In case you couldn’t tell from my original post announcing Workshop‘s concept and design, I’ve been VERY excited about Charleston’s first adult food court, featuring a rotating list of restaurants. It’s been open since about the beginning of May, and I’ve been more than a few times, so I feel pretty confident in being able to write this review, which is different than most of my reviews, because it’s not a review of a singular place, but rather a number of restaurants all at the same address. I will be reviewing all of the restaurants currently at the space and will update as old places leave and new ones take residence.
Bad Wolf Coffee – Ongoing
Bad Wolf is an “all-day café serving Four Barrell Coffee, house-made pastries, wine and small plates from chef Jonathan Ory.” It’s the only place in Charleston that serves Four Barrell coffee (which is worth the visit alone). When I first walked in, I was impressed with how clean and industrial the space was, with lots of glass, gleaming silver polished finishes, wood, and bright blue flourishes.
The first dish they served us from Bad Wolf was this little tartine of fresh fruits and veggies and housemade cheese topped with some speck ham. It was very refreshing, and a great combination of refreshing, crunchy, creamy, and salty.
They also served a little dessert, called the Paris-Brest, a cream-filled choux pastry that was absolutely fantastic! The cream was super buttery and the outside was light and chewy in the best possible way. Think open-faced cream puff.
Finally, we got to try some of the famous Four Barrell coffee! I opted for mine in the form of iced coffee with half cream, half almond milk, which, before you start commenting about how basic I am, was done accidentally. The coffee was super smooth and I didn’t even feel the need to add sugar, which is saying a lot for me.
Beech Test Kitchen – Leaving September 3rd, 2017
Beech is the newest occupant of Workshop, marking its second location in Charleston (the first is on King Street near CofC). It replaced JD Loves Cheese toward the end of June, meaning if you want to find cheesy bread, you’re going to have to look elsewhere (I recommend Slice, but more on that if you scroll down). Beech’s whole schtick is “fruit, fish, rice, and vegetables,” and they lived up to that motto when they brought out their dishes to try, an acai bowl and a shrimp poke bowl. Both were fantastic and made me feel like I was feeding my body lots of quality nutrition. Then I cancelled that out with a cocktail, and no one was surprised.
Juan Luis – Ongoing (thank the lawd)
I was first exposed to pitmaster John Lewis’s Tex-Mex side at his weekly Taco Tuesday events at his namesake BBQ joint on the Eastside. I wasn’t sure how a BBQ master would be able to also be skilled at Mexican food, but one puffy taco later, I was sold. At Juan Luis, I’ve tried a number of things. Although it sounds like a cop out, I’m a huge fan of the queso, which is thick and creamy, with just the right amount of spice.
For actual food, I love the tamales, which are stuffed with their signature red-chile pork. These are some of my favorite tamales that I’ve had in Charleston, hands down. They definitely pack some heat, so I recommend an ice cold margarita to cool your mouth down.
I am also a huuuuge fan of the green chile enchiladas with chicken, with a side of rice and beans. Although both the refried and charro beans are delicious, I think the refried beans are much better. I’m not sure what he does differently, but they’re super flavorful and not as…slimy(? I guess is the best word?) as the refried beans you sometimes get at a typical Mexican restaurant. They have a lot more texture. And the chicken in the enchiladas is perfectly pulled and the whole thing is like a flavor explosion. I’m glad it’ll be sticking around for a long, long time.
Kite Noodle – Leaving Aug 14, 2017
I’m so sad that Kite Noodle is leaving, because their noodles truly are something special. Kite Noodle specializes in fast, fresh Korean food and is also helmed by Jonathan Ory. One of the first things I ever ate at Workshop, which remains one of my favorites to this day, was the Japchae (sweet potato noodles with vegetables and bulgogi), which is so unique and packed full of flavor.
A new dish I recently tried was the Bibim Guksu, chilled Somyeon (Korean wheat noodles) with kimchi and bulgogi and an egg. Despite being served cold, these noodles have a bit of spice in them, so they heat you up from the inside.
Be sure to visit Kite Noodle before they leave for good on 8/14!
Pink Bellies – Ongoing
I’ve been a fan of the banh mi at Pink Bellies since they were just a tiny little food truck at the corner of St. Phillip’s and Calhoun Street. They’re known for their pulled pork & jam banh mi, which features pulled pork, mayo, blueberry jam, chilis, pickled carrots, and cilantro. It’s different, but also familiar (assuming you’re already familiar with banh mi), and is a great variation from the classic. I highly recommend it!
I’ve also heard amazing things about their Animal-style burger, so I hope to try it someday soon!
Slice – Leaving May 4, 2018
Ok, so this review is the least fair of all of the other reviews, because I’ve only had a sample of one menu item from Slice, and it wasn’t the pizza (I know, I know). But, what I had was absolutely delicious. Technically it was off menu, a take on their classic meatball sub. It was a mini slider on one of their garlic knots, and y’all. It was so good. I literally cannot wait to go back and enjoy the rest of their menu.