Restaurant Week is usually my favorite time of the year. A chance to get a sampling of some of the best that Charleston restaurants have to offer without totally breaking the bank. This year, I was in charge of picking the group restaurant. After reading a Yahoo! article that declared The Macintosh one of the Best New Restaurants of 2012, I decided that’s where we should go. Unfortunately, the evening started off bad, and never really went up from there. I made reservations for 9:45 Friday night. I got there 10 minutes early and was told that our table had paid, they were just waiting for them to get up before we could be seated. Fast forward 45 minutes later and we’re finally told we can sit down. No apology. No comped beverages or appetizers. Just a flippant “thanks for waiting,” as they showed us to our table.
So as we’re sitting at the table, I’m unhappy, tired, and hungry. Then comes our waiter, who was surly and unhelpful for most of the meal, going as far as to scold us when we stacked up our menus after ordering (you know, to try and make his job easier)… “No, don’t do that. Just leave them there, I’ll come around the table and get them.” Right. Ok. Then he was constantly reaching over us to pick things up or put things down, and not a single time did he say “pardon my reach.” Normally this wouldn’t bother me, except I’m at a restaurant where I’m paying $28 and up for entrees, I expect some top notch service. Then he just disappeared for a while, we don’t know where he went. Basically, he was just terrible.
They were very clever with their restaurant week menu. Instead of just giving us a menu with the restaurant week items on it, they gave us the full menu with the restaurant week menu items underlined. Very smart on their part, since only 2 of the 7 people in our party ended up ordering from the restaurant week offerings. It was also kind of annoying that although their menu stayed the same throughout the week, they changed up the items that were part of the 3 for $30 promotion (so if we’d have come on Thursday or Saturday night, we might have had a better selection…basically we lost the food lottery).
To start, I got the pork ravioli (Country Ham, Shiitake Mushroom, Creamed Lacinato Kale). Honestly, I only got it because it was the most expensive of the appetizers, and I wanted to get my money’s worth. It was actually spectacular. If I’d just gotten a big plate of those, I would’ve been perfectly happy. Bennett got the crispy pork belly (Pole Beans, Marcona Almonds, Radish, Lardo Vinaigrette) even though he opted out of the 3 for $30 special, and it was also outstanding. Naringa got the salad of carrots (Ginger, Golden Raisins, Ricotta Cheese, Asian Greens, Candied Spiced Nuts) which she really liked, but I never in a million years would’ve ordered.
For the entree I got the grilled Local Triggerfish (Anson Mills’ Sea Island Cape Beans, Red Quinoa, Kennerty Farm’s Mustard Greens, Dashi Broth). It was good, but I think they undercooked the beans which was disappointing. Or maybe I’ve just never had beans cooked correctly? Are they supposed to be cooked al dente like pasta? I don’t know. Naringa opted for the Crispy Duck Leg (Golden Beets, Pickled Mustard Seed, Chestnuts, Winter Greens, Celeriac Goat Cheese Puree), which she really seemed to like. The only other Restaurant Week entree was a Winter Vegetable Plate (Carolina Gold Rice Grits, Seasonal Vegetables, Mushrooms, Butternut Squash) which I’m sure was delicious, but for the red-blooded american boys and girls I was eating with, it left something to be desired. Everyone else opted to get “The Mac” 8oz House Ground Burger (Aged Cheddar, Nueske’s Bacon, Pecorino Truffle Frites), which was good but not better than many of the other burgers you can get around Charleston.
For dessert, I got the caramelized banana and peanut butter chocolate tart, which was really yummy and tasted like a banana Reese’s cup. I liked it a lot, although it was very rich. Naringa got some kind of apple something that was really yummy. Bennett caved in and got the sticky buns dessert with some kind of liquor glaze, I want to say bourbon, but I’m not sure.
I got two cocktails while I was there, one was really good and the other was God awful. The Honey Badger (Jack Daniels Honey, housemade chai, orange bitters, almond milk) is possibly the worst cocktail I’ve ever tried. DO NOT GET IT. Unless you’re really into whiskey and chai, in which case you’re gonna love it. The Little Italy (Luxardo, Cinzano, prosecco, lemon) was delicious and almost made up for the first cocktail.
At the end of the meal they tacked on an automatic 20% gratuity for our waiter (who did NOT deserve it), even though it said nowhere on the menu that they automatically tack on gratuity, nor did they mention it on the phone when I made my reservations. So that was annoying. All in all, I’d say I might give them a second chance (not during restaurant week ever again), but I definitely wasn’t as impressed as I expected to be.
479 King St, Charleston, SC 29403