Great happy hour with great sushi and cocktails.
In a blink of an eye it seems new restaurants are cropping up all over the area. Opal Restaurant and Bar is one of the newcomers and it deserves its’ just due.
We went to Opal when they were open just three weeks and I must admit I was impressed. Although I found the dining area to lack warmth and energy in its décor, the entryway is just spectacular. If Chef Patrick Owens and the Opal Dining Group wanted a “wow” factor when you enter, they hit the mark without question.
We made reservations and I wondered if we actually needed to. After all, it was a new restaurant in Seaside Farms shopping center and not too widely publicized. Thankfully we had the reservations after all. When we arrived there was already a 45 minute wait for tables and it was only 6:30 p.m.!
We were quickly seated and our server immediately approached the table. He was intimately familiar with the menu and told us that he also worked at Langdon’s, which is this restaurant’s sister concept. A recent local article about Opal stated that the “menu changed daily”. I thought this was an aggressive approach to a new restaurant opening. It was the same plan that Sean Brock had with Husk and when we dined there during the first few weeks our entrees took over an hour to hit the table. I hoped that we would not experience the same thing at Opal.
As we looked over the menus it appeared I had a different menu that the other three folks at our table. The server quickly explained that I had “last night’s menu” and replaced it with the correct one. But get this… The “changing menu” only had one item changed. The fish entrée that was on the menu was switched from flounder to mahi mahi. Hmmm… interesting.
We started with 3 appetizers. It’s unusual for us to order dinner and appetizers, but things looked very interesting. The Heirloom Tomato, Basil, Purple Onion and Valdeon received rave reviews. The tomatoes were incredibly fresh and tasted as if they were picked that afternoon. The Salad of Local Herbs and Lettuces with Fresh Ricotta and Tomatoes was scooped up in a New York minute - again, a fan favorite.
My Spicy Local Shrimp Bruschetta with Chiles and Garlic could have been a meal in of itself. Two very large toasted slices of crispy crusted bread were topped with heavenly, perfectly cooked, spicy shrimp. Reluctantly I shared it. But when I go back to Opal this appetizer is definitely on my repeat list.
Our entrees were perfectly timed and served piping hot. Two diners ordered the Sweet Bay Acres Crispy Chicken Breast with Arugula, Heirloom Tomatoes, Fennel, Prosciutto and Vincotto. The gents thought this dish was superb and I had a hard time bartering for a taste. The Seared Diver Scallops, Brunoise of Local Zucchini, Tomato, Corn, Israeli Couscous and Brown Butter was a big win. Usually someone that eats half of her entrée and takes home the other half finished this - hands down!
When ordering my entrée of house made Tagliatelle with Pork Sausage, Broccolini and Marjoram our server told me that it was not a “large portion” (pasta prices ranged from $15 - $17), and he was right. My dish was the smallest of the entrees and unfortunately the most disappointing. The pasta was a bit mushy, which I could tolerate, but the dish overall was bland and lacked flavor.
I would say though that like Langdon’s this restaurant is a bit pricey. We were interested in the Charcuterie & Cheese but one small sampling was $5.00 and it went up to $41.00 when the offer was increased to 12. We saw this delivered to another table and based on the portion sizes it seemed overpriced. I can’t speak to the flavor because it looked great, just expensive.
Despite my pasta snafu we still managed to leave the restaurant very full and plan to return. I was very impressed that despite only being opened three weeks the restaurant ran like a well-oiled machine.
My wife and I went to Dublin Down this past Saturday and were pleasantly surprised by the food and the service as well as the authetic pub atmosphere. Its been a long time since we were greeted as early and often as we were from various members of the staff that night...on the way out, we were stopped by one of the owners who said "thank you so much for stopping here tonight...we really appreciate your business"...there was no doubt that he meant what he said. Hopefully, this one will be around for awhile.
Two words: pollo ranchero. This is a real meal. I can never order anything else at Santi's. Moist and savory 1/4 chicken comprised of traditional dark meat dripping in spicy ranchero sauce and accompanied by rice, guac salad and those delicious refries. Try it, you'll like it.
Better than average pizza, pricey beer ... Not five stars but a good four on their better days.
I've been to all three O'Brion's, and have enjoyed my experience each time. They have a great beer selection, attentive staff, and great food. Awesome place to watch the game!
Enjoyed the live music, food and beer. Dog friendly place with very friendly staff, we will certainly be back.
been there twice for dinner and once for drinks, friendly staff and cool atmosphere. The tables have got to go, they are horrible and the fried rice has been cold everytime i've eaten there but other than that I really enjoyed the place. It's great to have it up on spring street and I will certainly be back for more. As far as the pricing goes, it's not as cheap as advertised but i still got out of there under $25 for a dinner for two so i'm not complaining.
