback at first bite. I really wasn’t prepared for the flavor profile here. It legitimately tastes like pad Thai that’s heavy on the egg (so it’s a little spongy). But after I got over the initial shock, I found that I actually really liked it. If you’re not super adventurous when it comes to sushi, I’d opt for one of the more traditional rolls.

Spicy Crab – $5.95
Spicy crab, snap peas, cucumber, white rice, spicy chili sauce

Great in theory; not my favorite in execution.

Great in theory; not my favorite in execution.

This was probably my least favorite, probably just because I’m not a huge fan of the snap peas. It was very fresh tasting, like a salad in a roll. The spicy chili sauce was a little overpowering because it’s got such a strong flavor.

Brunch

I, like many of my fellow Charlestonians, take my brunches very seriously. There are few things worse than a subpar brunch, especially when there are so many great options for this hallowed meal. I’ll be the first to admit, Caviar & Bananas wouldn’t normally have been on my list of places to brunch, but after trying nearly half of their menu, I can say that they’ve taken over one of the top spots on my list of favorite brunch locales.

Avocado Toast – $5.00
Smashed Avocado, Cotija Cheese, Pickled Red Onion, Radish, Fresh Herbs, Grilled Sourdough Bread

I sometimes dream about this toast.

I sometimes dream about this toast.

So simple, but so delicious. I’ve had quite a few avocado toasts in my life, but this is probably my favorite (Sorry, Park Cafe. You’ve been replaced). There’s something so fresh and tangy and unique about the pickled red onion when paired with the perfectly ripe avocado and buttery grilled sourdough. It has to be tasted to be to be fully comprehended. You can also add on a fried egg or citrus grilled shrimp, but I’m a purist. All avocado, all the way.

Crispy Chicken Buttermilk Biscuit – $9.00
Southern Fried Chicken Breast, Scrambled Egg, Aged Cheddar, Tasso Gravy, Buttermilk Biscuit, CHOICE OF A SIDE

Now that's a biscuit.

Now that’s a biscuit.

Talk about a big mamajama, this biscuit is the real deal. I highly recommend splitting this with another person, because they basically give you an entire fried chicken on a biscuit. The tasso gravy is a creamy, peppery complement to the aged cheddar cheese, which pairs perfectly with the crispy fried chicken.

Veggie and Eggs Benedict – $10.00
Poached Eggs, Vegetable-Quinoa Cake, Wilted Spinach, Fresh Herb Hollandaise, Whole Wheat English Muffin

And so green, too!

And so green, too!

I love how unique this is. I’m not usually crazy about eggs benedict (they give me flashbacks of having to make hollandaise by hand), but I’ll be damned if this wasn’t delicious. I also really enjoyed the vegetable-quinoa cake, which was jam-packed with flavor. The fresh herb hollandaise was a little on the thin side, but I thought it worked well with how thick the veggie cake was.

“Weekend” Fried Egg Sandwich – $9.00
Fried Egg, Seared Prosciutto, Wilted Spinach, Roasted Tomato Marmalade, Whole Wheat English Muffin, CHOICE OF A SIDE

For those of you without much imagination in the brunch department.

For those of you who aren’t very adventurous in the brunch department.

This was probably the most basic of all of the brunch items I tried. Essentially just a breakfast sandwich, the most interesting element of this dish was the roasted tomato marmalade, which added some sweetness and depth to the sandwich. I thought this one was a little dry, and I’d recommend maybe ask for more marmalade or adding cheese because it definitely needed a little something.

Sweet Potato and Kale Hash – $7.00
Sweet Potato, Kale, Poached Egg

A nice twist for the more health conscious bruncher.

A nice twist for the more health conscious bruncher.

A really simple dish in theory but bursting with flavor in execution, this sweet potato hash was a delightful surprise. I really wasn’t expecting much, but they season it wonderfully with herbs and just enough kale to make it interesting.

Parmesan Fried Potatoes – $3.00 á la carte

Dry potatoes are the worst potatoes.

Dry potatoes are the worst potatoes.

