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Quote of the Week

Quote of the Week 5/28/12

May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day! Sorry this post was so delayed. I’ve been in a food coma for a few weeks, recovering from all the food my mother made for Memorial Day weekend festivities.

Saturday night we went to dinner downtown Greenville at Pomegranate, a Persian restaurant. Who knew Greenville was worldly enough to have a Persian restaurant? I sure didn’t. But it was amazing. I’m sure I’ll be reviewing it at some point, so keep checking back!

Sunday, we celebrated Sean and Ben’s birthdays in the usual fashion: Tina made way more food than any normal human would be able to consume, and we all ate too much and drank too much and stayed up til the wee hours of the night. It was great. My dad smoked a pork butt in his new smoker (insert requisite butt joke here), and grilled hot dogs. Tina made this fruit dip from cool whip, vanilla pudding, and amaretto which was absolutely divine. I didn’t even bother with the fruit, I just kept using a spoon. She also made grape tomatoes stuffed with goat cheese (which I kept stuffing into my face), caprese bites, some kind of veggie dip and a bunch of vegetables, bread-wrapped asparagus with blue cheese, cheese dip and chips from the mexican restaurant, cold cuts, cupcakes, a cotton candy vodka sponge cake, cookies, and other various desserts and foodstuffs. There was also beer galore, and different flavored margaritas being made throughout the night.

Needless to say, I woke up Monday morning feeling like I’d been hit by train. It’s a good thing it was a holiday so I didn’t feel so bad about lounging around in sweatpants for the remainder of the day. For lunch we went to Logan’s Roadhouse (the one where you throw peanuts on the floor) where, for some reason, I thought it was a good idea to order cheese fries, and spent the rest of the day feeling even worse than when I’d woken up. And of course, that was when my mom decided it would be a good idea to go to the mall to look for bathing suits. I bought 3.

This week’s food quote comes from George Bernard Shaw and I think it pretty much sums up my thoughts about this weekend.

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”
–George Bernard Shaw

I need someone to remind me how to breathe. My stomach’s so full I seem to have forgotten how.

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Halls Chophouse

October 23, 2011

I first learned about Halls Chophouse in my Seminar in Entrepreneurship class where they came to speak to us. I admire that it’s a family run business that is based mainly on quality of service and building and cultivating relationships with their customers. A lot of places talk a lot about customer service, but for many, it’s just that—talk. Halls actually delivers on its promises. They give you great service and great food. Seriously good food. I’ve said before that Husk is my favorite restaurant, but if I’m craving steak, there is not even a competition. Halls would win out every time. Literally the best steak I’ve ever eaten. And this is coming from a girl who doesn’t actually like steak. (Ditto salad. I’ll talk more about the chopped salad later, but trust me—it’s as close to divine as a salad will ever get). I’ve ordered steaks at other restaurants in Charleston before—Peninsula Grill, Husk, Red Drum, 82 Queen, and Grill 225—and there’s no comparison. I haven’t been to Oak yet, and I have a feeling I probably won’t go anytime soon, either. I just can’t imagine they’d be better than Halls.

They’re better than you, Oak, and they know it.

I’ve been to Halls for dinner five times or so. The first time was with my dad and Shay to spend the gift certificate they gave out to my class (that’s good marketing right there. I saved $25 but probably spent 3 times that on the meal for the three of us. And trust me, it was worth every penny). We started off with the she-crab soup which was really good. I hate it when restaurants add too much sherry to their she-crab soup, but Halls does it right. The dominant flavor is the crab, with only a hint of sherry—exactly how a good she-crab soup should be.

Does this qualify as pornography? I hope so.

I then got the Halls Chopped salad, which is Uh- May-Zing. I live for chopped salad. If more restaurants had them, I’d eat salad way more often, and if they all tasted like Halls, I’d actually enjoy eating them. It has lettuce and tomato and celery and black-eyed peas, peppers and bacon and a whole bunch of other stuff in a buttermilk dressing. But it’s perfectly balanced with the dressing. I hate it when my salad is drowning in salad dressing, but the Halls salad is perfect in every sense of the word. I’d say I’d go there just for the salad, but I know there’s no way I’d go there for food and not get a steak.

Touch my salad, and you lose a finger.

Touch my salad, and you lose a finger.

Shay got the filet mignon, while my dad opted for the prime rib. This being my first time at Halls (not realizing how amazing their steaks are), I opted for the lobster. The lobster was about 4 pounds and served with plenty of butter.

As it should be.

As it should be.

 Shay offered me a bite of her filet (which she’d gotten butterflied and cooked to medium well) and as soon as it touched my tongue, I knew I’d ordered the wrong thing. Don’t get me wrong, the lobster is delicious, but it’s nothing compared to the filet. Did I mention it’s the best filet I’ve ever had? Because it’s the best filet I’ve ever had. The prime rib was top notch as well. I’m pretty sure none of us spoke after the entrées had been delivered; we were too busy enjoying the food to carry on a conversation.

I'm gonna eat you, sucka!

I’m gonna eat you, sucka!

They serve their sides family style, meaning that one side serves 2-4 people. They’re pretty big. For sides we got the asparagus with hollandaise and the pepper jack grits. Now, as a southerner, I am particular about my grits. Quaker sells this instant crap that says “Grits” on it, but trust me—those are not grits. Halls serves real grits. Thick and creamy and delicious. Not cheesy enough so that you lose the flavor of the grits themselves, but just cheesy enough to make the dish feel complete. They are all about balance at Halls. It just works perfectly.

