Charleston City Paper - Dish Dining Guide, Summer/Fall 2020

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a Charleston City Paper publication

Summer/Fall 2020 || F   ree



Fall brings new harvests, rustic flavors, idealic weather and sunsets that look painted.

Come join us.

1 0 0 C H U R C H S T. - M T. P 2 9 4 6 4 | 8 4 3 . 3 5 2 . 9 5 1 0 | A L L M E N U S O N L I N E AT : T A V E R N A N D T A B L E . C O M

Game T IME BITES Historic Shem Creek | 98 Church Street, Mt. Pleasant | 843.388.0003 | w w w . r e d s i c e h o u s e . c o m

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Check out our 2020 special food & drink offerings that'll have you digging in on game day!


Ruta Smith

Grilled chicken satay at Tu Publisher: Andy Brack

editorial Editor: Sam Spence Cuisine Editor: Parker Milner Arts Editor: Connelly Hardaway Music Editor: Heath Ellison Staff Writers: Skyler Baldwin, Lindsay Street Web Editor: Lauren Hurlock Contributors: Stephanie Barna, Susan Cohen, Suzanne Cohen, Katherine Connor, Eric Doksa, Robert Donovan, Kinsey Gidick , Allston McCrady, Robert F. Moss, Melissa Tunstall, Vanessa Wolf Editorial Intern: Jeanne Dunn

sales Sales Director: Cris Temples Account Executives: Hollie Anderson Colby Chisholm Ashley Frantz Lauren Kesmodel

design

More Charleston restaurants have departed than normal this year, but the ones sticking around are responsible for shaping the future of the city’s food and beverage industry. Lucky for us, we’re in good hands. We might have been stripped of much of the comradery that comes with dining out, but local restaurants have become essential beacons of light, developing safety protocols on the fly with little guidance or direction. We’ve seen a heightened focus on supporting Black-owned restaurants, helping us rediscover establishments integral to Charleston’s past,

present and future. As Parker Milner discusses on page 6, upscale restaurants are getting creative with takeout, and some newcomers have found an offering that fits the time, adding to the growing list of Charleston’s hidden gems. Sure, difficult days are ahead, as local figures point out on page 14, but our city has proven itself resilient, ambitious and empathetic in the last six months. A special congratulations goes out to all the Charleston restaurants featured in this edition of Dish, places where employees are grinding everyday, keeping customers fed with a smile on their faces.

4 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

inside (p6)

(p14)

(p20)

(p41)

Where to find Charleston’s delicious hidden gems

Charleston chefs and restaurateurs on the pandemic’s impact and long-term ramifications

Introducing the top restaurants in Charleston for Fall 2020

Grab a few drinks outside at these Charleston spots this fall

Eat This

Staying Power

(p42)

The Top 50

(p44)

One, Please

(p46)

Advertiser Index

Index

Family of Four

A breakdown of advertisers in this issue

A breakdown of restaurants in this issue by type of cuisine

My family and Ma’am Saab are surviving, but it has not been easy

Art Director: Scott Suchy Production Director: Déla O’Callaghan Graphic Designer: Christina Bailey Staff Photographer: Ruta Smith Additional photography: Jonathan Boncek

distribution Circulation Team: Mandy Baker, Jesse Craig, Chris Glenn, Robert Hogg, David Lampley, John Melnick, Sam Ognibene Published by City Paper Publishing, LLC Members: J. Edward Bell • Andrew C. Brack

o  n the cover Ma’am Saab’s beef samosas, photographed by Ruta Smith. Dish is a publication of the Charleston City Paper and is published twice a year by City Paper Publishing, LLC. All content is copyrighted and the property of City Paper Publishing, LLC. Charleston City Paper 1315 Rutledge Avenue Charleston, SC 29403 (843) 577-5304 charlestoncitypaper.com


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Where to find Charleston’s delicious hidden gems

By Parker Milner

C

harlestonians are fortunate to live in a city filled with celebrated dishes. Fried chicken from Bertha's, oyster sliders from The Ordinary, whole hog barbecue from Rodney Scott, a lobster roll from 167 Raw — the list goes on. Locals know the city has more to offer than what comes up in a Google search for “best dishes in Charleston,” and we’re here to help. From breakfast to dessert and everything in between, this list of Charleston’s hidden gems will give you the insider’s scoop on what to eat and how to get it.

B   reakfast Taco Babas on Cannon (11 Cannon St.)

6 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

Babas on Cannon’s breakfast menu includes items like avocado toast and overnight oats, but the star of the show is the breakfast taco. Find Nueske’s bacon lardons, Storey Farms eggs and just the right amount of gruyere inside a flour tortilla. Order the grab-and go breakfast on Babas’ app, and be sure to keep an eye out for weekly breakfast taco specials, which use local ingredients like brisket from Lewis Barbecue or Home Team BBQ.

P   izza Cake

D’Allesandro’s Pizza (229 St Philip St.)

Jo's Disco Fries at Bumpa's Ruta Smith

The existence of the pizza cake at D’Al’s has been an open secret among City Paper staff since 2015. Account manager Ashley Frantz’s friends knew she wasn’t a fan of traditional cake, so they asked D’Allesandro’s continued on page 8


bohemianbull.com

843.225.1817

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 7

1531 folly rd.


Pizza Cake at D'Allessandro's

Gems from page 6

Pizza co-owner Nick D’Allesandro if he could whip something up. On that day, the D’Als pizza cake was born. “I was like ‘I don’t know, but I can try.’ I looked it up on Google to see if I could figure it out,” D’Allesandro said. “They all looked pretty disgusting, but I thought I could make something better.” His creation, which he said is just “three small pizzas wrapped in a large pizza” was a huge hit at the party, but D’Allesandro said he only makes it for special occasions. “We don’t really have it on the menu. It holds up the kitchen a little bit, but we make it from time to time for people.”

B  utcherblock

Bringing Southern Hospitality B  urger to the American Steakhouse

Ted’s Butcherblock (334 East Bay St.)

8 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

VOTED BEST Restaurant • Sunday Brunch • Steak Waitstaff • Downtown Restaurant • Martini Summerville Restaurant and Restaurant When Someone Else is Paying Downtown • 424 King St. Nexton/Summerville • 300 Nexton Square Dr. Also visit Halls in Columbia & Greenville

You only have one chance each Saturday to dive into the Ted’s Butcherblock burger, which is made using freshly ground Painted Hills natural beef. Each burger is prepared out back in the eatery’s special Green Egg grill and placed inside a fresh bun from Brown’s Court Bakery. Opt for basic toppings or try the special — one recent offering featured a pickled green tomato, candied bacon, housemade pimento cheese and hot sauce aioli.

Jo’s Disco Fries Bumpa’s (5 Cumberland St.)

HallsChophouse.com

Tucked away on Cumberland Street near the waterfront, Bumpa’s is a new hidden gem itself. After quietly opening this summer,

Breakfast Taco at Babas on Cannon Photos by Ruta Smith

executive chef Joe Palmitessa rolled out a menu featuring elevated bar fare like Scotch eggs, fried shrimp rolls and hearty burgers along with one can’t-miss riff on a Northern classic. “The Jo’s disco fries are named after [co-owner] Dan’s wife and are a spin on a classic New Jersey disco fry which is traditionally mozzarella and beef gravy,” Palmitessa said. “We put our own spin on it by adding our Guinness-braised short rib and caramelized onions.” Fries, gravy and beer-braised beef. Sold. continued on page 10


GabrielleDining.com | 833.997.1701 | 404 King St. Charleston, SC 29403

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 9

Stylishly Southern. Bold, Fresh & Flavorful.


Blackened Tuna Nachos at Rita's Seaside Grill

Ruta Smith

Gems from page 8

B   lackened Tuna N   achos Rita’s Seaside Grill (2 Center St.)

10 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

Rita’s convenient Center Street location makes it a popular choice for visitors at Folly Beach. Nachos are the perfect shareable snack, but the pandemic might be just the excuse you need to hoard them for yourself. Rita’s ups the ante by topping crunchy corn

tortilla chips with blackened ahi tuna, queso and watermelon pico de gallo, along with all the other expected toppings. Sweet, spicy, salty — these nachos have it all.

B   risket Nachos Lewis Barbecue (464 Nassau St.)

While we’re talking nachos, Lewis Barbecue’s brisket nachos are a can’t-miss hidden gem. Going for the nachos at Lewis might sound continued on page 12

Brisket Nachos at Lewis Barbecue

Andrew Cebulka


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S'mores Chocolate Mousse at The Darling Oyster Bar

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Gems from page 10

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crazy, we get that. Anything topped with the Prime-cut Lewis brisket, creamy queso and jalapenos works for us. Pro tip: Go during happy hour (3:30-6 p.m. Monday through Friday) when they’re just $4.

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12 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

VOTED BEST PLASTIC SURGEON 7 YEARS IN A ROW

245 Seven Farms Dr #230 | Daniel Island | 843.881.2130

Tobo Sushi (10 Conroy St.)

Fried sushi burrito — need we say more? Tobo Sushi, Revelry Brewing’s resident food truck stationed outside seven days a week, serves a colossal flash-fried sushi burrito for just $10. Filled with your choice of crab, shrimp, tuna or salmon along with avocado, masago, cucumbers, jalapenos and cream cheese, this handheld is truly the best of both worlds.

F  ried Chicken

Edmund’s Oast (1081 Morrison Drive)

Chefs have been forced to revisit their menus in 2020, and Edmund’s Oast executive chef Bob Cook’s fried chicken has proven to be a delicious, comforting option that travels well. “Corona of course had a lot to do with how we’ve come to sell so much fried chicken,” Cook said. “We kind of crossed our fingers and decided to, in true Edmund’s Oast fashion, make an insane deal package and hope it takes off. We’re extremely grateful

that it did and that Charleston received it so well and still supported it like crazy.” Since rolling out the fried chicken this spring, Cook has expanded the offering. “If we’re going to be a comfort food place for a while, may as well be a cool one. We’ve added four new flavors: spicy, New Orleans barbecue, Korean and most recently garlic crab. I still can’t pick a favorite.”

S  ’mores Chocolate M   ousse The Darling Oyster Bar (513 King St.)

The Darling Oyster Bar is likely on the hit list for most tourists visiting Charleston, but we doubt people are stopping in for the restaurant’s take on chocolate mousse, a treat that rarely finds its way onto the menus at local establishments. The Darling’s s’mores spin has texture and elegance while bringing you back to your childhood with a bruléed marshmallow fluff-topped mousse with graham cracker crumble.

L  amb Rogan Josh Nirlep Indian Restaurant (908 Savannah Hwy.)

Samosas, korma and tandoori roti are all delicious options at this casual West Ashley eatery, but the lamb rogan josh is an offthe-beaten-path dish that won’t disappoint. Reminiscent of the sauce you’d expect in a classic butter chicken, all this rich ginger and garlic-infused curry needs is a piece of naan for dipping.