Ok, so I wasn’t so impressed with these. They tasted like they’d been reheated: very dry and gritty. They had a good flavor, so there’s potential there. But in the future, I wouldn’t go out of my way to order this.

Smoked Jalapeno Grits – $3.00 á la carte

Gritttts

Then again, I always think grits need more salt.

These grits were thick and had an interesting layer of depth to them, but needed some salt. They were good. Not great, but good.

Salads

The Toscana
Mixed Greens, Crispy Prosciutto, Shaved Parmesan, Vanilla Poached Pears, Shaved Fennel, Toasted Walnuts, Chianti Vinaigrette

You had me at "crispy prosciutto."

You had me at “crispy prosciutto.”

The Toscana was probably my favorite of the two. It’s really hard to beat the taste of crispy prosciutto and shaved parmesan together, but then they throw in some sweet vanilla poached pears, which were quite the tasty complement to the saltiness of the prosciutto, the licorice-ness (new word) of the fennel, and the nuttiness of the toasted walnuts. I’ve never had Chianti before (thanks, Silence of the Lambs), but I’m a huge fan of the Chianti vinaigrette.

The Baja
Romaine, Cotija Cheese, Avocado, Corn, Tomato, Cucumber, Jicama, Pickled Red Onions, Pumpkin Seeds, Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette

Obviously, mine was not this gorgeous.

Obviously, mine was not this gorgeous.

The Baja was kind of a cross between a Caesar salad and a Southwestern salad and had a great hint of freshness to it due to the chipotle lime vinaigrette. The corn gave the salad a great texture (is it cliche to say that it popped?) and the jicama and cotija cheese added a really unique creaminess, while the pickled red onion was tangy and sweet at the same time. The whole thing came together wonderfully. If you choose to add the citrus-grilled shrimp, you won’t be disappointed.

Caviar & Bananas
51 George St,
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-7757

Click to add a blog post for Caviar & Bananas on Zomato

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Barony Tavern

June 25, 2015

In Charleston, chefs are often the biggest local celebrities we have. I get more excited seeing Sean Brock than I do Bill Murray whenever he inevitably pops up downtown. One (of the many) local chefs I follow is Chef Robert Carter. I went to Peninsula Grill shortly before he left and I enjoyed dinner at Carter’s Kitchen weeks after it opened (sorry to report that I wasn’t as impressed with Rutledge Cab Company, but no one’s perfect). When I heard about his newest venture, Barony Tavern, I was pumped to give it a try.

llll

Food always excites me.

The restaurant is located inside the Renaissance Hotel, in the location of the old Wentworth Grill (RIP). The décor and ambience really appealed to me; I loved all the dark wood, deer paraphernalia, and old books. I felt like I was dining in someone’s private library or a study in an old mansion.

Including the creepy "villain behind the portrait with cut out eyes" a la Scooby Doo.

Including the creepy “villain behind the portrait with cut out eyes” a la Scooby Doo.

The appetizers were all so tempting, we couldn’t settle on just 1, so we got 3 instead. First, the grilled softshell crab BLT was a special. I’m normally not a fan of softshell crab (usually it’s served fried), but somehow grilled, I actually really liked it. Served with Portuguese slider roll, bacon, marinated roma tomatoes, bibb lettuce, and green goddess aioli. The flavor combo was just delicious.

But I'll pretty much eat anything with bacon on it.

But I’ll pretty much eat anything with bacon on it.


Our second app was the crispy oysters with a kale pesto and smoked bacon ($10). These oysters positively melted in your mouth. The bacon added a nice hint of smokiness and the kale pesto with the crispy piece of kale on top gave it a really interested texture and flavor that was reminiscent of some Asian food.

And it tastes just as good as it looks.

And it tastes just as good as it looks.

Our third appetizer was the seared beef carpaccio with okra aioli, fried okra, and arugula salad ($12). My first question after trying this dish is “why isn’t the fried okra just straight up on the menu?” because it was some of the best fried okra I’ve ever had. I loved the super light cornmeal breading and the way it paired with the smoky, salty beef. Like prosciutto on crack.

lll

Plus fried okra.

