My fiancé and I were very excited about trying this restaurant, as we were seriously considering using it as a potential rehearsal dinner venue. Our waiter was phenomenal: very friendly, knowledgeable, and made several great suggestions for wine. The appetizers were very good. My entrée, the salmon, was delicious. However, my fiancé's trout came out of the kitchen laden with salt. Neither of us ever likes sending back/complaining about food, but my fiancé has a very hearty appetite, so when he could only take three bites of his food, I knew it was pretty bad. I tasted it, and it tasted like salt water; you couldn't taste anything else in the dish. We told our waiter about this problem, and he assured us that the trout would be taken off of our bill, since it was inedible. However, the manager then quickly came out to our table and, astonishingly, told us that it was supposed to taste that way, and that we would have to pay for it. We were both shocked by how patronizing the manager was, and if he would have tasted the entree, he would have quickly realized the fish was dead from over-salting (we love salt by the way!! Just not when it tastes as if the salt shaker exploded on our food). The waitor obviously was embarassed, and apologized several times for the kitchen's mistake. Anyway, after that experience, we definitively decided not to have our rehearsal dinner there. It's too bad, because the rooftop is lovely. All it would've taken for me to give this place 4 stars and walk out of the restaurant happy was a comped trout, or at least a less salty one to replace it, even a simple apology from the manager. Instead, he acted as if we had unrefined palates (although that could've been true at that moment, since the salt prohibited us from tasting any other flavor the rest of the meal).
I never review restaurants. I work in F&B, and I also eat out a lot. I like to think that most places understand their strengths. We can't all be the next Sean Brock sensation or Mike Lata's next big thing, nor do we want to be. There's nothing wrong with being a cheap burger joint, or rocking out bar food, or consistently offering a pleasant surprise when we just aren't in the mood to go downtown. More importantly everyone has there bad days and we all deserve a pass or two. The only reason I felt the need to add my two cents is there are so many other "neighborhood favorites" that consistently put this place to shame and deserve the attention. Just to wrap it up in a neat little package; The service was SLOW, the chicken was dry, the shrimp was overcooked, the "seasonal" menu was riddled with GREEN tomatoes at the height of tomato season, the owners were overbearing, and the prices were demanding for mediocre food. So many other "neighborhood favorites" consistently deserve my attention; Glass Onion, The Lot, Wild Olive, Heart, Black Bean Company, Zia, Home Team, The Southern General, Smoky Oak, Fat Hen, Pick Thai, even the Sloppy Cow and Gene's (I love the pork chop sandwich). i guess a lot of folks live nearby and need an option but I'm keeping my standards, it's worth the drive.
Good atmosphere, below average food for the price.
In a word - inconsistent. I am a local, I have eaten here often. Sometimes its very good (never great) and sometimes its bad (and occasionally very bad). I have really enjoyed the wine and bar food, however, once made up a reason to leave in the middle of dinner it was so bad. Beautiful decor and good service but that's very normal for Charleston. When spending that kind of green I would go to Charleston Grill instead
Hmmm...I guess I don't see it. I think it's a generational thing about wanting to sit in a very loud room and scream at your companion 2 feet away. And then have some sort of "music" buzzing overhead like a drone about to strike.
The food was good, but I'm WAY over this "buy local" crap. Really? That's the new rallying cry? Based on the amount of non-local booze, cars, clothes, gas and about everything else that isn't made here yet robustly purchased, I guess someone needs something to hang their hat on. Freeing Tibet got boring so now they're on to Buy Local. I want to sit a line of non-local tomatoes and a local tomato next to each other and bet someone they couldn't objectively pick it out by taste. Unless "buy local" means buy it from a local person who imports their goods. In which case, buy my stuff. But I digress, the food was very good - no problem. By the way, the local tomato was divine, it made the meal. I detected a hint of Johns Island with the aftertaste of pluff mud and Carnival Cruise Line soot. The alcohol is being too cute, almost kitchy. If the idea is to be different - don't. There's a reason popular drinks are popular and a reason why Pabst is only served post "what's the cheapest beer you got?" being asked to a bartender by a beaming young man with his date in tow and hand full of crumpled up dollar bills and change. I watched a bartender artfully muddle berries for a good 2 minutes to make a drink. I slipped in and out of a coma during the process. Service - extremely underwhelming. I actually agree with Zoe on this one - it shouldn't take 4 trips. Silverware at least should be on the table already. Menus can be taken with the hostess while seating. Specials told by waiter, then water brought and dinner ordered during that visit. Maybe three trips if I'm not ready to order when he brought water. That's it - MAX. But they are very friendly there, I must admit.
