Friday, May 17, 2013

Dining in Charleston

I have been dreaming about the food in Charleston for the past four months. Even though I was surrounded by heaving plates of Spaghetti Carbonara and fresh-out-the-oven Pizza Napoletana in Italy, I couldn't stop thinking about the food that awaited me back in Charleston.  I promised myself when I got back I would start a diet to detox from all the rich food, but I took one look at all the brand new restaurants (and the old gems) and fell to my vices. Charleston, I'm weak for you.

112 N. Market St
Peninsula Grill on Urbanspoon

For Mother's Day I wanted to do something really special for my mom, I wanted to take her to a place she would always remember. She kept dropping hints about wanting to try the Coconut Cake at Peninsula Grill, especially after last week when Kathie Lee and Hoda tried it on the Today Show (and loved it). So after one too many conversations about the cake, I surprised her with a Mother's Day Dinner at the Peninsula Grill. 

This was probably one of the best meals I've had in Charleston, and I don't dole that title out very often. My mom and I both had the Pan Roasted Jumbo Sea Scallops with braised butter lettuce, diced lobster, garlic-chive mashed potatoes, and citrus lobster broth. The scallops sat on this incredible crouton that absorbed all of the succulent citrus lobster broth, its no wonder Charleston Magazine did a write-up on this dish.  

And of course our dinner wouldn't have been complete without the famous Coconut Cake. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs because this cake was huge,  we had to keep taking breaks in-between bites. We found out that the the whole cake weighs 12 pounds which means each slice is 1 pound. But don't bother asking how many calories are in a slice because the servers won't tell you (trust me its a good thing, the number is up there). But you can't put a price on something that good (or "sinful" as my mom called it).

544 King St
The Ordinary on Urbanspoon

I've probably violated some kind of James Beard Award rule by going to Mike Lata's new restaurant The Ordinary before trying his first one, FIG, but I just can't resist a good seafood restaurant. You can tell Lata really put his heart into this place, the decor is beautiful, the atmosphere is energetic, and the food is...far from just "ordinary". The menu changes every day depending on the seafood import (usually local and regional oysters, lobster, crab, clams, etc.).

One item on the menu that isn't subject to change is The Ordinary Lobster Roll. Growing up in the New England area whenever I see a lobster roll on a menu down south I feel a moral obligation to try it, that and the fact that I just love lobster. This lobster roll was definitely on par with something you'd find in Maine, kudos Mike Lata. The delicious warm, buttery bun (which I found out is made by local bakery Browns Court Bakery) practically melted in my hands, and the lobster salad was perfect, not too heavy on the mayo or spices. Although I wish my date for the night had liked oysters so we could have had one of the seafood towers, I was really in love with that lobster roll. I'll definitely be back soon.

**Shortly after this post was published Food & Wine Magazine named The Ordinary's Lobster Roll one of America's Best Lobster Rolls 

58 Line Street
Barsa Tapas on Urbanspoon

I have been meaning to go to Barsa for a while, but its not-so-ideal location has kind of made it an afterthought when it comes to choosing a place to eat. I finally made a trip over here with one of my friends who studied abroad in Spain and was dying to try some really good Spanish food. Not knowing what to expect we kind of came here with moderate expectations, and were pleasantly surprised by the exceptional food, service, and prices.

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that virtually no one knows about their happy hour. 1/2 price paella and $5 dollar cocktail drinks? It's a steal. We started with some tapas which included Papas Bravas, Romesco, and Calamari.  I can never turn down a glass of Sangria (especially on a discount), so I took advantage of the happy hour special. Naturally I had to get the seafood paella dish, which I was kind of nervous about because I have had some really awful paella outside of Spain. Thankfully this paella was delicious, the seafood was so fresh and the rice was the perfect consistency. Barsa is definitely a neighborhood gem, I'm anticipating another trip back for happy hour.

I know I'll never even scratch the surface of places to dine in Charleston, but with a whole summer ahead of me I'm sure I'll be able to cross a few places off my bucket list.

Happy Friday!

1 comment:

  1. Dude. We are definitely going restaurant hopping when I get there in July. Prepare your belly.