We also tried the toasted farro salad with oven roasted grapes, baby kale, feta, pistachios, and red wine vinaigrette ($9), which was unique and very tasty. The thing that’s great about farro is that it’s a little heartier of a grain, so you don’t really feel like you’re eating healthy. Also the oven roasted grapes were like little flavor bombs within the salad, which I thought was a great touch and a happy surprise.

And I rarely get excited about a salad.

And I rarely get excited about a salad.

We also got a side of the caramelized cauliflower with truffled brioche ($7), which was outstanding. It was cheesy and truffle-y and if I hadn’t known better, I don’t think I would’ve guessed that it was cauliflower.

Mmmmm

Which is the best way to serve cauliflower.

We were also interested in the basil-marinated duck livers available on the tavern menu from the bar area, which were served with wilted lettuce, tomato coulis and bacon jam ($10). Since I’ve never had duck livers before, I didn’t have a lot to compare it too, but it was very gamey. I liked the contrast of the tomato coulis and the bacon jam which gave it a meaty, sweet flavor. I recommend it if you are feeling adventurous.

Adventurous is my middle name...(not really. It's Lauren).

Adventurous is my middle name…(not really. It’s Lauren).

For a main course, we decided on the crawfish-stuffed shrimp, which was served with a Charleston “red rice” of orzo and creole butter ($26). The shrimp were cooked perfectly and I thought the dish as a whole was very creative. I enjoyed the orzo, but by that point I was getting full and I didn’t want to waste room in my stomach on orzo when there was still that cauliflower to be eaten.

I love it when food is stuffed into other food/

I love it when food is stuffed into other food/

For dessert, we were interested in one of the specials of the night, which was a piece of chocolate brittle topped with a layer of chocolate mousse, with peanut butter brittle mousse, and a salted caramel sauce. It was rich and decadent and basically heaven on earth.

You had me at "chocolate."

You had me at “chocolate.”

We also tried a slice of the world-famous coconut cake that is Chef Carter’s specialty. He uses his grandmother’s recipe and it tastes very homemade. It’s perfectly sweet, and packed full of coconut. I definitely recommend it.

"You had me at cake."

“You had me at cake.”

On a secondary visit, I tried the Barony Burger (brioche bun, aged cheddar, bacon, green goddess aioli and fried onions, $16) and it was outstanding. Just the right amount of greasy from the perfectly seasoned meat, plus the tanginess of the aged cheddar and saltiness of the bacon. I thought the green goddess aioli was a great and unique addition which set it apart from other burgers in the city.

Hey burger, you're coming home with me.

Hey burger, you’re coming home with me.

But the real shining star is Chef’s fried chicken (which you can get on his Sunday supper menu). It might be some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. Perfectly crispy on the outside; juicy and wonderful on the inside. A chicken lover’s dream.

Fry Fry Chicky Chick.

Fry Fry Chicky Chick.

All in all I think Barony Tavern is a great addition to the culinary scene in Charleston. If the full menu is too expensive, I definitely recommend checking out the tavern menu, as it gives you a great overview of what the food is like for a smaller price.

Barony apparently means "deer" or something? I have no idea.

Barony apparently means “deer” or something? I have no idea.

Barony Tavern
68 Wentworth St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 297-4246

Click to add a blog post for Barony Tavern on Zomato

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Screen Door

May 26, 2015

[Update: Chef Blake Joyal is no longer heading the kitchen at Screen Door and they’ve changed the menu significantly since this post was written.]

In Charleston, it seems like new restaurants are popping up every other week. You’d think that would mean that I’d be bored or jaded by restaurant openings; but you’d be wrong. One new restaurant that I’ve been really excited for is Chef Blake Joyal’s new venture, The Screen Door on James Island.

I love the open kitchen!

I love the open kitchen!

 


It’s taking over kind of a cursed location (I think it’s been 2 or 3 different restaurants in the time that I’ve lived here). I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview party for Screen Door to taste some of the dishes and drinks that might make the menu and see the newly remodeled space.

And also take some bathroom selfies, because I do what I want.

And also take some bathroom selfies, because I do what I want.