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479 KING ST • CHARLESTON • 843-789-4299 • THEMACINTOSHCHARLESTON.COM

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 13

“I love creating a space where people can connect over food. Disarming people at the door and allowing them to enjoy food and fellowship is what it’s all about” John-Carter “J-C” Ayanna, Executive Chef


Charleston chefs and restaurateurs on the pandemic’s impact and long-term ramifications

T

his year has brought immense change to the Charleston restaurant industry. Everyone has felt the burn — food and beverage employees were left without work while establishments looked to pick up the pieces. Managers and owners found themselves back in the kitchen, plating dishes inside takeout boxes. And those are the ones that made it. Temporary COVID-19 closures led to the permanent loss of local institutions like Nana’s Seafood & Soul downtown, McCrady’s, Jestine’s Kitchen, Minero downtown, Martha Lou's Kitchen and others. We write about it everyday, but it’s impossible to fully understand the struggle of the folks out there working in restaurants everyday to keep their businesses afloat unless you’re in it. We checked in with a few of those chefs and restaurant owners to see what they’ve learned so far, where they see the Charleston restaurant industry in 2021 and what it will take for them to keep their doors open.

What have you learned since the pandemic started? Sean Mendes Owner of Gillie’s Seafood, James Island

“It made me become a smarter businessman and gave me an added awareness to be more frugal and prudent when it comes to where the money’s going. Our menu is fairly large. You start to look at ways that you can cut the fat.”

Tres Jackson Owner of Sorghum & Salt, Downtown

“Running at limited staff or half capacity forces you to look at things and reduce or eliminate things to preserve cash flow. We have been incredibly blessed by support from people in the community who have been helpful on all levels. I would say that social media (from Ashley Sanders) and support from things online that our in-house staff has done is very helpful and has been a learning experience for us all, myself included.” 14 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

Ty Raju Co-owner of Savi Cucina + Wine Bar, Mount Pleasant

Spanglish's Tomas and Lynda Prado

“The biggest thing we learned, or at least reinforced, was the need for flexibility. Everything we’ve done, I think we would have done anyway. We had all the tools in place to continued on page 16

File photo by Ruta Smith


"One of the Best Seafood Spots in South Carolina" - Southern Living Magazine

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 15

Foullso!w


Power from page 14

launch takeout, delivery and curbside, and giving people access to our whole menu online was something that we instituted really quickly.”

What has been the hardest part of the last six months? Tina Schuttenberg Co-owner of Kwei Fei and Micho, James Island

“We went from mid-March until June without a day off. It was brutal, but it makes you dig deep. It was frustrating to feel like the government wasn’t going to make decisions that would help support or guide us. I was in fashion before food. Maybe as far from a scientist as possible, but I’m having to create protocols? Luckily the restaurant industry is built with safety in mind. We kept reading and talking to people in the community to come up with a situation where everyone is safe and comfortable.”

Orlando Pagan

Tina Schuttenberg Ruta Smith

know what the future holds, so I’m just trying to cook good food.”

Dianne Crowley

Executive chef of Wild Common, Downtown

“It’s definitely been difficult for everyone. For me, the hardest part is not having my team. Right now, it’s just me, my chef de cuisine and my sous chef. A lot of people think ‘It’s fine dining, it’s expensive, they make a lot of money.’ We’re lucky that we have an events side, so we will cross-utilize ingredients, especially vegetables. We don’t

Co-owner of Tavern & Table, Mount Pleasant

“Our hardest challenge is keeping people away from each other. Our customers know each other, so that is the challenge. Our customers have been loyal to us from the very beginning. For the most part, people have been extremely nice and thankful that we are willing to put ourselves on the line.”

Mickey Bakst Former general manager of Charleston Grill, Downtown

16 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

“For me, restaurants are about community. Unfortunately, over the last six months that community has been broken up because of social distancing, which changes how everything feels. Restaurants are about the experience, the sights and the sounds of people and those have been radically curtailed.”

What will it take for your restaurant to survive 2020? Tina Schuttenberg

Orlando Pagan

“Kwei Fei was in an usually lucky position to survive this situation. Our food is unique to this market, travels well and sits at a price Provided

continued on page 18


tarting out as a weekly Taco Tuesday for local food and beverage favorite hangout “The Brick”, Tacos, Tequila and Cold Beer were a passion for Charleston cook (Lewis Kesaris) and bartender (Paul Nettles). April 1, 2013 at 213 East Bay Street, a blazing fire resulted in the closure of the Brick and its Taco Tuesday. Displaced throughout the city, working serval restaurant jobs to fill the void, Paul and Lewis regrouped taking tacos to the next level with the support of The Brick’s owner Matt Quillen opening Rebel Taqueria, hosting taco tequila inspired events and pop ups, running a food truck and landing a permanent location at “Workshop”.

1809 Reynolds Ave, North Charleston • 843-619-0104 • RebelTaqueria.com

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 17

After over four years of hustling, Covid hit the restaurant industry in a way that no one could have ever expected. Matt, Paul, and Lewis regrouped once again deciding to push forward, taking advantage of an opportunity to open their own brick and mortar location in an up and coming location on Reynolds Avenue. Committed to their motto “Tacos, Tequila and Cold Beer”... Rebel Taqueria plans to open its doors in Fall of 2020.


Power from page 16

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point that makes it an affordable indulgence. To make things stronger for the future, we’re going to diversify a bit by adding kits and private label sauces. Micho is going to be a hustle for a long time. Honestly it might take a small reinvestment, but we’re confident it only gets better from here.”

Tres Jackson

“I guess survival for us is more about staying healthy and trying to stay the course while running tightly on expenses. I would also say that this has been and is going to continue to be a marathon and not a sprint, and I have real concerns for anyone both physically and mentally who is in this industry. While the physical has been taxing on many of us operating with limited staffs and capacity, the mental grind has been many times more challenging.”

Tomas Prado

Vivian Howard

Co-owner of Spanglish, West Ashley

“For us to survive, we need Charleston to continue to support us as we evolve in these changing times. It’s been tough for restaurants as well as guests to try and get back to a normal routine. We are slowly progressing towards that and hope that we can build a sustainable business model moving forward.”

When the pandemic is behind us, what will be different about Charleston’s restaurant industry? Vivian Howard Owner of Handy and Hot, Downtown

“I don’t think the meal kits or familystyle takeout is going to go away. As a res-

Stacey Van Berkel

taurateur, I don’t want them to go away. I think that dining out will become something that we really appreciate, particularly at high end restaurants. We now know it’s a luxury and perhaps we should have been thinking of it as such pre-pandemic.”

Mickey Bakst

“I think there’s going to be a lingering effect. I think there will be a long term repercussion in the way people do things. People are going to have to look really closely at profitability because nobody is going to be making a lot. Restaurants are going to have to be very tight on their staffs and control costs radically.”

Sean Mendes

“I would probably say the number one change will be the sanitation and cleanliness of restaurants across the board. There will also be more attention paid to how we set up these dining rooms and how we interact with customers. This will also help operators manage the margins better. We run on pretty tight margins, and when this thing hit, there weren’t a lot of restaurants that had a surplus of money in the bank.”

18 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

Tomas Prado

“I think restaurant culture will change post-pandemic. I think restaurants will look at takeout, delivery and outdoor dining as a larger part of their business model. I also think restaurants will start looking into options to better compensate staff and offer a better live-work balance to its employees.”

Ty Raju

250 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. • 843.884.6000 MountPleasantlyIndigo.com

Mickey Bakst Ruta Smith file photo

“I think a lot of guests and patrons are going to start to look a lot more for an experience rather than just a place that makes really good food. The hospitality, ambiance and how the whole menu works together.”


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Ruta Smith

20 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

Black Sesame Crusted Halibut at FĂŠlix Cocktails et Cuisine


Our top restaurants in Charleston for Winter 2020,

As of publication, we've noted any temporary hours or dine-in changes. Please see restaurants for daily updates.

167 Raw SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 193 King St. (843) 579-4997 167raw.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Babas on Cannon EUROPEAN

Moderate Downtown. 11 Cannon St. (843) 284-6260 babasoncannon.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Babas on Cannon is one of those places

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Moderate Mount Pleasant. 976 Houston Northcutt Blvd. (843) 884-6969 baccocharleston.com Serving Lunch (Tues.-Fri.), Dinner (Tues.–Sat.)

For more than a dozen years, Mount Pleasant’s Bacco has successfully pulled off the idea of that fabled “neighborhood Italian place” you hear about in other cities: small, friendly service with straightforward Southern Italian food that creates regulars continued on page 22

BRUNCH SAT & SUN 9AM-3PM MON 11AM-3PM

Large Dog Friendly Porch & Deck 202 Coleman Blvd, Mt. Pleasant (just off Shem Creek) (843) 388-3625 | TheShelterKitchenAndBar.com

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 21

Surrounded by high-end boutiques, swanky inns, antique stores and art galleries, 167 Raw’s new King Street home sits along a quiet stretch of storefronts. But fear not, they’re still boasting the same lineup of New England bivalves and lobstah rolls that were much-lauded at their original (teeny) East Bay spot. The first floor of the ever-so-charming 19th century building is long and narrow, with original brick walls and a new walnut bar. Bar vet Teddy Nixon is behind the long bar, shaking up the good stuff, while owners Jesse Sandole and Harrison-Panes, donning matching aqua hues, greet regulars at the door. Even with four times (at least) as much seating as their original space, 167 Raw gets packed. Arrive early to tuck into your 10-hour carnita taco and bay scallops in stud butter. —Mary Scott Hardaway

that truly does everything well, even more impressive when you glance at its expansive daily menu. There’s strong espresso, baked goods, avocado toast, salads and sandwiches during the day followed by small bites and aperitifs later at night. Nearly everything is house-made — from peanut milk to banana bread topped with flaky sea salt — and the ingredients are always local. Want to get in and out quickly? Babas has its own app for easy online ordering. If you’re staying awhile, you’ll find it to be the type of place where the employees want to know your name and remember your order. Babas’ ability to maintain that comfortable neighborhood vibe while keeping customers’ safety front of mind is truly a work of art. With a welcoming space and the food to match, Babas on Cannon delivers on its promise to mimic an old world European cafe. —Parker Milner

IT PAYS TO EAT

NEW

City Paper contributor Robert Moss wrote, “2020 is a very good time to be eating in the Holy City” in the winter edition of Dish. Moss, like the rest of us, could not have fathomed the hardships Charleston’s food and beverage industry was about to endure when he wrote those words nine months ago. We selected each of those 50 restaurants in January for a reason, and the ones that have stuck around on this edition’s list are proving just how nimble, determined and crafty they are. Did you ever think you’d see the day when FIG and The Ordinary would serve lunch? Could you have pictured Edmund’s Oast revamping with a delicious, takeout-friendly menu? Or Xiao Bao Biscuit selling frozen okonomiyaki? The days of crowding inside intimate dining rooms are on pause, so places got creative with outdoor seating. Malagon transformed an alley, Felix used a sidewalk and Jackrabbit Filly converted its parking lot. Is it the same? Of course not, but it’s more than we could ever ask for in the midst of a pandemic. Remembering the places we lost from last winter’s Top 50 should give us a heightened appreciation for the ones that still stand tall. Nana’s Seafood & Soul closed after 19 years on Line Street. McCrady’s shut the revered space where Sean Brock made a name for himself. Minero will no longer serve cheese-covered burritos and Valentina-doused wings upstairs at 153 East Bay St. The five newcomers to this edition have quickly gained footing in Charleston since opening. Babas on Cannon serves all day, putting its own spin on each service. Felix offers its take on French classics, as does NICO, where you’ll find raw bar platters and woodfired specials. Royal Tern brought a refined seafood-forward concept to Johns Island. And last but not least, there's Hannibal's Kitchen, an Eastside soul food spot that's been churning out crab rice, turkey wings and collards for decades. This might not be the year of dining we thought it would be, but Moss was right — 2020 is a great time to be enjoying food from local restaurants in Charleston.