And yes, I agree - I hate to admit it Zoe, you're only being friended because of your outfit/body. But being a woman, I'm sure you not only realize that, you exploit it. But I also have to admit, I guess I would too if I were you. Kudos.
We went for the first time during Restaurant Week. I wasn't prepared for dining in a cave so the first challenge was finding enough light to actually read a menu. I understand that at a bar you don't need bright lights because people are telling a bartender what they want to drink. In a restaurant, however, people need to read menus. Turn up the lights!
My spinach salad was a train wreck. It was supposed to have several components but all I got was spinach. The vinaigrette had no acid and the salt had just been thrown on and I got it all in one bite since I couldn't see what I was eating. My partner's lamb ravioli was cold on the outside and barely warm in the middle. The triggerfish and braised duck leg entrees were both excellent, but the desserts seemed like afterthoughts.
I'll give them another chance with greatly reduced expectations.
After not liking Queen Anne's Revenge since they opened, we went shortly after they changed their menu because we heard it was much improved. Wrong. Service was just plain abysmal. It took nearly 20 minutes to get drinks and the waitress reeked of cigarette smoke when she delivered them so it seems obvious where the delay was.
Of the six of us only one enjoyed her entree. My fish special entree was cold to the point the sauce had formed a skin. My partner's mixed seafood was tasty but salty, and the portion was tiny.
It has potential, but not so much that I want to go back.
The food here is bland and uninspired at best and the service is clumsy and disinterested. They seem to want desperately to be Mt. Pleasant's answer to Lucca, but they can't pull it off...
New Years Eve- quite disappointing
Went with the family on NYE (went last year and had a great meal), assumed it would be quite crowded, it wasn't (first alert).
We were seated and given a four course menu and told nothing of the menu. There were no prices and my wife was not informed over the phone that the menu would be altered for NYE. Noted on a table talker was information on a wine pairing with each course for $75 total (actually not bad). When we inquired about the regular menu, our server told us they were only serving this menu, but she would check if the kids menu was available. After several discussions, the chef agreed to a kids menu which we did not want, and also to allow the kids to order just an entree (no four course). As we sat, we noticed just about everybody coming in not knowing anything about the change in menu and most would get there menus and look at it puzzled, we saw at least one couple be seated and after several minutes and discussions leave. The owner finally came out and had the hostesses explain the menu upon arrival.
We should have walked when our gut told us too. Service for a non packed restaurant (which most time this place is quite packed) was pitiful, and noted not only in our table, but others around us. A table close by actually called the waitress over to order dessert during dinner. We opted for the wine pairing, the wine was gone before each course got to the table, but the worst was the dessert, 40 minutes after delivering our wine pairing no dessert, no server. Finally my wife went into the back and asked for it to go. No server apologies and we were thinking that table close by that ordered there dessert during dinner knew more than us, they had a better view of the server station in the back.
On the food, the prime rib was cooked right and tasty (was overcooked last year when they had their full menu), creamed spinach was watery and not up to par. Osso bucco was good but could have used more of the base sauce as it tended towards dry especially with the white bean accompaniment.
Overall, a failure for this usually solid restaurant. One suggestion is to put one of the herd of hostesses in the back to help bring the food out quicker.
It will take a while for this sting to heal.
Oh and if you did bring your kids to a nice meal on NYE, and they did want an entree, it was $30. ended up being $50 for the four course (w/o wine).
Brett has some work to do.
Food 3 stars
Service no stars
Color Me Disappointed...Just past Charleston National Golf Course lies 17 North Roadside Kitchen, Chef Brett McKee’s (formerly of Oak Steakhouse), newest innovation and a big disappointment at that.
If you don’t know where it is you run the risk of driving by it. The design of a “distressed” logo makes it difficult to read and see. But it’s not stopping people from coming, as the parking lot appeared to be somewhat full.
We had early reservations and were seated at a nice table by the window. The restaurant is deceiving. It’s much larger than it looks – about 80 tables including two dining areas and an outside patio. Parking is free, but tricky. I felt like I was parking at a church lawn fete as folks were everywhere! Be that as it may, we began our journey.
We were warmly greeted by the hostesses, although one was so inappropriately clad it made your head spin… Upon being prompted our waiter, Jonathan, said that he had been there about a month and that business was good. The waiters wear white long sleeve oxford (or similar), shirts and jeans, very casual. That’s where the confusion started for me. 17 North seems like it’s in search of a theme.