Everyone was super friendly from the moment we walked through the door until the moment we tapped out, too full for even one more delicious morsel. When we first walked in, I was struck by how open the space is. I loved the way the pizza and grill area were viewable from basically anywhere in the restaurant, as it immerses you in the whole experience.

screen-door-charleston

 

I also am a huge fan of the ambience. They really went all out with the “screen door” theme, from the giant screen door hanging from the ceiling, to the many screen doors that make up the patio area.

I can see myself spending lots of time out here.

I can see myself spending lots of time out here.

Because the menu wasn’t completely finalized when we were there, there is a chance that not everything I tried will end up on the menu when they actually open, which will be a shame, because it was all delicious.

Pizza ovens are my favorite type of oven.

Pizza ovens are my favorite type of oven.

I’ll go in order of my favorites:

Lettuce Wraps

There are mushrooms in it and I still listed it as #1, so that should tell you how good it is.

There are mushrooms in it and I still listed it as #1, so that should tell you how good it is.

Slow cooked pork butt, housemade curry, daikon radish, sumac, roasted peanuts. When I first bit into the lettuce wrap, it actually took my breath away with how good it was. I loved that it was kind of peanut-y and the curry was actually a great complement to the pork. I could eat these all day long.

Oysters

I could've eaten a whole plate of these, but I managed to rein it in.

I could’ve eaten a whole plate of these, but I managed to rein it in.

Local Ace blades with toasted curry, fennel butter with borate & fennel pollen. These might be my new favorite oysters anywhere, including Leon’s.

Lamb Ribs

Yes, I did just say the words "lamb ribs."

Yes, I did just say the words “lamb ribs.”

Dry rubbed lamb ribs, braised in duck fat with chimmichuri. These melted in your mouth. I had no idea they were lamb until I asked about them. I highly recommend these.

Roasted Chicken

There's a little chicken left on that plate. Sorry, I am a Hoover when it comes to delicious food.

There’s a little chicken left on that plate. Sorry, I am a Hoover when it comes to delicious food.

Fresh turmeric, garlic, chili rubbed and brined sous vide for 36 hours. The chicken was wonderfully juicy and had a great smoky taste from the grill. It was awesome.

Beef Sliders

These were so simple and so yummy.

These were so simple and so yummy.

House-ground wagyu chuck brisket and short rib with grayson grease, caper aioli, and bacon. These were like an amped up burger. Perfectly juicy with an element unlike any other burger I’ve ever had, likely from the caper aioli.

Shrimp Skewers

There used to be many more skewers on this plate.

There used to be many more skewers on this plate.

Blackened shrimp with compressed, pickled watermelon, black olive tapenade, fava beans, pistachio vinaigrette, and toasted pistachio. The pickled watermelon had a crazy consistency; I actually thought it was tuna at first. I think this one was the craziest mixture of flavors, but they combined really well. I never would’ve thought to put these things together, but I guess that’s why I’m not a chef.

Soft Shell Crab

Still not sure I love softshell crab.

Still not sure I love softshell crab.

Tempura fried with papaya noodle salad, toasted rice, fish sauce, lime, chili, and cilantro. This probably would’ve ranked higher if I was a bigger fan of soft shell crabs. The flavor of the dish as a whole was great—I loved the tangy sweetness of the papaya salad—was great. It’s just the crab that I’m kind of weird about. However, I think if softies are your thing, you would’ve been very happy!

Pizza

And just the right size for me to not share with anyone!

And just the right size for me to not share with anyone!

White anchovies, fulian oregano, buffalo mozzarella, poached farm egg. I think I would’ve liked this a lot more if it was sans anchovies. The anchovies made the pizza really salty, which wasn’t my favorite. But everything about the pizza other than that was great, so I’m really looking forward to what other pizzas they’re going to have.

The bar area. How comfy!

The bar area. How comfy!

There are 5 signature cocktails at Screen Door which were created by their head bartender, Matthew McGarry. Because I’m nothing if not thorough, I decided to try each one of them FOR SCIENCE and I’ll rank them below:

Mother of Dragons

These are dangerously good.

These are dangerously good.