Top 50 Top 50 from page 21

out of customers. Start your meal with the fire-roasted olives, warm multi-varietal and multi-textured olives straight out of the wood burning oven. The insalata di polpo, tender braised and grilled octopus, is a highlight of the antipasti. The Italian focused cocktail menu is no slouch with a barrel-aged negroni and the Ficcho Bello, a fizzy drink with fig infused vodka with rosemary and cherry bitters. The primi course is where chef Michael Scognamiglio shines. The gnocchi bolognese are little airy pillows tossed in meaty bolognese and the Risi e Bisi is a buttery parmesan packed risotto with peas and pancetta. If you’ve made it this far the secondi course serves up dishes like beefy tomato and red wine braised meatballs with polenta, an Italian take on chicken cordon bleu and sausage and peppers that would make your Nona proud. —Robert Donovan

Basic Kitchen CAFE

Moderate Downtown. 82 Wentworth St. (843) 789-4568 basickitchen.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Weekend Brunch

22 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

In a city filled with hearty Southern cuisine,

sometimes it’s tricky to find a flavorful, light meal. Not so at Basic Kitchen — according to co-owner Ben Towill that has been exactly the goal since opening the restaurant with his wife Kate in 2017. “We want to provide massive flavor and a meal that’s hearty but still feels light.” Since taking over as Basic Kitchen executive chef in July 2019, Robin Hollis has homed in on this mission by creating more wholesome dishes that highlight vegetables from local purveyors. BK’s lunch menu is divided into small plates, bowls, salads, sandwiches and sweets. As for dinner selections, Towill said, “We wanted to narrow our focus by adding more classical entrees, and Nathan Wentworth has enhanced our wine program by making it all natural, biodynamic wines.” —Parker Milner

Bertha’s Kitchen SOUL FOOD

Inexpensive Downtown. 2332 Meeting Street Road. (843) 554-6519 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Fri.)

Head up Meeting Street until you see a twostory robin’s egg blue building with purple trim and a line stretching out the door. The Southern soul food platters here are so tasty, generous and inexpensive, that the line starts forming well before they open for

lunch. Businessmen, laborers and far-flung tourists alike shuffle through the quick cafeteria-style service counter loaded with a smorgasbord of meat and threes, such as fried pork chops, fish specials, yams, stewed greens, home-style mac-and-cheese, limas nestled with smoked turkey necks, dark roux okra soup, moist cornbread and fried chicken better than anyone’s Grandma ever made. —Allston McCrady

Bowens Island Restaurant SEAFOOD

Moderate James Island. 1870 Bowens Island Road. (843) 795-2757 bowensisland.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Don’t expect white tablecloth and maitre’d service at Bowens Island. It’s famously no frills, but it’s worth it. The nightly crowds are a testament to the family fish camp. Since its founding in 1946 it’s grown from a grimy, albeit quaint, cinderblock outpost to a pluff-mud pantheon that offers up damn good fried seafood, hushpuppies and cold local beer in its upstairs dining room. Follow your nose downstairs and elbow-out yourself a space at the all-you-can-eat oyster tables and slurp down tasty local oysters by the shovelful that were likely pulled off the

marsh that day. Oyster season or not, we have a hard time passing up the Frogmore stew, a pot full of potatoes, sausage, corn on the cob and shrimp steamed together as God intended it. —Sam Spence

Butcher & Bee MEDITERRANEAN

Moderate Downtown. 1085 Morrison Drive. (843) 619-0202 butcherandbee.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Wed.-Mon.), Weekend Brunch

Since it moved to a bright, sunny building on Morrison Drive, Butcher & Bee has become an elevated restaurant that belies its hipster hangout roots in its old dark, tiny space on Upper King Street. B&B’s menu features a large range of dishes with everything from falafel to decadent burgers to carefully crafted fresh seafood and veggie-forward dishes. An excellent feature present on the menu for brunch, lunch and dinner is B&B’s mezze selection, a collection of small plates with a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean inf luence. It’s safe to say that pretty much anything you order from here will be incredibly creative. —Suzanne Cohen continued on page 24


Full Service Bar | Menu featuring Irish favorites and Southern classics Large Covered Outdoor Patio | 29 Beers On Tap with Many Local Options

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charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 23

The Abbey


Top 50 Top 50 from page 22

Charleston Grill MODERN AMERICAN

Very Expensive Downtown. 224 King St. (843) 577-4522 charlestongrill.com Serving Dinner (daily)

24 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

Amid ever-shifting culinary fashions, Charleston Grill has remained one of the city’s crown jewels by delivering a consistently flawless dining experience. Executive chef Michelle Weaver’s dishes can be decadently lush, like her beef tenderloin with bourguignon sauce or seared foie gras with an apple hand pie topped with whipped mascarpone crème fraîche. The dishes are balanced, ingredient-centric creations, like a delicate charred octopus tossed with chorizo croquettes, served with smooth adobo aioli, while contemporary spins on Southern cuisine are bold and satisfying. The best way to experience the full sweep of the cuisine is with Weaver’s four-to-eight course tasting menu, which may well be the most impressive in town. —Robert F. Moss

Chez Nous FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 6 Payne Court. (843) 579-3060 cheznouschs.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sun.), Sun. Brunch

Most mornings before lunch, the Chez Nous Instagram feed (@cheznouscharleston) features a picture of the day’s menu, handwritten in black ink on a small white card in executive chef Jill Mathias’ eccentric and highly stylized script. Next comes a separate picture of each and every dish being served that day, taken from above in f lawless light. Admittedly, it’s only seven pictures total, since Chez Nous serves just two starters, two entrees and two desserts, and the selection changes daily. The setting is charmingly old and the cuisine European-inspired, but it’s hardly a throwback to an older mode of dining. Chez Nous stands alone just as it is, an eccentric outlier. With such a dynamic menu, any review of Chez Nous is by necessity a f leeting snapshot. On my last visit each of the courses balanced a dark, heavier dish with a brighter fish-based option, and each was splendid, though in very different ways. —Robert F. Moss

463 King St • 843.737.0112 O-KUSUSHI.com

Coda del Pesce ITALIAN/SEAFOOD

Expensive Isle of Palms. 1130 Ocean Blvd. (843) 242-8570 codadelpesce.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

With Coda del Pesce, chef/owner Ken Vedrinski of longtime downtown mainstay Trattoria Lucca headed out to Isle of Palms to create a beachside Italian seafood restaurant. The beautiful second-story dining room has brick walls, reclaimed wood floors and, in a rarity for the Lowcountry, floor-to-ceiling windows offering a lovely view of the Atlantic. It’s an ideal setting for Vedrinski’s signature high-end Italian fare, which offers plenty of bright flavors and unexpected twists. Masterful pasta anchors the primi selection, which includes tagliatelle tossed with blue crab, Colatura di Alici, lemon and basil. The secondi highlight fresh fish like black bass and there’s a little heavier fare, too, like naturally raised veal “marsala.” Pair any of these with an Italian wine from the impressive list and you’ll have one splendid fish tale to share with friends. —Robert F. Moss

Dave’s Carry-Out SOUL FOOD/SEAFOOD

Inexpensive Downtown. 42-C Morris St. (843) 577-7943 Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

This soul food joint offers a true taste of Charleston. For under $10 you can get a takeout box filled to the brim with the best of Lowcountry cooking like pork chops, crispy chicken wings and finger-lickin’ ribs. The selection of sides is small but tasty — try the lima beans, thick steak fries, or red beans and rice. The lunch specials change daily, but your best bet is to go with a seafood platter — they range from $8 for a generous portion of shrimp to $14 for shrimp, fish, scallops and deviled crab. If you want a true local experience, opt for the lima beans and rice. It’s meaty and filling. A few tables allow customers to dine in, but most folks get their Dave’s to-go, whether for lunch or a greasy late-night snack. —Melissa Tunstall

Delaney Oyster House SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 115 Calhoun St. (843) 594-0099. delaneyoysterhouse.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

The Neighborhood Dining Group — owners of Husk and Minero — have converted

“We all come from different places and cultures, but that doesn’t mean we can’t connect. I use my passion for cooking and hospitality as a way to express myself through my culture, to connect with guests. Ultimately this connection has made me better at what I love to do, cooking and providing a great experience for our guests.” Dung “Junior” Vo, Executive Chef


Our go-to restaurant list

an old single house on Calhoun Street into a stunner of a seafood restaurant. The raw bar offerings range from local oysters and clams to Kaluga caviar, and executive chef Shamil Velazquez’s inventive small plates are stylish and intensely flavored. Menus have featured rich kombu-poached lobster is tossed with orbs of tangy Asian pear, ground peanuts, and green Thai basil leaves, while a deconstructed chowder delivers tender clams, mussels, shrimp, and a flawless peach-hued scallop within a pool of creamy, savory broth. Each dish is finished with precise visual style that befits the picture-perfect setting. Grab a seat out on the second floor piazza, order a glass of chilled red wine, and dive in. —Robert F. Moss

Edmund’s Oast MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 1081 Morrison Drive. (843) 727-1145 edmundsoast.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

This hip gastropub has a laid-back vibe. There are communal tables, as well as a chef’s counter and an expansive outdoor patio. Chef Bob Cook’s menu highlights include the housemade charcuterie and cheese plates, plus upscale bar food like fried tripe, hanger steak, or crispy chicken with green curry sauce. The drink

menu is every bit as compelling, rife with small batch cocktails, meads and a host of inventive beers brewed on-site. And $5 happy hour in The Bower when the weather’s nice, well, the price and vibes cannot be beat. —Vanessa Wolf

The Establishment MODERN AMERICAN TEMP CLOSED

Very Expensive Downtown. 28 Broad St. (843) 789-4028 establishmentchs.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

With something of a Midas touch, everything about The Establishment works: Buzzy, popular and teeming with energy around the bar, service remains personal and intimate. The space itself feels historic, with high ceilings and portions of artfully exposed brick, yet the large, digital aquarium and chef ’s table dining area are fresh and contemporary. Fun meets foundation: There’s undeniable chemistry from the start. The ‘Taste’ portion of the menu features chilled local shrimp, crispy duck confit and chilled deckle. The entree selection, ‘Savor,’ veers seafood heavy — dive in with the swordfish, served with fresh-shelled beans, salsa verde and brown butter. —Vanessa Wolf

SENIC SURROUNDINGS

Ruta Smith file photo

Kwei Fei's spicy, flavor-packed bites are worth the drive to James Island

LUNCH & DINNER EVERY DAY Dine on our wide-open patio or enjoy happy hour and live music dockside at our outdoor bar Muddy’s.