Had dinner there tonight. I called ahead for reservations but got the machine... undeterred we walked up around 8:30 and got a seat immediately. The decor is very classic, old-city European. The lighting is candelight-toned and just made the place feel good. Yes it is dim, but I had no problem discerning the menu or any parts of my meal... but different strokes and all that.
The service was very attentive throughout the meal, from the host/greeter to our server Abby to the expediter. We never felt ignored but also not smothered. The wine list looked thorough, but I didn't really peruse it, opting instead for a single-barrel bourbon to go with my octopus appetizer. The complimentary foccacia came with a dash of very fragrant olive oil on our bread plates, but most of it was dedicated to the arrabiata sauce on the octopi.
That dish was done perfectly. I loved it... the texture, flavor, and presentation all hit the high notes. If you don't like many-legged invertebrates, it probably wouldn't be worth it, but if you do you might appreciate how difficult it is to cook them and maintain a tender feel. Yum and double-yum.
Our server was quite patient with our request to order entrees after we'd gotten into the appetizer. We had the artichoke ravioli (in a cream sauce that was pretty much a guaranteed winner) and asparagus soup. The meal was consistently delicious and well-presented, with the different textures in both dishes presenting clearly but harmoniously. The temperatures for everything was ideal, right down to the water, so clearly a better experience for us than some.
We had a nice long chat with Abby after dinner and it was nice to get more than the "schmooze until they tip" level of interaction. The bill was very reasonable, and would have been more so had I resisted the temptation for a big ol' glass of Kentucky's finest. Definitely a quality addition to Upper King, and a place that I will recommend to my friends.
I have eaten at Zocalo five(5) times and am really looking forward to going back. I love the menu, the food and the prices. I live at Folly and would drive 30 minutes to eat at Zocalo before I would go 2 minutes to Taco Boy. There simply is no comparison. I have read reviews by those who feel the prices are too high. Now I do not know about the alcohol drinks, because I do not drink, but I find the amount of food you get for the money almost unbelievable. Zocalo is an asset to Park Circle. See you soon!!
Been there twice in the last two weeks, first with a big group for a business occasion, went back this week with a friend because the first visit was so good. Seems they've changed their menu, it's smaller, but I think they're focusing more on quality than on quantity of items. Both times, the service was really good - the wait staff was attentive & knowledgeable, but not in your face. Sometimes with a big group it's not as great as when you're with a smaller party, but they were good & really welcoming. They were even willing to change a few things, & all the food came out quickly. With the big group, had a bunch of appetizers, all of them were really good, especially the edamame & spinach dip. They have some great sushi, some of the best we've had, some were kind of spicy, excellent. With my friend, we shared some of the small plates, the tuna was a bit overdone, but the hanger steak was delicious, also more sushi.
We also had a few of their specialty drinks, the Thai Basil Lemonade is great - pretty creative. AND, the outdoor patio is awesome - this place will be on our list of favorite restaurants.
Had dinner on Friday with my fiance. Loved the interior and the very reasonably priced wine list. We had 5-6 of the tapas and the chicken and chorizo paella. The only slight disappointment was the patatas bravas, which were basically french fries with a blank sauce. However, the rest of the food items we ordered were delicious. This is the first tapas place I've gone to in Charleston that actually serves true Spanish tapas, not just anything in a small plate size. We will definitely be back!
My fiance and I have eaten at Zocalo several times and love it! The presentation is great, food's even better - the salad with jicama, pickled onions, and avacado is wonderful, as are the other dishes we've tried. I'm so glad to have an authentic Mexican place in the neighborhood, and look forward to summer margaritas on the patio with live Latin music!
Best lunch on DI, hands down. Reasonably priced considering the portion size (I took half of my huge $13 sandwich home!) They always have some rare beer on tap.
Definitely the burgers are awesome! I ordered two, one for there, one to take home (the yank, the hot shit) and both were awesome and juicy. I like mine pretty rare, and it was cooked wonderfully. However, another member of our party ordered a medium rare and it came out lookin fresh outta the grinder. They took it back graciously though and fixed him a new burger. I was impressed by the beer selection, though I admittably don't know much about that...It was loud and busy and the waitstaff was only okay, but it's a burger and bar joint - i expect that sort of environment. The hostess was a little flighty, and the to-go burger was plainly forgotten about - but they got it straight to me. I would def go back, and rank it as the best burger place I've tried yet in the area, though the service could use a slightly happier personality.
