Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews


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.



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?)

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

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

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  • Kelley October 7, 2015 at 11:03 am

    All of those plates look delicious — I’ll have to stop by there!

  • Michiel Perry October 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    A bread flight is something heaven sent!

  • Charlotte Park October 7, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    This place is a gem that I dream of often. Great recap article!
    Favorite parts- “Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.” and the last sentence.

  • Gillian October 7, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I’ve never heard of Spero! But after seeing that bread flight I might just have to go!

  • alexandria waning October 8, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Your second plates looks so good. Thanks for the recommendation.

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