THE PERFECT PLACE Bring your out of town guests to revel in the best of what the Lowcountry has to offer.

SEE YOU ON THE CREEK Open every day at 11 am Happy Hour Monday-Friday 4-7 pm

MT. P. – SHEM CREEK – 1313 SHRIMP BOAT LANE – (843) 844-4440 – VICKERYSMTP.COM

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 25

Vickery’s boasts the BEST in waterfront dining and drinking on Shem Creek.

continued on page 26


Top 50 Top 50 from page 25

Estadio TAPAS TEMP CLOSED

Moderate Downtown. 122 Spring St estadio-chs.com Serving Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

BACCO ITALIAN RESTAURANT

[ featuring ] true, regional Italian dishes, including panuozzi, pizza baked in our wood burning oven, roasted meats and seafood. Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm | Dinner Tue-Thu 5:30-9pm | Fri-Sat 5:30 - 10pm 976 Houston Northcutt Blvd. Suite O | Mt. Pleasant | 884-6969 | baccocharleston.com

Estadio, which opened on Spring Street in October 2019, is technically the second outpost of a successful Washington, D.C., Spanish-style bar and tapas restaurant. The decor and the deep sherry and gin selection echo the D.C. original, but executive chef Alex Lira’s impressive menu is unique to Charleston. The pintxos and tapas — grilled shrimp on skewers, crisp patatas bravas, tuna-topped “seven minute” eggs — offer beguiling little bites. In normal times, fresh local shellfish and savory sofrito- and saffron-laced rice — especially the crispy bits charred to the edges of the flat metal cooking pan — transform the seafood paella into an unforgettable treat. With a slate of sherry cocktails, “gin tonics” made with rare Spanish brands and porróns of wine, Estadio brings a brilliant taste of Spain to the heart of downtown Charleston. —Robert F. Moss

EVO PIZZA

Inexpensive North Charleston. 1075 E. Montague Ave. (843) 225-1796 evopizza.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

At EVO, the use of fresh, local ingredients is key, and they’ve been keeping it local from the very beginning, back when they were a mobile wood-fired oven serving pizza at the farmers market in Marion Square. Large chalkboards decorate the walls, listing local ingredients from various farms, along with daily specials, ranging from housemade sausages to duck crostini. But we’re partial to the pizza. The crust is thin and slightly charred and the mozzarella is made fresh and pulled in-house twice a day. The pistachio pesto pie was named one of the best pizzas in the country by Food Network Magazine, and the sinful Pork Trifecta keeps customers coming back. Check out the beer list for what’s on tap, and you’ll find plenty of local brews to keep your inner beer snob happy. —Kinsey Gidick

26 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

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Our go-to restaurant list

Fat Hen FRENCH

Moderate Johns Island. 3140 Maybank Hwy. (843) 559-9090 thefathen.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Folks in the know, especially those from Kiawah, head for this adorable cottage on Johns Island nightly for sumptuous dinners. The hyper-local menu includes favorites like fried green tomatoes with pimento goat cheese; the shrimp and crab with spicy hoppin’ John; coq au vin half-chicken; and the braised short rib with veal broth, red wine, mashed potatoes and spinach. End with a pluff mud pie, passion fruit creme brulee, or local seasonal ice cream, then treat your food coma to a peaceful moment beneath the nearby ancient Angel Oak, said to be the oldest living tree east of the Mississippi. —Allston McCrady

Félix Cocktails et Cuisine FRENCH

Moderate Downtown. 550 King St. (843) 203-6297 felixchs.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Front and center on its swanky website

— well, right below the martini-quaffing frog GIF — Félix Cocktails et Cuisine declares its intent to serve “creative cocktails and small plates, all with the f lare of today’s Paris.” Félix has nailed its stylish intent with respect to a hip, European vibe. The food is polished. The decor is suitably chill, while effortlessly chic, and accompanied by jazzy music playing softly overhead. Félix’s food is predominantly small portions with an emphasis on familiar French classics like croque monsieur and steak frites. Executive chef Andrew Miller added a seasonal approach after taking over in June, giving the restaurant more substantial mains to pair with popular small plates like crab croquettes and chicken liver mousse. Overall, Félix itself is resolutely thoughtful and perfectly executed. Whether you’re looking to sample the broad array of custom cocktails, share some small plates or simply enjoy a conversation in an environment in which you can actually hear yourself talk, it’s a welcome addition to the Upper King scene. —Vanessa Wolf

continued on page 28

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 27


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Ruta Smith file photo

Jackrabbit Filly has become a Park Circle destination since opening last year Top 50 from page 27

COME TRY OUR

SQUAWKING GOAT BISCUIT 28 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

AS FEATURED ON THE FOOD NETWORK!

Flaky biscuit, all natural fried chicken breast, fried goat cheese medallion and house-made pepper jelly 1739 Maybank Hwy • James Island Opening Oct 2020 996 Johnnie Dodds Boulevard • Mount Pleasant Dine inside or outside on our patio. Order takeout @ MapleStreetBiscuits.com/James-Island

Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ BARBECUE

Inexpensive West Ashley. 1205 Ashley River Road (843) 225-7427 Downtown. 126 Williman St. (843) 225-7427 Sullivan’s Island. 2209 Middle St. (843) 225-7427 hometeambbq.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

With three Charleston locations plus one up in Columbia and another way out in Aspen, Colorado, pitmaster/chefs Aaron Siegel and Taylor Garrigan have built an acclaimed barbecue empire. Whether you’re at the West Ashley original or at the newer outposts on Sullivan’s Island or downtown, the barbecue offering is anchored by pulled pork, smoked chicken, ribs and a superb salt-and-pepper brisket, all cooked over wood on offset metal pits. Siegel’s and Garrigan’s fine-dining roots show in an array of creative snacks and tacos, like chopped brisket sliders on brioche buns and

smoked shrimp tacos with white bean puree. There’s always a cheffy special or two, like pulled pork empanadas or a pit-smoked pork chop with purple cabbage and apple and don’t miss out on Home Team’s smoked chicken wings with tangy white Alabamastyle sauce. —Robert F. Moss

FIG MODERN AMERICAN

Very Expensive Downtown. 232 Meeting St. (843) 805-5900 eatatfig.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

In 2003, chef Mike Lata set out to prove that ‘food is good.’ After blazing a trail for the robust local farm-to-table restaurant scene, FIG still stands out, winning awards and creating devotees year after year. Although snagging a reservation can be a challenge, the seasonally inspired cuisine and impeccable service are worth the effort. Change is a constant, but stalwart menu continued on page 30


Excellent beer selection and terrific service in a laid back atmosphere. My favorite place to go! – NICK C.

West Ashley Bar Bottled Beer Selection West Ashley Happy Hour Coldest Beer in Charleston

West Ashley 817 Savannah Hwy. 843-225-GENE Genes.Beer

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charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 29

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Top 50 Top 50 from page 28

standbys like the fish stew provencal and pillowy ricotta gnocchi alla Bolognese never fail to satisfy. Be sure to check out the wine offerings, as — along with two nods for Best Chef Southeast — FIG is also a national James Beard award-winner for Outstanding Wine Program. —Vanessa Wolf

The Glass Onion

flounder served over tender braised beans and thick mashed potatoes. A few more adventurous entrees, like a beguilingly dark rabbit ragout with ricotta gnocchi, pop up with regularity alongside hearty Southern classics like shrimp and grits and fried catfish with red rice. It’s a surefire formula for a satisfying meal. —Robert F. Moss

goat.sheep.cow.north CAFE

NEW SOUTHERN

TEMP CLOSED

Moderate West Ashley. 1219 Savannah Hwy. (843) 225-1717 ilovetheglassonion.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Sat. Brunch

VOTED CHARLESTON’S BEST BURGER 6 TIMES 2210 MIDDLE ST • SULLIVAN’S ISLAND OPEN DAILY 11AM - 10PM • 843.883.0083 • POESTAVERN.COM

Since 2008, the Glass Onion has exemplified the “neighborhood favorite” category — a restaurant less formal and ambitious than a fine dining spot but still delivering seriously delicious meals. The offering blends the home cooking of chef/owner Chris Stewart’s native Alabama with dishes and styles he absorbed while working in fine dining kitchens first in New Orleans and then in Charleston. That means hearty, savory gumbo brimming with okra and sausage, Cajun boudin balls with Creole mustard and crisp okra beignets served with spicy red remoulade. Pristine local seafood makes for fresh, satisfying plates, like pan-roasted

Moderate Downtown. 804 Meeting St. (843) 203-3118 goatsheepcow.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Although arguably goat.sheep.cow.north’s menu is more about curating than cooking, the varied cheese, charcuterie and combo boards showcase those impressive skills well. Each board represents products from each of the animals and provides a thorough smattering of textures — expect a solid bang for your cheese-loving buck. Those looking for something more substantial might appreciate the signature grilled cheese, muffuletta, or any one of the special daily sandwiches. The welcoming, refined space features an extensive wine list, with dozens of by-theglass and whole bottle options, as well as a beer and cider selection. —Vanessa Wolf

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Our go-to restaurant list

The Grocery MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 4 Cannon St. (843) 302-8825 thegrocerycharleston.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.), Sun. Brunch

Occupying a space that is at once industrial and inviting, chef/owner Kevin Johnson’s menus are seasonally inspired and passionately local. Utilizing a mix of fresh farmed, fished and foraged ingredients, The Grocery exemplifies farm-to-table dining. The Southern/Mediterranean offerings have included such highlights as fried oysters with deviled egg sauce and bread and butter pickles. Year-round standbys include the generous portions of Lowcountry seafood pilau and the changing varieties of roasted whole fish, cooked in the restaurant’s massive wood-burning oven. Along with a celebrated Sunday brunch, The Grocery’s innovative cocktail program features standouts like the dirty green tomato, a martini made with pickled green tomato juice. —Vanessa Wolf

Hannibal's Kitchen SOUL FOOD

Inexpensive Downtown. 16 Blake St. (843) 722-2256 hannibalkitchen.com Serving Lunch and Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

This family-owned and operated soul food kitchen has “been feeding the soul of the city” since opening on the Eastside in 1985. When founder Ronald “Hannibal” Huger died in 2005, his son L.J. took over the restaurant located at Blake and Drake streets, passing it on to his daughters Sani and Felicity. They continue to serve a lunch and dinner crowd affordable Southern staples with an emphasis on seafood. Try shark steak or the famous crab rice — both are less than $9 — with a side of collards or okra soup. There’s also fried chicken, barbecue ribs and oxtail with rice. Hannibal’s is a must for those searching for a taste of the Lowcountry. —Parker Milner

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Husk Restaurant

TOURS & TASTINGS

NEW SOUTHERN

Expensive Downtown. 76 Queen St. (843) 577-2500 huskrestaurant.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Sat.), Dinner (daily), Sun. Brunch

Husk has outposts in Nashville, Greenville, and Savannah, but this location — housed in a white mansion on Queen Street — is the original. Here, executive chef Travis Grimes carries out the vision of innova continued on page 32

