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

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  • Marianne September 3, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    C&B was pretty much the only place I ate while I was in college ( other than Jack’s. Dichotomy! ). Looks like it’s time to go back and eat something other than their build-your-old-salad. That Veggie and Eggs Bennie looks AMAZING!

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