Ingredients: Pineapple, jalapeno rum, orange blossom water, strawberry calamansi syrup, aromatic bitters, with a grilled pineapple skewer.
My favorite of the 5 cocktails. It was just a little sweet and had just the right amount of kick on the back end. I was expecting it to be a lot spicier, but it was very subtle, which I appreciated because I am a wimp when it comes to that sort of thing. This I will definitely be ordering again.

Zinfandel Wine Punch

My knight in glowy armor.

My knight in glowy armor.

Ingredients: aperol, lemon juice, cava, zinfandel agave, orange zest,
This drink tasted like summertime to me. Had a little bit of a wine taste, but there was more of a fresh fruitiness to it that made me wish I was lounging poolside somewhere. Bring your own drink umbrella for this one.

Pacific Rim Coyote

I will only drink cocktails with leaves in them from now on.

I will only drink cocktails with leaves in them from now on.

Ingredients: Blanco tequila, lime juice, hibiscus agave, kaffir lime tincture, lime zest, kaffir leaf garnish
This drink tasted kind of like a margarita on steroids. None of that syrupy sweet & sour mix (thank goodness), instead focusing on the natural sweet & sour taste of the hibiscus agave and lime juice. So good.

Folly Fog

Just look at that rim!

Just look at that rim!

Ingredients: Earl Grey infused vodka, Orchard Pear, Pernod, Ground Early Grey, Orange half moon
This one was so unique. If you like Earl Grey tea, you’re going to love this one. I liked that it was atypical and unlike anything I’ve ever had before. Who knew tea and vodka paired so well together?

Old Friend

Ingredients: Willet Rye, barolo chinato, aperol, cocchi di torino vermouth, kumquat bitters, expressed orange peel
I think this was probably my least favorite. It tasted not unlike an old fashioned (hence the name), which I tend to not really care for.

They rolled out the yellow carpet, just for me!

They rolled out the yellow carpet, just for me!

Now that Screen Door officially opened this weekend, I’m looking forward to stopping by and making this one of my regular haunts!

Screen Door
1271 Folly Road
Charleston, SC 29412
843-573-7200

Click to add a blog post for Screen Door on Zomato

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Wild Wing Cafe Giveaway

May 11, 2015

Charleston is a city with thousands of food options, and when it comes to choosing a meal, there are endless & unique possibilities. But sometimes, all I crave is some high quality, unassuming bar food. Wild Wing Cafe is a great place for that. It’s a regional chain, so the food is consistent from location to location, and they’re a great spot to catch a sports event, or some live music at night. Lily and I decided to congratulate ourselves on making it through a particularly terrible Monday without killing anyone by loading up on something fried. We started with the Super Snacker Sampler (House chips, buffalo chicken rolls, hot shots, loaded skins, and mozzarella sticks. Served with dipping sauces, $12.99).

My favorite foods are all shades of brown.

My favorite foods are all shades of brown.

My favorites were the buffalo chicken rolls and the hot shots, as they were definitely the most unique things on the plate. The buffalo chicken rolls consisted of “chopped chicken in a creamy and spicy sauce with a hint of bleu cheese, wrapped up into a flour tortilla and lightly fried golden brown,” aka deep fried buffalo chicken dip. The hot shots are sausage and cheese fritters served with honey mustard and were literally bursting with flavor. They were nice and crispy on the outside and soft and oozing with cheese on the inside.

More things need to ooze cheese, please.

More things need to ooze cheese, please.

I also couldn’t resist the call of the Steel Town Spuds (Topped with ranch dressing, bacon, scallions & melted cheese. Choose big fat fries, crispy chips OR tater tots, $6.29) with tater tots, obviously. My only complaint is that there was very little ranch dressing on the tots. I asked for a side of ranch, which I dumped over the plate and that improved things immensely.

But dumping ranch dressing on an old gym shoe would make it edible, so...