ORDER FOR PICK UP: SHOP.PALMETTOBREWERY.COM

843.937.0903 289 HUGER ST. PALMETTOBREWERY.COM

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 31

CALL OR ORDER ONLINE FOR PICK-UP • INDOOR & OUTSIDE SEATING AVAILABLE


Top 50 Top 50 from page 31

tive, modern farm-to-table perfection. The kitchen creates such must-try marvels like Southern fried chicken skins, “Kentuckyaki” pigs ear lettuce wraps, or the hulking Carolina heritage pork chop, while dessert offerings include such innovations as the savory-sweet cornbread pudding. There’s a welcoming, rustic atmosphere indoors, but if weather permits, sit out on the upstairs porch and enjoy what is, without hesitation, Southern food at its best. —Vanessa Wolf

Jackrabbit Filly CHINESE

Moderate North Charleston. 4628 Spruill Ave. (843) 460-0037 jackrabbitfilly.com Serving Lunch (Wed.-Sat.), Dinner (Wed.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

32 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

The menu at Jackrabbit Filly — Shuai and Corrie Wang’s brick-and-mortar jump from their popular Short Grain food truck — takes quintessential Asian fare, and adds some vamp. The pork and cabbage dumplings are where Yangtze meets Ganges, with a rich mix of pork, cabbage, ginger and coriander encased inside the perfectly cooked pasta wrapper. Topped with a pungent

chinkiang vinegar and Lao Gan Ma chili crisp sauce, the first bite is like suddenly finding something you hadn’t even realized was missing. Short Grain’s beloved karaage endures — the meat is juicy, the coating crunchy and the drizzle of lemon mayo and ponzu, along with some togarashi-induced heat, should be presented with the following disclaimer: “The karaage is a small structure made of chicken. It is delicious, and you are not ready for it.” While no World Famous Jackrabbit Filly twist contest exists (yet), a similar, multi-tiered, two-foot tall trophy sounds about right. Grab some friends, share the love and share it hard. —Vanessa Wolf

Kwei Fei CHINESE

Moderate James Island. 1977 Maybank Hwy. kweifei.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Set next door to Charleston Pour House in the space previously occupied by The Lot, Kwei Fei’s interior looks the same-ish, except now the chairs are yellow and you’ll find some Asian knick knacks scattered about. But the updates are the only understated thing about Kwei Fei. Pretty much nothing else — from the food to the music

to the chef himself — can be described as subtle. Kwei Fei’s menu is an equally wild ride, offering an array of appetizers, entrees and veggie-based sides sorted into blocks labeled “Loud,” “Hot,” and “Vibes.” The crescent dumplings are an outstanding way to give your tastebuds a crash course in the events to come. Made with ground pork and redolent Sichuan pepper, the five plump dumplings are served in a soy-based, vinegary sauce and topped with fresh cilantro and chives. Hot, sour, salty, sweet: everyone’s here. On the “vibes” side of things, vegetarians are well-taken care of with the dry-fried green beans. Here, some rice makes sense and adds bulk to the delicate haricots verts, which are coated with an intense, chunky garlic and ginger combo with a little spicy kick. —Vanessa Wolf

conversation over craft cocktails. Dinner service starts with a slice from the restaurant’s ginormous wedge of ParmigianoReggiano cheese, but matters are then in your own hands. Seasonal appetizer stand outs have included a veal tartare toast served with shoestring fries, and a sublime octopus carpaccio. You can’t go wrong with the housemade pastas, and other memorable dinner selections have included a vibrant whole branzino with pine nuts and a tender fried chicken picatta. —Vanessa Wolf

Le Farfalle

The chargrilled oysters at Leon’s embody the restaurant’s approach to food: unfussy and delicious. The fish fry platter is a jumble of oysters, shrimp and fish battered and delicately fried and served with a tartar sauce so good we sometimes just dip a fork in it in between bites. If we know anything about restaurateurs Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink, it’s that they know how to design a restau

ITALIAN

Expensive Downtown. 15 Beaufain St. (843) 212-0920 lefarfallecharleston.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Led by celebrated chef Michael Toscano, Le Farfalle is certain to delight. The bright, upscale space is generously laid out with an elegant bar suitable for a quick lunch of agnolotti pasta or a relaxed after-dinner

Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 698 King St. (843) 531-6500 leonsoystershop.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

continued on page 34


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charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 33

RIVERLAND MARKET 1405 FOLLY ROAD, CHARLESTON, SC 29412


Top 50 The Macintosh

Top 50 from page 32

MODERN AMERICAN

rant that both looks and feels good. This is the kind of place that gets in your regular rotation because it’s comfortable, delicious and reliable. —Stephanie Barna

Lewis Barbecue BARBECUE

Moderate Downtown. 464 N. Nassau St. (843) 805-9500 lewisbarbecue.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

34 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

Lewis’ building houses four custom built smokers and a sausage smoker that can cook 1,600 links at a time, all hand-built by Lewis and his father. Once inside you’ll queue up to have meat hand-sliced by one of two meat-cutters stationed behind a long counter directing you to opposite ends. Lewis’ “life changing” beef brisket is definitely the star. The infinitely tender meat has a salty, peppery crust and shines with melted fat. But there’s also juicy smoked turkey, pulled pork, pork ribs and Texas sausage called “hot guts” available and priced by the pound (or hot guts by the link). After your tray is filled with your order of meats, choose your sides from mustardy potato salad, lemon slaw, cowboy beans and rich green chile corn pudding. —Robert Donovan

Expensive Downtown. 479B King St. (843) 789-4299 themacintoshcharleston.com Serving Dinner (daily), Sun. Brunch

Back in 2011, the Macintosh was among the wave of pioneering Upper King restaurants that helped transform Charleston into an international dining destination. An enduring passion for local ingredients prepared with the focus and discipline of a classical kitchen keeps it vigorous and relevant today. Intensely beefy ribeye deckle, flawlessly tender ricotta gnudi and luxurious bone marrow bread pudding are now long-running favorites of the restaurant’s regulars. Chef-partner Jeremiah Bacon keeps things moving forward, too, with seasonal plates that highlight the freshest local seafood and produce: seared flounder with Jimmy Red grits, chilled shrimp with tigre de leche and mint, a medley of brassicas with romesco and mustard. An innovative in-house seafood charcuterie program incorporates heads and trimmings into tempting morsels like wreckfish rillettes and fish bologna, the perfect foundation for a stunning seafood slider. —Robert F. Moss

Standing Strong with You and Ready to Serve Our Local Business Community #BarterStrong New owners Robert & Cathie have a combined 50 years of US Army Service 3003 Dunes West Blvd Suite 40, Mount Pleasant 843-606-4202 • Charleston.Tradebank.com

Maison FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 708 King St.(843) 990-9165 maisoncharleston.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Maison shares a low, unassuming King Street building with a climbing gym, but step inside and you’ll find an immaculate invocation of a stylish French bistro. There’s a pewter-topped bar, hexagonal white and black floor tiles and Parisian-style bistro chairs with white and black woven backs. The menu options — escargots, steak frites au poivre, coq au vin — seem to hew to traditional bistro standards at first, but chef Vandy Vanderwarker gives each a creative, flavorful spin. The sultry coq au vin is a deconstructed delight, with long-marinated chicken that’s braised, shredded and blended with roasted ramps into an intensely flavored patty. A thick wedge of monkfish tail has a smooth, buttery bite beneath its golden brown sear, heightened by the unexpected richness of roasted chicken butter sauce. With deep, intense flavors and a playful sensibility, Maison’s daring interpretations of traditional French plates are a welcome addition to the Charleston scene. —Robert F. Moss

Jonathan Boncek file photo

Le Grande Plateaux at NICO is an impressive seafood centerpiece


BURRITOS

Our go-to restaurant list

Malagon TAPAS

Moderate Downtown. 33 Spring St. (843) 926-0475 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

Even experienced tapas lovers may find themselves a bit wide-eyed at Malagon — the eight-page menu isn’t fooling around. Rather, it gets right down to some sweet tapas tenderness, starting with familiar snacks like marcona almonds and dates wrapped in ham. The mojama (cured tuna belly) is a classic treat. Firm and salty, it’s often referred to as the jamón of the sea. Accompanied by roughly a dozen baby potatoes, tender chunks of octopus have a silky texture similar to that of a rare scallop. The mild flavors of the two soft ingredients are dominated by the sprinkling of smoked paprika on top. Despite being “small plates” and probably owing in part to all the potatoes, your meal can be surprisingly filling and notably affordable. Malagon is not only doing something different, they’re doing it extremely well. —Vanessa Wolf

Melfi’s ITALIAN TEMP CLOSED

Expensive Downtown. 721 King St. (843) 513-0307

NACHOS

eatatmelfis.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Named for the family who once ran a pharmacy in the same space, Melfi’s menu offers updated takes on Italian staples. The polished, old-school dining room is warm and buzzy, providing a welcome backdrop to get your carbs on. Slip into a leather booth and proceed to feast on house-made linguine tossed with pancetta or littleneck clams, or “Roman-ish” pizza, like the Mr. Wally, made with vodka sauce, Fresno peppers, sliced salami and meaty hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. Don’t miss the delicate tuna crudo with buttery pine nuts and Calabrian chile vinaigrette. Negroni aficionados will appreciate the choice of seven innovative variations. —Vanessa Wolf

NICO FRENCH

Expensive Mount Pleasant. 201 Coleman Blvd. (843) 3527969 Serving Dinner (daily) and Weekend Brunch

NICO was the fine dining establishment Shem Creek had been waiting for when it opened in 2018. You wouldn’t know it based on the buzzing atmosphere and trendy continued on page 36

Since 1993

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Top 50 Top 50 from page 35

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decor, but NICO is located in a former Pizza Hut, adding to the restaurant’s allure. Executive chef Nico Romo’s menu has hints of flash with beautifully arranged raw bar platters and dishes like whole roasted lobster. Each plate that comes out of the open kitchen is a display of classic French techniques using South Carolina ingredients. Take his bouillabaisse de Marseille, which incorporates local fish, shrimp, mussels, clams and scallops, resulting in a perfect rendition of the famous French dish. Eating at NICO feels comfortable and thrilling at the same time, meaning guests are always wanting to come back for more. If you’re looking for ambiance, show-stopping dishes and plenty of fresh oysters, NICO is your spot. —Parker Milner

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Expensive Downtown. 17 Broad St. (843) 722-4220 oaksteakhouserestaurant.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Located in a restored 150-year-old bank building, Oak is a long-running favorite for a big Charleston night out. Hefty prime ribeyes and strips are the main attractions,

with luxurious family-style accompaniments like creamy whipped potatoes and lobster mac and cheese. Within the traditional steakhouse format there is always a twist or two, like a daily local seafood special or beef belly with sorghum barbecue sauce. The deep wine list focuses on California reds, and the service is reliably top-notch, regardless of whether you eat downstairs in the bar area, with its exposed brick walls and clubby red leather booths, or at the white cloth-draped tables in the second story dining room, its high windows looking out over Broad Street. —Robert F. Moss

