Bob Carter has been in fine dining a long time, catering to some of Charleston's most catered to people for eons, and we imagine he's having a little bit of an adjustment when it comes to cutting himself some slack in regards to expectations those longtime friends and customers may have of him.
So, here's my plea to the rich folk. Let us plebes have Bob Carter for a while. He's spent a good portion of his adult life giving you deliciously refined Southern fare in the poshest of posh dining rooms. For his latest project, he's taking it down to a much more accessible level. If you're going to deign to come up here past Broad street, all the way past the Crosstown even, then you're going to have to wait for a table with the rest of us.
And we do expect there to be a wait at Rutledge Cab Co., the new restaurant that Bob Carter and his partners are opening up in da 'hood next week. Final preparations were underway when we got a sneak peek at their first staff tasting last night.
They've tapped Brian Lindsay, former chef de cuisine of Old Village Post House, to head up the kitchen and have been refining the food for weeks. From what we saw, they definitely have some hits on their hands.
For example: the Fillin' Station Charcuterie platter, a cheeky offering that you'll probably find as hard to resist as I did. I mean, fried bologna?! That was my favorite hot lunch day as a kid — fried bologna sandwiches. So gross in concept but so good in reality. The potted meat is a nod to Deviled Ham, but much less salty and with a vastly improved texture. A stack of saltines and a crock of pickled vegetables add to the fun. This would be a perfect appetizer to sit on the big patio and nibble on with a group of friends.
A signature item will be the french onion soup, says Carter. And don't expect something fancy. This is classic onion soup with rye croutons and a crusty layer of gruyere.
Another appetizer perfect for sharing is hoop cheese fondue served with apples, bread, and sausages.
Carter promises nothing about the place is pretentious. He wants the food to be easy, comforting, and delicious. We nibbled on plenty of nonpretentious fare, like spicy chicken wings, flatbread pizza, chicken-fried sweetbreads, beer-boiled shrimp, and fried cheese curds. All would go just fine with a pint of beer, or one of the cocktails like the aptly named "Welcome Back Carter."
The restaurant itself is spacious with lots of brick and wood. The huge patio wraps around the outside of the restaurant and promises to be packed for weekend brunch. The beautiful bar has big wooden windows behind it that open up to the patio. We would've taken some photos, but they weren't quite ready for primetime, so that'lll have to wait until next week. You can bet we'll be checking it out as soon as they're ready for us.
Rutledge Cab Co. will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Hours will be a work in progress as they respond to the needs of the neighborhood.
Our prediction: Rutledge Cab is going to KILL it. Big patio, breakfast food, burgers. Can't miss.