But dumping ranch dressing on an old gym shoe would make it edible, so…


We debated for a long time over what flavor of wings to get since Wild Wing has so many different flavors to choose from. We tried to pick really unique sounding ones that we couldn’t get anywhere else and ended up with 6 honey lime sriracha wings and 6 ranchilada boneless wings (two flavors. one dip & celery, $10.49). I was surprised by how much I liked the honey lime sriracha sauce because I don’t typically like sriracha, but it was tangy and spicy and sweet all at the same time. The boneless wings were nice and crispy and the ranchilada sauce was yummy even though it didn’t really taste like I expected it to taste. It was a little spicier than I expected, so I ended up downing like a gallon of water, but they were still yummy enough to make it worth it.

Next time, I think I'm just going to only order wings with different sauces, because these were just too good.

Next time, I think I’m just going to only order wings with different sauces, because these were just too good.

One of my coworkers orders the burger from Wild Wing like once a week (that’s not a joke), so I decided to try it to see what all the fuss was about and ordered the Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger (Cheddar and pepper jack cheese, 3 strips of bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion & mayo, $10.49). It came out really thick, and cooked to medium well without being overdone, and the cheeses were nice and melty. The bacon was crispy but not hard, which is just how I like it. The fries are cut really uniquely, kind of like a mix between waffle and crinkle cut. They’re delicious.

This photo came from Yelp because my phone died mid-meal.

This photo came from Yelp because my phone died mid-meal.

As a thank you to all of my readers, I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to one of the Wild Wing Cafes in the Charleston area. Simply enter your info below & comment with your favorite Wild Wing wing sauce flavor to be entered to win! I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday, 5/20.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wild Wing Cafe
36 N. Market St.
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 722-9464

Wild Wing Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Rita’s Seaside Grille, Folly Beach, SC

March 20, 2015

Ok, so a couple weeks ago, I was invited to try Rita’s out on Folly. Never one to turn my nose up at free food, I gladly made the jaunt out to Folly Beach (although I did feel a bit like a traitor for not eating at Lost Dog Cafe). Rita’s is owned by the Halls family of Halls Chophouse, but could not be more different. It’s a very casual, laid-back, beachy kind of atmosphere with food that is both inventive and traditional at the same time.

Read: affordable

Read: affordable

We started with an order of the tuna nachos (crispy corn tortillas, queso, jack, jalapenos, black beans, peppers, onions, watermelon pico, choice of blackened tuna, grilled chicken, pulled pork, $11). They were good, but I thought the tuna was a little overcooked and chewy. I came back the next week with my mom and we got them with chicken instead and they were awesome. The one really great thing about this dish is that they top it with a housemade watermelon pico de gallo, which adds a layer of freshness to a traditionally uninventive dish.

Those aren't tomatoes; that's watermelon! I highly recommend this dish.

Those aren’t tomatoes; that’s watermelon! I highly recommend this dish.

We also got an order of their house smoked wings (house smoked jumbo wings, served with celery, ranch & blue cheese, tossed with choice of sweet & spicy, dry rub, BBQ, buffalo, 6 for $9 or 12 for $15), tossed in the sweet & spicy sauce. I really liked the sauce and the touch of smokiness that was in every bite. The second time I went, we got them in the dry rub, and I didn’t like them as much, so I definitely recommend the sweet & spicy sauce. Tina thought they were a little too smoky, so if you aren’t a fan of things tasting smoky, then I wouldn’t recommend these.

smoked-wings-ritas

I do like that you don’t have to choose between ranch and blue cheese… although I definitely only ever choose ranch. But I like not having to choose.


I also tried their beet & goat cheese salad (ruby & golden beets, arugula, pickled red onion, crumbled goat cheese, lemon thyme vinaigrette, $13). I’m not a huge fan of beets, but I thought this salad was pretty good. Then again, I tend to like anything with chunks of goat cheese in it. The vinaigrette was really light and citrusy, and I think it went really well with the tanginess of the pickled onions and the creaminess of the goat cheese.

Before you comment, I know you like beets, Christine, but you are a weirdo.

Before you comment, I know you like beets, Christine, but you are a weirdo. You’d really like this salad.