The Obstinate Daughter SEAFOOD/SOUTHERN

Moderate Sullivan’s Island. 2063 Middle St. (843) 416-5020 theobstinatedaughter.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

At The Obstinate Daughter, executive chef Jacques Larson’s big, open kitchen has a plancha and a wood-fired oven, and he uses it to create a beguiling array of pizzas, pastas and small plates. The pizzas bear tempting toppings, like clams and roasted fennel or pork meatballs and red peppers. The dishes on the rotating “plates” menu range in size from “Geechie frites” (long

TACO TUESDAYS TACO BOX ONLY $25 *EXTRA FOR GUACAMOLE

36 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

TAQUERIA TACOS • BURRITOS • QUESADILLAS • TORTAS LA MICHUACANA PALETERIA AGUAS FRESCAS • BOLIS • CHURROS • CREPES & MORE SUPERMARKET BUTCHER • BAKERY • FRESH PRODUCE • GROCERIES

OPEN DAILY 9AM-9PM • 1610 SAM RITTENBERG BLVD, SUITE 301, WEST ASHLEY • 843-225-8244


Our go-to restaurant list

strips of fried polenta) to a crispy duck with with carrot farrotto, cipollini and chermoula. Fluffy ricotta gnocchi are topped with an intensely flavorful short rib ragu with tender strands of beef in a pool of reddish orange tomato-tinged jus. OD boasts a cheery, casual environment for enjoying Larson’s impressive parade of delicate but flavorful dishes. And that makes it one of the best upscale dining destinations not just out on the beaches, but anywhere in town. —Robert F. Moss

The Ordinary SEAFOOD

Expensive Downtown. 544 King St. (843) 414-7060 eattheordinary.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

In December 2012, a historic King Street bank building found new life as an upscale oyster hall. The Ordinary — second child of Adam Nemirow and chef Mike Lata — opened with soaring 22-foot ceilings, the promise of locally sourced seafood and lots of buzz. Today such concepts are a dime a dozen (on the half-shell, please). But The Ordinary was the first of its kind, and, I would argue, still the best. While regularly packed and filled with an upbeat ambiance, the high ceilings diffuse the jovial noise to a pleasant buzz. Along with six daily varieties of raw oysters on the half shell, the house-smoked oysters are not to be missed. Presented in an oil and vinegar-filled preserve jar and spiked with slices of crisp pickled celery, the six oysters are so gently smoked that they are still raw. As a result, each is tender and juicy, the delicate hint of ocean flavor touched with woodsy smoke. Served with fancied-up saltines (brushed with butter and Old Bay), rich, cold creme fraiche and vibrant hot sauce, the combination is outstanding: cool, crisp and smoky all at once. —Vanessa Wolf

Peninsula Grill NEW SOUTHERN

Very Expensive Downtown. 112 N. Market St. (843) 723-0700 peninsulagrill.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Purlieu FRENCH TEMP CLOSED

Expensive Downtown. 237 Fishburne St. (843) 300-2253 purlieucharleston.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Stepping into this intimate, relaxed Westside bistro is almost like being transported to a Parisian neighborhood. Chef John Zucker’s seasonal menu offers traditional French dishes like escargot and Parisian herb gnocchi, plus reimagined classics such as mache salad with duck prosciutto or a refined bouillabaisse filled with local seafood. The warm, cozy space is filled with reclaimed wood ceilings and tile walls, providing a distinctly European ambiance. The carefully chosen wine list only adds to the experience. —Vanessa Wolf

Renzo PIZZA

Moderate Downtown. 384 Huger St. (843) 952-7864 renzochs.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

This former storefront-turned-hip neighborhood trattoria has a wood-fired oven and knows how to use it. Along with tempting starters like warm homemade sourdough bread or charred cauliflower florets with savory mushoom XO sauce, the menu features a trio of pastas, plus an array of creative Neapolitan-style pizzas. Feeling adventurous? The Cheli offers a tomato base with lamb sausage, tangy pickled peppers, honey and za’atar. Also, Renzo offers one of the area’s largest selections of nat wine. —Vanessa Wolf

The Best Food Under the Sun!

Rodney Scott’s BBQ BARBECUE

Inexpensive Downtown. 1011 King St. (843) 990-9535 rodneyscottsbbq.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

Rodney Scott made waves in 2017 when, after two decades of cooking hogs at his family’s acclaimed operation in Hemingway, he brought his traditional burn barrel style of barbecue down to Charleston. That splendid whole hog — basted in a pepper-laced sauce and pulled into long, succulent strands — remains the foundation of Scott’s offering on King Street, but he’s added a few new options for the city crowd, like meaty spareribs, crisp fried catfish and craft beer on tap. The f lawless collards and the ribeye sandwiches, made from pit-smoked steak sliced thin and piled high on soft rolls, are musttry sleepers. Now, with a second restaurant open in Birmingham and two more in the works, Rodney Scott is exporting South continued on page 38

COMFORT FOOD MADE WITH CARE MENUS DIFFER BY LOCATION

HOMEMADE BAGELS • OMELETS • CREPES • BENEDICTS SHRIMP & GRITS • SANDWICHES • WRAPS • SALADS • PIZZAS

SUMMERVILLE 110 Miles Jamison Rd 843-225-6201

MT. PLEASANT JOHNS ISLAND 1039 Johnnie Dodds Blvd 1797 Main Rd 843-856-7796 843-718-1858

SUNRISE-BISTRO.com

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 37

There are milestones in life that require a fancy steak. Or at least the kind of place where one can get a fancy steak. If you’re in the midst of such an occasion, Peninsula Grill has got you covered. Even after more than two decades, Peninsula Grill continues to impress with its luxurious fare. Take, for instance, the seared foie gras. The dish is deserving of a modeling contract, with the perfectly cooked slice of delicate liver resting atop artful smears of cinnamon-infused strawberry coulis and aged balsamic reduction. Backed by a vibrant fence of fresh strawberry slices and a crisp arugula salad, this is about as good as foie gras gets. —Vanessa Wolf

BREAKFAST SERVED ALL DAY EVERY DAY


Top 50 Top 50 from page 37

Carolina-style whole hog cookery across the entire South. —Robert F. Moss

The Royal Tern EXPENSIVE

Seafood Johns Island. 3005 Maybank Hwy. (843) 718-3434 theroyaltern.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Set on Johns Island between Wild Olive and The Fat Hen, The Royal Tern is a welcome and well-positioned addition to that existing pair of successful Maybank Hwy restaurants. With a focus on fish, the menu offers an aquarium-full of options. Along with a raw bar, there are fried “and chips” platters, elegant small plates and four variations of cooked oysters. Add to that a handful of sandwiches, a half-dozen seafood entrees and a hat trick of woodfired steaks. The building is also glorious. Outside, it’s effortlessly stylish and would look just as appropriate nestled amongst a row of upscale beachfront estates. Inside, the chic, airy space boasts wood floors and high ceilings adorned with dramatic lights that resemble giant clusters of white grapes. The interior incorporates a number of current

Sorghum & Salt

trends, including an open kitchen, marbletopped bar and miles of banquette seating. One of the best-looking joints in the area, The Royal Tern offers a hip place to scratch a variety of seafood itches on Johns Island. —Vanessa Wolf

MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 186 Coming St. (843) 872-6393 sorghumandsalt.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun,)

Situated in the space that once held the beloved Two Boroughs Larder, chef Tres Jackson’s Sorghum & Salt has more than enough chops to fill those shoes. Tenaciously fresh and unapologetically creative, Jackson’s cuisine offers a mix of familiar and foreign in ways that are fresh and unexpected. The menu is as continually in flux as the ever-shifting Lowcountry weather, but don’t miss a chance to try the superlative salt-roasted beets or sweet, yet savory Ambrose Farms radishes. An obvious labor of love, anticipate thoughtful, provocative food prepared and served by people who are clearly proud of it. —Vanessa Wolf

Slightly North of Broad NEW SOUTHERN

Expensive Downtown. 192 East Bay St. (843) 723-3424 snobcharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Slightly North of Broad (SNOB) is the perfect place to take visiting friends for their first taste of Charleston cuisine, for it embodies so much of what makes the city’s dining scene special. Since taking the reins in 2016, executive chef Russ Moore has deftly balanced the restaurant’s traditional dishes with more forward-looking fare. Dishes like grilled Carolina quail stuffed with dirty rice which delivers a “wow”inducing burst of richness from the very first bite. Or pristinely fresh seafood that gets an elegant Southern touch on plates like New Bedford scallops with tomato ham hock broth or seared tuna topped with crisp fried oysters and tart yellow “mustard Q” sauce. SNOB was a local charcuterie pioneer and

Ruta Smith file photo

SNOB is a mainstay that continues turning out forward-looking dishes a platter of hearty country pate, savory pork rillettes and lush chicken liver mousse is the perfect evening starter. —Robert F. Moss

Stella’s GREEK

Moderate Downtown. 114 St. Philip St. (843) 400-0026 stellascharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

It’s hard to say what’s most striking about Stella’s on St. Philip Street. Is it the hip, yet boisterous vibe? The large portions at

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Our go-to restaurant list

an incredibly reasonable price point? Or is it the vast, authentic and consistently delicious menu? Regardless of your ultimate conclusion, this is a trifecta worth a visit… Or five. The grilled octopus and spanikopita are simple perfection, while the saganaki is a visual showstopper and an excuse to pig out on cheese. Stella’s own recipes — namely her calamari and braised lamb shank with No. 5 noodles and brown butter shank sauce, are at once comforting and elevated, testimony to the woman who inspired it all. —Vanessa Wolf

Tu ASIAN FUSION

Moderate Downtown. 430 Meeting St. tu-charleston.com Serving Dinner (Thurs.-Sat.)

