An Unexpected Hidden Jewel! On a quick trip to Staples in the Whole Foods Plaza in Mt. Pleasant I noticed activity from a long since vacant restaurant Coco’s. I peeked in to see a welcoming, contemporary restaurant with a fairly busy lunch crowd and decided to investigate a little more.
Reading the menu posted on the window interested me enough to come back and try the place for dinner.
Arriving at 6:00 p.m. on a rainy Thursday evening, the restaurant was somewhat empty but we were about to see that change rather quickly.
Upon entering Graze we were met by a very welcoming hostess who was going to seat us, but we decided to sit at the bar instead. The bar was empty, and Mike, the bartender was happy to see us.
A little bit about Mike… Many moons ago, too many to count, I was a bartender. One of the “non-negotiables” of the place that I worked at was that you had to introduce yourself to customers and find out their names. It was literally a terminable offense not to introduce yourself and we took it seriously.
Since vacationing here over the last 5-6 years we’ve eaten at many places and often at the bar. NO ONE has ever introduced themselves or asked us our names. I have often found that very odd as it opens dialog and provides the opportunity for suggestive “up” selling. But low and behold, Mike did.
To me, Mike seemed to be the ideal bartender and employee. He knew all about the start up of the restaurant (more to follow), all about the specifics of the menu (if he didn’t he ran to the kitchen to find out), was chatty, but not obnoxious and had a great personality to boot. They are lucky to have him.
Mike explained that the two chefs and General Manager that had worked together for six years at a local restaurant decided to go out on their own. They, along with Mike, and four or five servers (and a few new hires), opened Graze about eight weeks ago. The restaurant has chosen to do very little advertising and this “soft opening” has proven to be very successful. Mike mentioned that they were much busier than they imagined they would be this early in the game. But it is no secret why. Their food is unbelievable.
We started with a 3-Cheese Flight. It was moderately priced (as the entire menu is), and was served in what seemed like record time. It included a walnut/brown sugar mix, fresh honey, grapes, Dubliner cheese with a Stout infused rind, Cheddar with cranberries a local farm Goat cheese, apple slices and toasted bread. Mike described this to a “t”, and also brought us more toasted bread when requested. Rarely do I ask for a “to go” box for an appetizer like this, but the cheeses were so extraordinary that I couldn’t resist. Plus I wanted to save room for dinner.
Since our appetizer was served so quickly we waited a few minutes to order dinner. It was also served very quickly. Our selections, Korean Beef BBQ and a Crab cake seem pretty middle of the road, but this was not the case at Graze. The Korean Beef was served with brown rice and a nicely spiced kimchi. The twist is that it is also accompanied by 4”x4” pieces of black seaweed. Mike explained that the chef recommends eating it by adding the ingredients into the seaweed and rolling it up – (like a taco). I could barely get a taste of this, as my husband enjoyed it so much. A wonderful blend of spice, and the flank steak was so tender – just A plus!
After the Cheese Flight I had decided to “downsize” my dinner decision to a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. They are often dubbed “Jumbo”, but rarely are they served in a portion size living up to the name. Not true for Graze. This was served over a piping hot sweet corn, whole wheat grain, butter bean succotash with apple wood smoked bacon combo. It was also accompanied by a fried green tomato and onion marmalade.
My “downsized” crab cake was the largest I have ever been served. Nice, fresh crab with a terrific texture and flavor it was served on the bean/grain mixture that was to die for. But alas, it was too much to eat, and another to-go container was required.
We met the General Manager and co-owner, Bradford Bobbitt and co-owner Derek Lathan, who along with Michael Karkut also serve as co-executive chefs. We actually met Bradford when he was trying to lean in as we were served our entrees to see if we liked them. He was so close that he scared the heck out of us as we turned and saw him leaning in behind us. He explained that this was his technique to see if customer’s liked their meals since you’d know after the first bite if you did… A humble gentleman who was visiting every table and bar customer in the restaurant (the restaurant was now quite busy).
We wish them all the best and will definitely return. The service and food were excellent and the ambiance was great. The menu is priced very reasonably, will be changing seasonally and offers quite a varied selection. For more reviews visit http://diningaroundcharleston.com
The best restaurant out there. It's always hard to figure out what to order because it's all soooooo yum! My coworkers and I eat lunch here often. Nice atmostphere. Great staff, great management, and the best chefs in Charleston!
It's too bad that it sounds like @CityGirl won't give this place another chance, the food was incredible and the quality was well beyond the price point! I tried a couple bites of everyone's plate in my party. The wild mushroom pappardelle was served in a light cream sauce that was just delicious with the sun dried tomatoes. The short rib ragu was just amazing. I had the filet of beef which was cooked perfectly to my liking and served with a nice herbed goat cheese that was just delicious when eaten with the beef. The beer and wine selection is great and the bartender made a perfect drink. Definitely a must if you're in the Mt Pleasant area.
Friendly staff, great food. Seafood is always fresh and cocktail list has a variety of interesting drinks. Upscale without being pretentious. Love it!
Charles Robinson - You obviously don't know what you are talking about if you are going to name drop the wrong name. It's a shame that the floor tiles at FIG made it into your review. Maybe you should just take your $140, and with all of your talent - cook dinner for yourself at home.
Off night. Happens everywhere. Robert Carter was not the chef at Charleston Grill. That's Peninsula Grill. Also, sometimes there is no "wow." Great can be delivered in subtle ways. That goes for people, art, conversation, car rides, evening strolls, and restaurants. By the way, some of the greatest cooking in the world happens by people that are "rooted in the past." Thanks for sharing.