For the main course (like I needed more food, right?), I tried the Barnyard burger (fried egg, cheddar cheese, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, seasoned fries, $12). I really liked this burger despite the fact that it had egg on it… I think I’m starting to not dislike eggs as much as I used to. As long as they’re either covered in cheese or on a cheeseburger, at least. The burger was seasoned really well and it was pretty big. I also liked the bun and thought it had a nice bread-to-burger ratio. The fries were also really unique and delicious. They’re nice and crispy and topped with a good mix of seasonings. It tasted like there might have been brown sugar or something, because there’s a little bit of sweetness, which I really enjoyed.

From this angle, that pickle looks ginormous

From this angle, that pickle looks ginormous

I had inquired about the drink menu, because there’s nothing like a daiquiri on the beach. I was presented with a couple of different drinks to try because their cocktail menu is super unique, especially when it comes to frozen drinks. The first one I tried was the Key Lime martini (vodka, coconut liqueur, cream of coconut, fresh lime juice, graham cracker rim, $8), which was super yummy. It actually tasted like key lime pie in a glass and I absolutely loved the graham cracker rim.

I'll have 5 of these, please.

I’ll have 5 of these, please.

The next drink I tried was their signature “frizzle” (frozen light rum, dark rum, amaretto, ginger beer, orange and pineapple juices, mango & strawberry puree, $9). If there was ever a drink to embody “summertime” this is it. Take one sip and close your eyes and you’d feel like you were in the bahamas. It’s not a cocktail, it’s a mini-vacation in a glass.

frizzle-ritas

Miss Frizzle ain’t got nothin’ on this drink.

After the meal was over, the chef came out to thank me for dining. She was very friendly and happily posed for a picture for me.

She's so happy!

Peekaboo, Rita sees you.

Rant Alert: My second visit to Rita’s with my mom was not as smooth as the first. We sat out on the patio since it’s dog-friendly and she had Penny with her. Our waitress was nice, but forgetful. We ordered a plain chicken breast for the dog when we put in our appetizer orders and it still hadn’t arrived 20 minutes after we finished our entrees. Chicken breasts take no more than 15 minutes to grill, usually, so there’s no reason that it should’ve taken over an hour. Additionally, my mom had ordered ribs as her entree and asked for the bbq sauce on the side which also didn’t happen. When my mom asked to replace the 2 sides that came with the rib platter with 2 other sides, the waitress happily obliged, and then charged her for additional sides when the check came (without telling us that there was going to be an up charge. AND after forgetting part of our order).  When we asked for the check and told her to just forget about the chicken (which she mentioned still hadn’t even been put on the grill), the waitress didn’t apologize and in fact tried to get us to order dessert, which really annoyed me. She didn’t offer to comp the dessert or anything for her mistakes, but instead was trying to get us to up our order, despite the fact that she hadn’t even been able to deliver the rest of our meal properly. I’m hoping that the issue was with our particular server and not with the usual level of service that they offer. I guess my advice here is that if you sit out on the patio for dinner, don’t be in a rush and be prepared for things to take a lot longer.

The patio looks friendly and invited, but in fact is not.

Also, go during the daytime when it’s so pretty you’ll forget that your food still hasn’t arrived.

Sorry about that rant. I’m still annoyed, as you can tell, but I don’t want to let that discolor my entire experience. The food was really good and the first time I went, the service was great. I would want to go back for brunch (did someone say “Captain Crunch French Toast?!”), but I won’t be sitting out on the patio, that’s for sure. But if you’re looking for a restaurant out on Folly Beach that offers more than just fish and chips, and you don’t want to wait an hour for a table at Lost Dog, I think Rita’s is a pretty solid choice. The food is a tasty and can make up for the fact that the service doesn’t always hit the mark.

Plus, it's so close to the beach!

Plus, it’s so close to the beach!

Rita’s Seaside Grille
2 Center Street
Folly Beach, SC 29439
(843) 588-2525

Rita's Seaside Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

R Kitchen

February 13, 2015

Ok, so I’m torn about writing this post because I want R Kitchen to stay a hidden secret, but at the same time I want to shout my love for this wonderful restaurant from the rooftops.

Can you tell?

Can you tell?