The culinary team behind Xiao Bao Biscuit continues to push the boundaries at Tu, a Meeting St. eatery that got a new focus and menu in August. Tu 3.0, as executive chef Josh Walker calls it, serves Asian-inspired street food, lending itself to outdoor dining on the restaurant’s expanded covered patio. Lemongrass pork satay, samosa with local peaches and bao buns with pork vindaloo are just a few of the dishes Walker has served in the short time since rebrand-

ing the restaurant. The crowning jewel of the new menu is the Korean fried chicken, a sandwich featuring a thick, delicatelyfried spicy chicken breast with papaya salad inside a doughy bun. Tu’s cuisine is still just as hard to describe in one or two words as it was when the restaurant opened three years ago, but that’s all part of the fun. A meal at Tu has no boundaries; it’s an adventure with dishes from throughout the largest continent in the world, allowing guests to simultaneously learn the differences in the cuisine from each region. It’s quirky, hip, spicy and lively, and you’ll love every minute of it. —Parker Milner

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Wild Olive ITALIAN

Moderate Johns Island. 2867 Maybank Hwy. (843) 737-4177 wildoliverestaurant.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Right off Maybank Highway sits Wild Olive, chef Jacques Larson’s haven for exquisite Italian fare. Since 2009 it has served as the go-to place for anniversary dinners and reunions with old friends. A comfortable bar greets those looking continued on page 40

TUESDAYS: $4 MARGARITAS HAPPY HOUR: M-F 4-6PM 1/2 OFF COCKTAILS Charleston • 1302 Meeting St. • 843.722.2633 | Mt. Pleasant • 1471 Ben Sawyer Blvd. • 843.388.3146

Patio Seating • Family Friendly • 1734 Sam Rittenberg Blvd • 843-868-6288 OPEN DAILY Sun-Thu 12pm-10pm, Fri & Sat 12pm-11pm • LUNCH SPECIALS Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm • HAPPY HOUR Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 39

JUICINESS AWAITS YOU


Top 50 Top 50 from page 39

for a casual bite but don’t let that relaxed atmosphere deceive you. Larson’s food is anything but. Incredible (and decadent) risotto fritters stuffed with sausage, spinach, Parmesan and mozzarella are a great way to start. And always ask about the specials, of which there are plenty. A past highlight was a pappardelle with proscuitto, pork and escarole. Larson is a firm believer in local and his conviction permeates everything on the plate. —Kinsey Gidick

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Xiao Bao Biscuit ASIAN FUSION

Inexpensive Downtown. 224 Rutledge Ave. xiaobaobiscuit.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

What started as a pop-up with a devout following eventually found a dedicated shrine much to the delight of all who crave a wide swath of Asian flavors (Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Taiwanese) interpreted with fresh Lowcountry ingredients. The dishes are not for the meek or unadventurous; each packs escalating levels of heat. On the gentler scale is the popular Okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake criss-crossed with drizzles of

sriracha and Japanese mayo, then topped with a runny-yolk egg. On the spicy end of the scale is the Mapo Dofu, whose cubes of tofu incinerate your taste buds with swirls of chili oil, leaving heat seekers crying through tears of gratitude as they lick their plates clean. Cool your palate with a coconut milk or a (nonalcoholic) lemongrass ginger beer. —Allston McCrady

Zero Restaurant + Bar MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 0 George St. (843) 817-7900 zerogeorge.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

On the grounds of the elegant Zero George Street Boutique Hotel, Zero Restaurant + Bar’s romantic dining room is set in a former carriage house built in 1804. Here, chef Vinson Petrillo whips up innovative tasting menus with the option of four or seven courses, plus optional wine pairings. Selections vary with the seasons, but anticipate such treats as lightly grilled mackerel served with foie gras and local citrus, or venison prepared with vadouvan curry and taleggio cheese. Hit up happy hour for a craft cocktail; whether wielding a lead pipe or the candlestick, the bourbon-based Colonel Mustard is sure to pack a punch. —Vanessa Wolf

350 Facts About Charleston is a

new book about, well, Charleston. With facts. Lots of them. In fact, there are 350 facts, one for each year that Charleston’s been around.

40 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

The staff at the Charleston City Paper pulled together fun and arcane information about the Holy City to illuminate its deep, rich history. Included in the 224 pages are details on early settlers, the wars (Revolutionary and Civil) and the struggle for civil rights by descendants of enslaved Africans. You’ll learn about food (Charlestonians have loved to drink wine for centuries), books, people, music, culture and much more. Order your copy today for just $20 (plus shipping and handling) at

CharlestonFacts.com Or pick it up in a favorite local shop just in time for the holidays.

FEAT SOUTH URING CA CARTO ROLINA ROBER ONIST T ARIAIL


One, Please Grab a few drinks outside at these Charleston spots this fall By Parker Milner and Sam Spence

Dashi

Tattooed Moose

North Charleston. 1262 Remount Road

Dashi expanded its patio in recent months, adding tables and bar seating to the side of the restaurant. Enjoy local brews, jumbo wings, cheesy burritos and more at this funky Asian and Latin fusion eatery.

Lowlife Bar Folly Beach. 106 E. Hudson Ave.

Order at the counter at Folly Beach’s Lowlife Bar and the staff will bring elevated bar bites like chipotle shrimp nachos or tuna poke right to your table. The breezy patio, just steps away from the main drag, has plenty of spaced seating and added safety measures.

Johns Island. 3328 Maybank Hwy.

The Johns Island Tattooed Moose location looks a little different post-pandemic with outdoor seating that spills into its front yard. Enjoy live music, local beers and duck fat fries in the sun or at one of several shaded tables.

Recovery Room Tavern It’s all about patio PBRs at Recovery Room — the King Street watering hole has sold the most in the country for six straight years. The sunlit patio was packed to the gills prior to the pandemic, but you’ll now find spaced out tables and fans to keep you cool while you sip on Milwaukee’s best or another reasonably priced beverage.

Ghost Monkey Brewery Mount Pleasant. 522 Wando Lane

Uptown Social Downtown. 587 King St.

Holy City’s new digs are perfect for outdoor sips

Massive King Street bar Uptown Social purchased a plot of land next door postcoronavirus, dubbing the new patio “The Lot.” Enjoy pizza and drinks at night or stop by on the weekend to check out Bodega, the eatery’s new concept serving hearty New York-style breakfast sandwiches

Uptown Social recently expanded into the empty space next door, aptly called “The Lot” on house-made kaiser rolls.

The Royal American

House of Brews

In a city of piazzas, The Royal American has long had one of the best front porches in Charleston. Along with its newer back deck, the Morrison Drive dive is the perfect spot to camp out on a sunny afternoon. With cheap beer during happy hour, boozy punches all the time and a killer menu to boot, The Royal American should be on your list of outdoor watering holes.

West Ashley. 2376 Ashley River Road

Taking a cue from its original Mount Pleasant location, House of Brews has a wide-open yard full of Astroturf and comfy places to sit while you taste a few of the beers on offer. Check their Instagram for food truck schedules and the latest local beer inventory to pair for a solid fall afternoon.

Holy City Brewing North Charleston. 1021 Aragon Ave.

It turns out that Holy City picked a good time to move to its new sprawling waterfront home in North Charleston. Just steps from the Park Circle area, Holy City’s big backyard backing up to Noisette Creek is perfect for quarantining yourself with an Overly Friendly IPA or Strawberry Beards Forever, a Berliner weisse. The combo of picnic table + umbrella + beer + plenty of space is hard to beat. So, it’s good that they have a good selection of tasty bar favorites from burgers to cheesesteaks. And of course, Sunday brunch.

Downtown. 970 Morrison Drive

Ship’s Wheel North Charleston. 1033 E. Montague Ave.

Ship’s Wheel has continued pouring refreshing, original cider creations at their new Park Circle-area production facility. With ample outside table space for standing and sitting while enjoying the pop-up kitchen on site or enjoying the fall weather outside, the patio is an ideal space at the quiet end of East Montague Avenue. Grab their latest pours, rotating on draft, or if you lean beer, pick up a four pack of their Super Hop dryhopped cider.

charlestoncitypaper.com/dish || 41

Find brews and bites just off the Long Point Road exit in Mount Pleasant at Ghost Monkey Brewery. There’s plenty of room to stretch out on the expanded outdoor patio where food trucks like Bok Choy Boy, Blackout Burger and Tobo Sushi serve food. Beat the heat with Ghost Monkey’s “beer slushy,” which is made using a sour ale named Sparkles the Fluffy Unicorn.

Courtesy Holy City Brewing

Courtesy Uptown Social

Downtown. 685 King St.


A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

THE ESSENTIAL LIST From Summerville to Sullivan's these businesses exemplify the Charleston experience. Ruta Smith file photo

ALFREDO’S ON FOLLY Folly Beach. 106 W. Hudson Ave. (843) 633-0225 alfredosonfolly.com

COWBOY BRAZILLIAN STEAKHOUSE North Charleston. 2411 Mall Drive (843) 744-9000 cowboybraziliansteakhouse.com

BACCO Mount Pleasant. 976 Houston Northcutt Blvd. (843) 884-6969 baccocharleston.com

CROSBY’S SEAFOOD James Island. 2223 Folly Road (843) 795-4049 crosbysfishshrimp.com

BOHEMIAN BULL James Island. 1531 Folly Road (843) 225-1817 bohemianbull.com BOTTLES Mount Pleasant. 610 Coleman Blvd. (843) 849-9463 Summerville. 1110 N. Main St. (843) 875-6666 shopbottles.com CALIFORNIA TORTILLA James Island. 1405 Folly Road. (843) 867-3838 californiatortilla.com/location/charleston

42 || DISH || Summer/Fall 2020

CANNON GREEN Downtown. 103 Spring St. (843) 817-6299 cannongreencharleston.com CHARLESTON CRAB HOUSE Downtown. 41 S. Market St. (843) 853-2900 James Island. 145 Wappoo Creek Drive (843) 795-1963 charlestoncrabhouse.com COMMONHOUSE ALEWORKS North Charleston. 4831 O’Hear Ave. (843) 471-1400 commonhousealeworks.com

EAST BAY DELI Downtown. 334 East Bay St., Suite H (843) 723-1234 West Ashley. 858 Savannah Hwy. (843) 571-2244 Mount Pleasant. 1120 Oakland Market Road (843) 216-5423 North Charleston. 9135 University Blvd. (843) 553-7374 North Charleston. 4405 Dorchester Road (843) 747-1235 Summerville. 2519 N. Main St. Suite B (843) 471-2444 eastbaydeli.com EL MOLINO SUPERMARKET West Ashley. 1610 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. (843) 225-8244 GABRIELLE AT HOTEL BENNETT Downtown. 404 King St. hotelbennett.com/dine/gabrielle GALPAO GAUCHO BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE Downtown. 167 East Bay St. (854) 999-3950 galpaogauchousa.com GENE’S HAUFBRAU West Ashley. 817 Savannah Hwy. (843) 225-4363 genes-haufbrau.com

GUILTY PLEASURES North Charleston. 2992 Ashley Phosphate Road (843) 606-6751 guiltypleasuressc.com HALLS CHOPHOUSE Downtown. 434 King St. (843) 727-0090 Summerville. 300 Nexton Square Drive (843) 900-6000 hallschophouse.com HOME TEAM BBQ Downtown. 126 Williman St. (843) 225-7427 West Ashley. 1205 Ashley River Road (843) 225-7427 Sullivan’s Island. 2209 Middle St. (843) 883-3131 hometeambbq.com

KAMINSKY’S Downtown. 78 N. Market St. (843) 853-8270 West Ashley. 2 Magnolia Road (854) 429-1777 kaminskys.com KING CLAW JUICY SEAFOOD West Ashley. 1734 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. (843) 868-6288 thekingclaw.com LEWIS BARBECUE Downtown. 464 N. Nassau St. (843) 805-9500 lewisbarbecue.com LILLIE FUEL Mount Pleasant. 426 W. Coleman Blvd. (843) 425-4801 lilliefuel.com

HOTEL INDIGO Mount Pleasant. 250 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. (877) 270-1410 ihg.com

MA’AM SAAB (AT WORKSHOP) Downtown. 1503 King St. (843) 259-2660 maamsaabchs.com

JUAN LUIS Downtown. 464 N. Nassau St. (843) 805-9500 lewisbarbecue.com/juan-luis

MAPLE STREET BISCUIT Mount Pleasant. 996 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. James Island. 1739 Maybank Hwy., Suite U (843) 203-3889 maplestreetbiscuits.com

JUANITA GREENBERG’S NACHO ROYALE Downtown. 439 King St. (843) 723-6224 Mount Pleasant. 410 W. Coleman Blvd. (843) 329-6224 juanitagreenbergs.com

MEX 1 COASTAL CANTINA West Ashley. 817 Saint Andrews Blvd. (843) 751-4001 Mount Pleasant. 1109 Park West Blvd. (843) 352-9699 2205 Middle St. Sullivan’s Island (843) 882-8172 mex1coastalcantina.com MICHO James Island. 1977 Maybank Hwy.