Let me start by saying I'm a self-admitted food snob. I won a scholarship from Food Network to attend culinary school just so I could learn more. I even choose vacation destinations based on the food scene. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be excellent. Awesome tacos served from a makeshift stand make me just as happy as Michelin stars, and I've had both.
I have lived in downtown Charleston (Wagener Terrace) since 1997, and have dined at every restaurant worth noting. I fell so in love with McCrady's, Cypress and Charleston Grill that I just never made the time to go to FIG. I finally did so recently, and it was a disappointment. The hype simply didn't match the experience.
The service was barely adequate, the food uninspired, and the atmosphere abysmal. It was elementary school cafeteria floors, wait staff dressed in white T-shirts and ankle-length black aprons, and 80's-era paint on the walls. The food portions were adequate, and everything was prepared well, but there was no "wow". We were seated next to the service station in the back so I expected that it would be hard to be ignored. I was wrong. There were long waits between courses, and lengthy periods with empty water glasses.
I get Chef Lata's point of view and I appreciate his finesse and attention to detail. When I'm spending $140 per person on dinner I expect to be wowed. I wasn't. I found myself comparing it to what Sean Brock, Craig Diehl and Robert Carter (formerly of Charleston Grill) were doing in 2006. They have long since moved on, but I find Chef Lata firmly rooted in the past. It's undeniably delicious, but as a culinarian it's just not all that interesting to me.
So if you're a foodie and you're looking for an inventive and inspirational dining experience, don't go to FIG. If you just want to have an excellent meal and can get past the too-casual-for-the-price-point and slightly rundown decor, it's a fantastic choice. Personally, I'll save my money for McCrady's.
My husband and I ate at FIG last night with a group of friends, and the food and service were both phenomenal! They were more than willing to accommodate the size of our group, and did a great job explaining each item on the menu. We started with the Sheep's Milk Ricotta gnocchi, which had such a great flavor, and was prepared perfectly. My husband could not stop raving about the Strube Ranch Wagyu Bistro Steak, which he claimed was one of the best steaks he had eaten. We ended with a dessert of sorghum cake, with an amaretto ice cream, that came highly recommended by our server. He couldn't have been more right, as this dessert was heaven in your mouth.
Overall, wonderful experience! Our glasses stayed full all night, the food was original and full of flavor, and the service was impeccable. Can't wait to go again, and would highly recommend!
Great food. Great staff. Great atmosphere. Went here for dinner and plan on trying the lunch menu soon.
Absolutely one of the best restaurants in Mt Pleasant. Great menu, fantastic wine pricing, great service and modern decor.
Go try this place, you will not be dissapointed.
We went back on a weeknight, as last weekend there was a long wait at 9pm, and now I can see why.
Yuck! Awful all the way around!
I went here last weekend to celebrate a new job, and as such my girlfriend and I opted for the 6 course tasting menu with pairings. It was COMPLETELY worth it, and this would easily rate in my top three meals, arguably the best, I've ever experienced in Charleston (be warned... it's definitely at the top of the list from a total bill standpoint). The standout were a crab cake course and the dessert, which was a sort of sweet potato biscuit surrounding cinnamon apples sprinkled with toffee and whipped butter, but no course disappointed. The most interesting was an ahi tuna sashimi dish with a greek flair, including feta? and olives in the topping...
Our server's work was beyond reproach - knowledgeable and friendly without being overbearing in the slightest. The meal was well timed and perfectly portioned. With two amuse bouche courses (one pre-dessert) + a little celebratory chocolate at the end our six course meal was really more of a nine course feast, yet I left the restaurant feeling satisfied but not full, tipsy but not drunk...
With all the Husk's and other new restaurant parading across the pages of the City Paper and other's it's easy to forget the classics like Charleston Grill, but I'm very glad I was able to get a meal in here before moving away.
I've been to 17North at least six times, and I've never had an issue with anything there. The food is always great, our wait time was short, and our server was always friendly and attentive. Yes, sometimes it can be loud, but we usually sit outside.
Great in every way. We where very very pleased. Thank you!
This is a very talented and creative chef. The best in Charleston right now! This cuisine is not for everyone, but if you are a tru foodie...fanastic!
Stopped in without a reservation and they were nothing but accommodating. The food was AMAZING!! I was with my family and we all ordered different things. The mussels were fresh, hot and spiced with curry. The beet salad was excellent- warm roasted beets served with a chilled greens and orange segments. I had the blackened scallops- best I ever had and tried the Korean BBQ- melted in your mouth. We have constant visitors and I will be sure that they all get a chance to eat at Graze. Best new restaurant in the area. thanks.
Went for the 3-course restaurant week offering and was extremely impressed, from service down to the (much more important) food itself... If you're reading this before heading out there yourself this week... get the salad, antelope, and either the angel cake or the sweet potato creme brulee... You won't be disappointed!
I might check them out - but before I make the drive I'm waiting for their empty website to put up a menu.
Went for lunch today and was really pleasantly surprised! The food was delicious. The menu has so many great options, I had a hard time choosing. The decor is very modern and appealing. Service was outstanding. Overall I was really impressed and can't wait to go back. It is nice to have something in Mt. Pleasant that could compete with any downntown restaurant.
I got the pleasure to dine on the private opening night and it was excellent. My bride to be and I shared lobster mac and cheese which was to die for, shared a seared/blackened salmon salad which was very generous in portion size and topped it off with their crabcakes --> best around... no filler! The atmosphere was moder/classy with a touch of lowcountry and it was a very pleasant and comfortable experience....best new restaurant! Thanks Bradford and Mike. Cheers
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