How could you not want to eat that whole skillet?

How could you not want to eat that whole skillet?

The second time I went to Halls was for my mom’s birthday. It was my parents and me, and we went all out. We got spicy shrimp and tempura lobster as starters. I didn’t really care for the lobster, but my parents loved it. The spicy shrimp were pretty good, but I was expecting them to be boiled shrimp, like you’d find in a Creole or jambalaya, but they were just fried shrimp tossed in a spicy sauce. They were still good, I’d just had my heart set on non-fried shrimp. I once again got the chopped salad while Tina opted for the roasted beet salad (who orders things like that? Really, Tina? Really?). The chopped salad is better. I almost stabbed Tina for trying to steal a forkful of my salad. I don’t play around. For our entrées, I chose the filet.

Did I mention it’s the best filet I’ve ever had? I did? Ok, well I just want you to understand that it’s THE BEST FILET I’VE EVER HAD.

Did I mention it’s the best filet I’ve ever had? I did? Ok, well I just want you to understand that it’s THE BEST FILET I’VE EVER HAD.

You can get sauces on the side with your steak, like Gorgonzola sauce, or béarnaise, but trust me—you don’t need any sauce. The meat tastes amazing all on its own (that’s what she said!). I can’t remember what Tina and Russ got, because I was too focused on my own food to take the time to care about their choices. All I know is that there was meat, there was a lot of it, and we ate it all. Ron Swanson would be proud.

MEAT TORNADO

For sides this time, we got the asparagus again, and the macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and cheese is one of my weaknesses. It’s the one thing I seem to be unable to resist. It’s my kryptonite. Even when I’m dieting, if there’s mac and cheese within reach, I won’t even hesitate. I just start devouring it without giving myself time to think about it. The mac and cheese at Halls is good. It’s not great, but it’s good. It’s more creamy than cheesy, and I prefer my mac and cheese to be extra cheesy. The waitress was raving about the mac and cheese (she loves it. It’s her favorite), so I guess it’s all a matter of personal preference. I do have to say that I’m a fan of the squiggly noodles. I’d just prefer more cheesy in the saucey pleasey! Next time, I’d just stick with the grits.

Macaroni skillets are what I dream about at night.

Macaroni skillets are what I dream about at night.

You may have noticed that I clarified both of my visits by saying “The first/second time I went for dinner.” This is because Halls has an amazing bar. Rather, they have one drink that I’m obsessed with called the 434 martini. It’s pineapple infused vodka that’s served ice cold and frothy. It’s not overly fruity, but it definitely tastes nothing like alcohol. Except for the fact that it’s straight alcohol. So you don’t realize how much you’ve actually had until you stand up to go to the bathroom after the 5th one and you almost fall on your face (that’s actually a true story about my dad the night I graduated). The first time I had one was at a party hosted at Halls for my entrepreneurship class after our final exam. It was a 2 hour reception with free food and drinks courtesy of Tommy Baker (anytime there are free drinks involved, you can guarantee I’m going to make an appearance). I made Lily come with me and we started drinking martinis, excited for some free Halls food. We found out, about 3 martinis in, that the “free food” was actually a veggie tray. Don’t get me wrong, I love carrot sticks, but if I’d known that’s all the food I was going to be having, I would have eaten something hearty before I starting downing liquor. Needless to say, Lily and I had a great time.

Don't be fooled by how pretty it looks. It's deadly. And delicious

Don’t be fooled by how pretty it looks. It’s deadly. And delicious

I took my mom to Halls for drinks before we went to Pantheon for the drag show, and we sat at one of the community bar tables drinking and hanging out. One of the Hall family members, usually Billy or Tommy, came by a number of times to make sure we had everything we needed and that we were enjoying ourselves (we were). We stayed for about an hour, and we getting ready to head out to go across the street to O-Ku (they make these habanero-infused vodka martinis with sugared rims that my mother is obsessed with) when Tommy Hall stopped us to ask why we were leaving so soon. My mother, being my mother, told him “We’re going over to O-Ku to get sugar and spice martinis. They’re my favorite.” Tommy Hall replied “O-Ku is great, but did you know we actually invented those? Why don’t you have a seat and I’ll bring you one.” So we sat back down and he brought us a round on the house. Tina was skeptical that they would be as good as O-Ku’s, so she was quite surprised to find out that she actually liked these more. Apparently the ones that Halls makes are spicier. I don’t really do spicy. I took one sip and then had to chug a gallon of water to be able to feel my lips again.

It's easy to confuse this with the 434. But, you will know you made a mistake IMMEDIATELY after taking a sip.

It’s easy to confuse this with the 434. But, you will know you made a mistake IMMEDIATELY after taking a sip.

I’ve literally never had a bad experience at Halls. Every time we leave, Billy is there to shake our hands, or give us a hug and thank us for coming. Once he even chased us down the street, to make sure he thanked us properly. The service continues, even when you’re not at the restaurant. They sent my mom a hand-written thank you note, telling her how much they appreciated her coming into the restaurant on her birthday. They even wished me a happy birthday on Facebook, even though I hadn’t been to Halls in over 2 months. They’re all about the relationships that they build with their customers. Pairing their outstanding customer service with their delectable food (did I mention the filet is the best I ever had??) and you have a recipe for an unforgettable night out.

I may have forgotten to mention the tray of meat.

I may have forgotten to mention the tray of meat.

 Summary: Get the steak and the grits. Drink the 434. Tip your server.

halls-chophouse-storefront

Halls Chophouse
434 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 727-0090
Halls Chophouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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