(843) 619-0151 charlestonpourhouse.com/micho

(843) 556-2478 tbonzgillandgrill.com

O-KU Downtown. 463 King St. (843) 737-0112 o-kusushi.com

TACO BOY Downtown. 217 Huger St. (843) 789-3333 Summerville. 106 Front St. (843) 851-8226 Folly Beach. 15 Center St. (843) 588-9761 tacoboy.net

OYSTER HOUSE SEAFOOD RESTURANT Downtown. 35 S. Market St. (843) 723-1151 oysterhouse.menu PALMETTO BREWING COMPANY Downtown. 289 Huger St. (843) 937-0903 palmettobrewery.com PEARLZ OYSTER BAR Downtown. 153 East Bay St. (843) 577-5755 West Ashley. 9 Magnolia Road (843) 573-2277 pearlzoysterbar.com POE’S TAVERN Sullivan’s Island. 2210 Middle St. (843) 883-0083 poestavern.com POKE BROTHERS Mount Pleasant. 644 Long Point Road (843) 800-5600 North Charleston. 5070 International Blvd. (843) 718-1354 eatpokebros.com REBEL TAQUERIA North Charleston. 1809 Reynolds Ave. (843) 619-0104 rebeltaqueria.com RED’S ICEHOUSE Mount Pleasant. 98 Church St. (843) 388-0003 redsicehouse.com SANTI’S RESTAURANTE MEXICANO Downtown. 1302 Meeting St. (843) 722-2633 Mount Pleasant. 1471 Ben Sawyer Blvd. (843) 388-3146 santisrestaurantemexicano.com

T-BONZ GILL & GRILL Downtown. 80 N. Market St. (843) 577-2511 West Ashley. 1668 Old Towne Road

THE CRAB SHACK West Ashley. 1901 Ashley River Road (843) 763-4494 Folly Beach. 26 Center St. (843) 588-3080 North Charleston. 8486 Dorchester Road (843) 552-7171 crabshacks.com THE FRACTURED PRUNE Mount Pleasant. 1247 Ben Sawyer Blvd. (843) 936-6979 fracturedprune.com THE MACINTOSH Downtown. 479B King St. (843) 789-4299 themacintoshcharleston.com THE SHELTER Mount Pleasant. 202 Coleman Blvd. (843) 388-3625 theshelterkitchenandbar.com THE WASHOUT Folly Beach. 41 Center St. (843) 633-0143 follywashout.com TOMMY CONDON’S Downtown. 160 Church St. (843) 577-3818 tommycondons.com TRIANGLE CHAR & BAR West Ashley. 828 Savannah Hwy. (843) 377-1300 trianglecharandbar.com VICKERY’S BAR & GRILL Mount Pleasant. 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane (843) 884-4440 vickerysmtp.com WILD COMMON Downtown. Left Side, 103 Spring St. (843) 817-7311 wildcommoncharleston.com ZIA TAQUERIA James Island. 1956A Maybank Hwy. (843) 406-8877 ziataco.com

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SUNRISE BISTRO Johns Island. 1797 Main Road (843) 718-1858 sunrise-bistro.com Mount Pleasant. 1039 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Unit 12 (843) 856-7796 sunrisebistromountpleasant.com Summerville. 110 Miles Road (843) 225-6201 sunrisebistrosummerville.com

TAVERN & TABLE Mount Pleasant. 100 Church St. (843) 352-9510 tavernandtable.com


— CHARLESTON’S BAR GU IDE—

index of restaurants by category AMERICAN Lowlife Bar.........................................................41 Ted’s Butcherblock............................................8 Uptown Social...................................................41 ASIAN FUSION Dashi...................................................................41 Xiao Bao Biscuit...............................................40 Tu........................................................................ 39 BARBECUE Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ........................ 28 Lewis Barbecue..........................................10, 34 Rodney Scott’s BBQ ........................................37 BREWERY/TAPHOUSE Ghost Monkey Brewery..................................41 Holy City Brewing.............................................41 House of Brews.................................................41 Ship’s Wheel......................................................41 CAFES Basic Kitchen.....................................................22 Babas on Cannon........................................ 6, 21 goat.sheep.cow.north.................................... 30

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Wishing Estadio and others a swift, safe return

O N S TA N D S N OV E M B E R 4 T H

TO ADVERTISE Call Charleston City Paper at 843-577-5304 or e-mail sales@charlestoncitypaper.com

CHINESE Jackrabbit Filly..................................................32 Kwei Fei....................................................... 14, 32 CUBAN Spanglish Cocina + Bar .................................. 18 Delis + Sandwiches Tattooed Moose...............................................41 FRENCH Chez Nous......................................................... 24 Fat Hen...............................................................27 Félix Cocktail et Cuisine..................................27 Maison............................................................... 34 Purlieu.................................................................37 GREEK Stella’s.................................................................32 INDIAN Nirlep..................................................................12 ITALIAN Bacco..................................................................21 Coda del Pesce................................................ 24 Le Farfalle..........................................................32 Melfi’s................................................................. 35 Wild Olive.......................................................... 39 MEDITERRANEAN Butcher & Bee...................................................22 MEXICAN Micho..................................................................16 MODERN AMERICAN Charleston Grill..........................................14, 23 Edmund’s Oast........................................... 12, 25 The Establishment.......................................... 25 FIG...................................................................... 28 The Grocery.......................................................31 The Macintosh................................................. 34 Rita’s Seaside Grill........................................... 10 Sorghum & Salt.......................................... 14, 37 Tavern & Table...................................................16 Wild Common....................................................16 Zero Restaurant + Bar....................................40 NEW SOUTHERN Husk....................................................................31


Stella’s Grilled Octopus brings rich, punchy flavors

SUPPORT OUR LOCAL RESTAURANTS

Photos by Ruta Smith

Peninsula Grill...................................................37 Slightly North of Broad ..................................37 The Glass Onion............................................... 30 PAKISTANI Ma’am Saab...................................................... 46 PIZZA D’Allesandro’s Pizza...........................................6 EVO Pizzeria..................................................... 26 Renzo..................................................................37

SEAFOOD 167 Raw..............................................................21 Bowens Island Restaurant..............................22 The Darling Oyster Bar....................................12 Delaney Oyster House.................................... 24 Gillie’s Seafood..................................................14 Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters........................32

SOUL FOOD Bertha’s Kitchen...............................................22 Dave’s Carryout............................................... 24 Hannibal’s Kitchen...........................................31

100 COLUMBUS STREET, CHARLESTON, SC 843.723.7233 • info@nelsonprint.com

SUSHI Tobo Sushi..........................................................12 SOUTHERN Handy and Hot................................................. 18 STEAKHOUSE Oak Steakhouse............................................... 36 SPANISH Estadio............................................................... 26 Malagon............................................................. 35 WINE BAR Savi Cucina + Wine Bar....................................14

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PUBS + TAVERNS Bumpa’s................................................................8 Recovery Room Tavern...................................41 The Royal American.........................................41

Nico Oysters + Seafood.................................. 35 Obstinate Daughter........................................ 36 The Ordinary.....................................................37 The Royal Tern..................................................37

DESIGN • MENUS • SANDWICH BOARDS POST CARD & MAILING • GIFT CERTIFICATES POSTERS • SIGNAGE • BANNERS AND MUCH MORE


E   SSAY

FAMILY OF FOUR My family and Ma’am Saab are surviving, but it has not been easy

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By Maryam Ghaznavi I’ve always loved stories, specifically fables. Beyond the many reasons why everyone loves fables, I personally enjoy working my way through the moral which, most of the time, is revealed at the end of a story; like a riddle. Even though fables are pure fiction with animals or objects as main characters, the conf licts are relatable and solutions are tough, yet simple. Like real life. In our non-fictitious, real-life story, we are the main characters facing, or sometimes creating, all sorts of conf licts challenging our passions, determination, relationships and at times, ideals. As we work our way out of these dilemmas, and if we are open to it, we will discover the learning we receive by persevering through these situations. In real life though, this “moral” is also referred to as hindsight, and it’s always 2020. (Pun intended.) Understandably, I also didn’t have this hindsight when, in our very real life, I decided to start my own made-to-order food delivery service three days into everything closing down due to COVID-19 back in March. We just had an idea and an ambition to give it a go. And that we did. As a family, we embarked on a journey never traveled before, on a path leading to an unknown and a route full of obstacles. None of us knew how bad this pandemic would get and where we would be once and if we got through this as individuals, as a community and as a nation overall. Even in fictional stories, usually there are family, friends and mentors (sometimes even sidekicks) who can step in and help you through the conflict at hand — we could have none. The pandemic had kept them all away from us. So we, a family of four, became

Ghaznavi was a Mount Pleasant teacher before starting Ma’am Saab Photos by Ruta Smith

each other’s sidekicks. It was a love-hate relationship! One could say, if I were Batman, I had two Robins who were constantly told to keep their pants on as we zoomed around in my (not) Batmobile delivering freshly prepared dinners six days a week. Raheel was Superman. We all know that Batman can get himself into situations from which only Superman can rescue him. I had Raheel and all of us were each others’ heroes. Parenting roles were dramatically reversed as “Mama’’ was constantly away for work and “Baba” was working from home navigating everyday life-altering conflicts such as why doesn’t 15 crackers and a jug of chocolate milk constitute a healthy breakfast for a 7 year old. Life was tough around here. It got tougher every day. With each success Ma’am Saab had, each milestone we overcame, our challenges increased. But so did our efforts. With every sleepless

night (which were all of them), we woke up with new ideas to improve our processes. When we realized it was getting more and more unsafe to take our little Robins out with us on deliveries, we reached out to other superheroes. These conflicts were and are helping us grow. Helping us get better at what we are doing, and growing pains need nourishment. Our nourishment comes from the hearts we touch through our food. The love of our family and friends keeps our buckets full. My mom is with me in spirit everyday when I make a fresh batch of Sooji Halwa that reminds me of my youth, when the smell of semolina roasting in ghee would fill our entire house as we all flocked to the kitchen. When they say the restaurant business is a family business, I understand now. In hindsight, the morals of this story are endless. But the best lesson is to live your way through them.



Adapting for Success

Culinary and hospitality professionals know they must adapt to quick changes to keep their customers happy.

Our students are learning that lesson as well. The Culinary Institute of Charleston has made important changes, including online classes, socially distanced labs, required safety equipment and increased sanitation measures, allowing students to continue working toward their dream careers.

Now’s a great time to enroll— culinary and hospitality programs are TUITION FREE this year. Fall 2 starts Oct. 20.

www.CulinaryInstituteofCharleston.com • 843.820.5090