I've eaten at Zocalo three times since the soft opening and in general I'm impressed both with how together they were at the opening and how they've improved on any initial qualms I had. The addition of Steve Davidson (sp?) in the kitchen is noticeable. The interior decor is very adult and terrific for an evening out with friends. The patio, Like JoshL725 pointed out, is going to be awesome this summer! I look forward to them adding more in the non-meat realm but it is already pretty damn good.
One of my readers suggested that we try Halo, a restaurant on Ashley Avenue across from MUSC. My readers haven’t steered me wrong yet, so we decided to give it a go.
Parking can be a little challenging for this restaurant, but the parking gods were smiling on us and we found a metered spot a few streets down from the restaurant.
On the way to ordering we ogled the glass covered “jewel box” of fresh made pastries. I could see one of these treats was going to be in my immediate future. My husband went up to check out the upstairs seating while I stood in line to order.
Although it wasn’t very busy (we got to lunch very late), the ordering process took awhile. There was one cashier who is very helpful, but because there were a lot of options, i.e. breads, side dishes, etc. each customer was asked and given all of these options, which took some time. There could probably more efficient way of doing this that I believe would help to drive traffic and sales.
After placing our order I headed up to the great outdoor table that my husband had found. Once you place your order you’re given a small plastic number that stands on your table. Your food is then delivered to your table. We waited for lunch and watched the world go by…….
If I had one complaint it would be that our lunch took a long time. For a not-so busy restaurant it took almost 20 minutes for our lunch to arrive. BUT… when it did arrive it was well worth the wait.
The menu consists of the baked goods that we first saw, 3 soups, 8 salads and 24 sandwiches. Their breakfast menu (7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.), looks very interesting and we can’t wait to go back and try it.
During our wait we munched on the blueberry scone that we’d ordered. I have worked with a very large bakery café chain in the past and I thought I knew scones. This was the most un-scone-like scone that I’ve ever eaten. It was moist, light, and airy and the blueberries tasted like they were picked that morning. I’d go back to Halo just for that!
I ordered the Quesadilla Salad with Chicken. I thought the item sounded interesting. I really didn’t know where the chicken was going – on the salad or in the quesadilla, and found out that it comes in the quesadilla. A large, hot quesadilla was served atop a pile of greens and fresh accompaniments – diced tomato, carrots, banana peppers, and black bean and corn salsa. All were very fresh. Although the mixed cheese and pretzel roll advertised with the salad did not make the trip upstairs to our table, I would not have known they were missing until I reread the menu this morning. The salad was very good, but I didn’t care for eating out of a plastic clam shell with plastic silverware as if we had taken the item to go. Despite these few pet peeves, the salad was a winner.
When we go back for lunch I’ll be trying the sandwich selections. My husband’s “Brickhouse” sandwich came out cut in half and stacked at least 4-5” high. The side dish was the pasta salad of the day, which was as he put it, “Not their specialty.” He didn’t seem to mind, since the sandwich was terrific.
Served on a nice, fresh Ciabatta roll (they were out of multigrain bread that the sandwich is usually served on), thinly sliced roast beef was topped with a heaping serving of crumbled bleu cheese, roasted red peppers, red onion and pesto. All I kept hearing was “You ordered the wrong thing, this is great!”
Upon leaving one of the employees (a manager perhaps?), asked how everything was and said that he was pleased that we enjoyed everything and invited us back. And back for a visit we shall go.
My husband and I stopped in during Design Walk. We took advantage of the special offer of a free sampler plate when we bought two glasses of wine. The wine list was fantastic and reasonably priced. Everything on the sample plate was great. The house made mozzarella was rich and delicious, the olive oil cured anchovies were surprisingly good and not overly fishy, and the cured meats were great. The Kobe meatball was a bit dry, but they are aware of the issue and are working on it. They'd only been open two days and it was free, so I'm not going to hold one it against them! By this time the torrential downpour had started so we decided to get another glass of wine and try more food. We selected the duck confit over ravioli in a mushroom cream sauce. It was unbelievably good. Also, the bartender recommended an absolutely perfect wine pairing for the dish. All in all, we were happy we had stopped in and had such a pleasant place to ride out the rain. We will definitely return.
i disagree my food was really good and the portions were fine, the one thing i will say the host told us there were no seats available inside, only 3 tables were being used, and only had outdoor seating, it was pretty cold outside (getting caught up on my reviews), and when we left there were still tables that had not been touched, so that didnt sit well with me, but whatever still had a really good meal
Neil's serves stellar steak dishes and the service is terrific. The wine list is appropriately varied and reasonably priced. Every time I've dined there, the bar area is lively - looks like a great gathering place for locals in the 17 North area. It's also really nice that Neil himself usually stops in at your table and checks on your meal.
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