The first time I came to R Kitchen, it was for Lauren’s birthday in December and we were both a little unprepared for what was about to happen. To begin with, it’s less of a restaurant and more of a place where you just hang out while a friend cooks you dinner. The space is super small, we’re talking like 12 people can fit into the restaurant tops. Chef Ross Webb offers up a stellar 5ish-course prix fixe meal for $25, and you sit at the counter and watch him cook. It’s like dinner and a show!

Chef Ross, hard at work being awesome.

Chef Ross, hard at work being awesome.

The first meal, our culinary adventure began with a delicious local corn succotash made with shrimp and a bunch of other delicious vegetables. Chef was also nice enough to make Lauren’s without shrimp since she doesn’t eat it (although that really would’ve just meant more for me).

Corn Succotash = Amazing

I’m not complaining.


I was hooked after the 1st course, but it took Lauren until the second course, the wilted kale and chick peas, to really fall in love. I’m always afraid of kale, because 90% of the times I order it, I receive bitter, chewy, shrubbery. Chef Ross’s kale was something else entirely. Garlicky and tomato-y and In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I wouldn’t have known it was kale.

Because that's the best way to eat kale.

Because that’s the best way to eat kale.

He also did a special surprise course of smoked salmon and bacon deviled egg, which was pretty delicious. And I hate eggs. So that’s really saying something.

Or is it?

Or is it?

Our first main course was the steak and potato hash. My steak was prepared perfectly and went really well with the potatoes, which were soft and crispy and wonderful.

I love steak

Can someone please teach me how to cook a steak kthxbye.

The final (and best) main course was the fried pork chop with dirty rice. I can’t remember what made the rice dirty, but I do remember that I loved it. The pork was awesome; the breading was crispy, and whatever the sauce was was nice and tangy and tied the whole dish together perfectly.

Because fried pork.

Because fried pork.

Our “dessert” course was brie and honey with some grapes. Lauren was crying at this point because she was so full, so I ate both hers and mine and it was glorious. I love brie.

I can eat cheese at any time of the day.

I can eat cheese at any time of the day.

The second time I went was with my mom. We had early reservations and were the first people in the restaurant. We were very excited.

Especially Tina.

Especially Tina.

Our first course for the evening was smoky mac and cheese. It was amazing and I loved it. I especially loved when they got out the blowtorch to burn the cheese and breadcrumb topping a bit and give it that extra smoky flavor.

Is this the best restaurant ever, or what??

Is this the best restaurant ever, or what??

The second course was a take on a thai coconut soup using a traditional coconut broth, which Chef Ross added crab to. I thought it was really yummy without being overly “seafood” tasting, which I was a little worried about. It also had this cracker thing in it, which gave it a really nice texture.

I love soups that look like gravy.

I love soups that look like gravy.

After this course, we had a little meat plate with some salami and prosciutto. It was good, but not spectacular. I did really like the mustard that accompanied it.

Because meat.

Because meat.

The next course was a really fresh salad made with local Johns Island beans and pieces of ham. Normally I’m not a huge fan of ham, but if this salad had a fan club, I’d run for president.

The greatest salad ever.

The greatest salad ever.

The first main course was a “pork & mole” that Chef Ross served over a bed of angel hair pasta and topped with avocado. Tina doesn’t really like meat sauces, but I thought the pasta was really good. It had a different flavor than what I was expecting because of the mole sauce, but it was very hearty and homey tasting.

lol

Like a warm blanket in a bowl.

Our final course was steak and risotto’d potato. Tina was freaking out about asking to get her steak cooked well done, but Chef Ross was more than happy to do it for her. He laughed and agreed that he doesn’t understand why chefs get so irritable about serving steaks at anything above a medium. I think that’s when Tina officially fell in love.

I, however, like my meat to bleed. It reminds me that I'm on top of the food chain.

I, however, like my meat to bleed. It reminds me that I’m on top of the food chain.

Chef Ross was nice enough to pose with us for a picture in between all of his cooking. What a great guy. Thanks for having us, we can’t wait to come back!

Chef Ross and the peanut gallery.

Chef Ross and the peanut gallery.

R Kitchen
212 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 789-4342

R Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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