There are two moderate sized dining areas and a deck. The satellite music is an odd choice (Don Henley, Billy Joel, to name a few…) and LOUD, very loud. But the outside deck has live music. The restaurant is somewhat a mix of old and new (an oddly placed old fireplace mantel), and contemporary furnishings. Very odd. Props though, for the outside seating area which looked warm and inviting.
Now on to our meal… we started with a cocktail and a large bottle of Pellegrino. I had asked for plain water but since we were getting a large bottle, I decided to share. Imagine our surprise when we were served two bottles of Perrier. Our waiter explained that they were out of Pellegrino. I said that I would just have regular water. He then stated that he could only “ring it up one way and we had to have both bottles.” Hmmm, interesting.
We were quickly served warm, cheese and herb biscuits with honey butter. These small, bite size morsels looked great but had zero flavor – zip, zilch, not worth the calories.
We then split the gnocchi with duck and spinach appetizer. Five gnocchi swim in a small dish filled with delicate (not gamey) duck, spinach and great seasonings. But the gnocchi were more like packing peanuts than gnocchi. Jonathan explained that they were “quickly charbroiled” to sear in flavor. I am certain my Italian grandmother would have liked to know she was missing something in the gnocchi cooking process.
For dinner we decided to order each one of the two evening features - a filet and flounder special. To me, the specials of the evening usually represent “prom night” – the restaurant puts its best foot forward and they are usually very fresh. Two thumbs up for freshness, but the rest of the experience was a bust.
The filet arrived undercooked, very rare. The mashed potatoes were a #10 scoop (who thinks this is kitschy?) and cold. The four grilled asparagus halves were also cool, can they spare them, they have a garden out back! The worst thing about the meal (yes, after all of this), was that the steak tasted like it was cooked on a grill that needed to be cleaned. Bleech.
The flounder also floundered. Three nice pieces of flounder were grilled and placed over a bean succotash with lobster. Sounds inviting, right? That’s what we thought. The flounder was covered in black pepper, the succotash was tepid at best (a common theme throughout the meal), and the lobster was downright cold as it must have been added the very last minute. I get that, but really… The restaurant was not busy at all when we were there, could some attention been paid to our meals?
Perhaps the hype has been catching up with the chef. On a menu of 25 items plus side dishes his name is mentioned specifically on three dishes. “Brett’s Calamari”, “Brett’s Eggplant”, “Brett’s Whatever”. Of course they are his dishes, he’s the chef!! Were we to expect “Chuckie’s Calamari”? Seriously.
The biggest disappointment was the bill. The menu displayed on line is very, very vague. It does however, state that the entrees run between $13.00 - $19.00, which they do. At $25.00 and $28.00 for the tepid specials, we felt completely ripped off. The manager did obligatorily stop by to see how things were going – with zero eye contact and zero real interest, so why bother telling him what we really thought as he buzzed by our table?
So if you’re on 17 North, keep driving.
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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.
We had their breakfast buffet. All the flavors were off. Eggs, bacon, sausage all a little odd. Not reasonable prices.
We also had their desserts one evening. It was pretty good, reasonable prices.
Went over Memorial Day weekend and as a huge fan of Brett and OAK, I was very disappointed in the experience. We did not have reservations, so we expected to wait and were fine with that. However, when we did get seated (on the porch) it took our server an inordinate amount of time to greet us and we weren't given water or silverware until after we had placed our order. She was apologetic but said they were out of glasses and she had to wait for more to be cleaned?? Food delivery was erratic. We noticed tables that sat before us got their food before us and some that had been there longer still didn't have theirs when we got ours. The menu was appealing but pricey I thought for the portions. I went simple and got a burger which was good, but the side of mashed potatoes were cold and tasted as if they came from a box. Surely Brett would not allow add water mashed potatoes to be served in one of his restaurants??? I agree with earlier comments that this is a side project in sore need of more hands on direction from Brett.
decent service. one option for pescatarians and that was salmon...not very exciting choices. we also had a reservation and was not seated until 45 minutes afterwards with no apologies from anyone about the wait. will not go back unless something changes
The place looks amazing. The service and food, well, not so much. We went there for lunch (which might have been the problem) and the food came out cold and had ingredients missing. The chicken sandwich that was supposed to have boursin cheese did not, and the caesar salad that was supposed to have rosemary croutons did not. The bad part is the waitress didn't even notice. She wasn't that great either. Didn't really seem to want to wait on us which was frustrating.
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