Arena, the first chef to connect with Mark Marhefka of Abundant Seafood, will bring his considerable experience with the local waters and fishes to his new post.
In a press release today, he said: “I am so happy to join the energetic team over at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina. Watching the Blue Marlin Fish House go from concept, to design and development, to reality is an honor. I look forward to creating a menu that keeps to the flavors of the Lowcountry, both land and sea, and throwing in unexpected flavors to add a modern twist to some southern classics“
The new restaurant will have plenty of open-air dining and a rooftop bar. Plans are for it to open this spring.
I'd heard some rumors about Kaminsky's Dessert Bar coming to Upper King Street, and then I got confirmation walking down the street the other day. In the former Pita King/Turkey King spot near Cupcake, there's a permit on the window with Kaminsky's name on it.
Inside, there's obviously work being done on the space.
With humidity taking a backseat and the fall air coming in, I can't think of a better way to spend an evening than sipping stellar wine and noshing on great food with some fine people in a cozy environment. Ben Berryhill and Charlie Chance provided just that opportunity at Next Door in Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday night.
For the first time since opening, an eight-course wine and food tasting was made available for only $25 a person, or $40 a couple. Take a look at the menu and tell me that's not a steal.
While the sun was still gleaming, guests started rolling in to claim seats in the beautiful patio in front of the restaurant. The weather was mild and Charlie Chance had all hands on deck to assure an amazing evening.
A crisp prosecco was poured upon arrival and soon after came Deep Bay oysters out of Vancouver that were very clean, sweet, and not too briny.
As guests sucked down their oysters, wine glasses were replaced with a small cup of sweet Thai coconut soup. The creaminess of the coconut and the strong presence of ginger made for a delightful pairing with an acidic, earthy Pinot Gris. The soup was so good I found myself setting down the spoon and drinking straight from the cup.
Next we were served crispy shrimp and scallop spring rolls with sweet chili sauce, paired with sparkling wine. What a great presentation.
The pairing of the night came next. A stunning hand-crafted spinach and butternut squash ravioli was complemented with a lush, nutty, and buttery chardonnay. The ravioli was delicious, but a whole new array of flavors were brought out with the wine.
Though I was sad to see my empty plate, it wasn't long before I was staring down the pork cheek with creamy polenta and crispy leeks. The savory dish was paired with a lighter, vibrant Pinot Noir from Germany. A wine with a little more tannins would have gone well with the pork, but the minerality of the wine was complex and offered a completely different flavor profile for a pinot noir, which was refreshing.
At this point guests were chattering about what a great deal it was to have all this food and wine at such a small price. And to think, we still had two more courses to go.
The mini "smothered" burger came out open-face with onions, mushrooms, and 10-month aged white cheddar. Tender, juicy, and piquant. I can see myself eating the bigger version of this dish. It paired beautifully with a spicy malbec.
In the midst of all this food, a couple — Josh and Paisley — were celebrating their recent engagement. Nice party. Congrats.
The night was capped off with a 10-year port from Portugal paired with panna cotta with salted caramel and a silky Saint Nectaire Brie.
There's no question that the tasting was a huge success. It's worth noting that everything at the tasting is available on the full dinner menu, in larger portions of course. If you missed out, don't worry, there will be more events like this in the future. As the main menu changes, tastings will be offered. Will you be at the next wine paired dinner? I know I will be.
Tonight, the Harbour Club downtown is hosting a big wine tasting, featuring 30 wines and light hors d'ouevres for $12.95.
Over in West Ashley, get a jump on your favorite non-holiday at Avondale Wine & Cheese's Uno de Mayo happy hour. Live music and bottomless sangrias ought to make it worth the $15 entry fee.
Tomorrow, in the morning, hit the Farmers Market, and then you can head out to Freshfields Village for the Make-A-Wish Wine Festival from 6-9 p.m. For $35, you can taste over 85 wines from around the world and nosh on Lowcountry cuisine by Charleston Eats while helping grant kids' wishes.
On Sunday, Fast & French throws its all-day anniversary bash at the City Gallery, as much an art event as a foodie one, and the Chef's Potluck takes over Middleton Place. At Fenwick Hall, you can get Inside the Chef's Kitchen at a Charleston Collegiate fund-raiser where Brett McKee, Donald Barickman, and Robert Carter will be pairing signature dishes with wines. On James Island, you can stop by the twice-monthly farmers market and craft fair at the Pour House from 11-3 p.m.
Up in Summerville, Farringdon Bistropub hosts a First Founders Brewery Dinner. For $40, you'll get five tapas-style courses and six specialty beers.
On Tuesday, La Fourchette brings in special guest Jean-Philippe Bourgeois of Bourgeois Family Selections for four-course dinner paired with five wines from the southern regions of France.
Coast will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo on the actual date with live music, South of the border brews, margaritas-a-plenty, and chef’s Latin-inspired feature plates befitting the evening’s theme.
And a heads up for hardcore oenophiles: Master Sommelier Robert Bath will be in town for a "Weekend of Wine" at Woodlands May 15-16. There's only enough room for 30 people, so if you're serious about wine, make your reservations now.