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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My husband and I tried Caliente for a meal and found it to be just okay. Our server was friendly and she started us with a basket of thick, fried corn tortilla chips. The salsa was very fresh but thin and heavy on the vinegar without any discernible heat. The wine was fair (fresh, generous pours) but the beer is overpriced ($5 for XX in the bottle!) The food in general was fresh but a bit bland. The shredded chicken in the puffy tacos was tasteless and the ground beef was seasoned very similarly to the rice, (I'm guessing sweet paprika and cumin). The black beans were a tad undercooked and lacking any seasoning at all. The servings are large, not that it is a good thing. I understand the concept - "a fresher/healthier" Mexican food. As for trying to be healthier - they miss the mark. I have been to authentic Mexican restaurants (not in Charleston) that offer alternatives to fried chips and more moderate portion sizes (and prices reflecting that). As for fresh - Caliente certainly is. As for taste - lacking.
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 $140 per person on dinner I expect to be wowed. I wasn't. I found myself comparing it to what Sean Brock, Craig Diehl and Robert Carter (formerly of Charleston Grill) were doing in 2006. They have long since moved on, but I find Chef Lata firmly rooted in the past. It's undeniably delicious, but as a culinarian it's just not all that interesting to me.
So if you're a foodie and you're looking for an inventive and inspirational dining experience, don't go to FIG. If you just want to have an excellent meal and can get past the too-casual-for-the-price-point and slightly rundown decor, it's a fantastic choice. Personally, I'll save my money for McCrady's.
My friends and I started our girls night out at husk last week, unfortunately we did not take the opportunity to taste we did spend sometime in the bar. I'm sorry to say the bartenders were not helpful in anyway shape or form. As I was waiting for the girls to arrive there were three bartenders at that time and I was completely ignored for what seemed to be an eternity. I was very thirsty! The handcrafted cocktails were good, I'm not sure they were 10$ good. Maybe if the bar service added quality to our experience I might think differently. I have reservations on the 23rd maybe the restaurant will get me warmed back up to husk again. I wasn't feeling the love in the bar. Positive is it's cozy and beautiful.
Basil chicken sounded good to me. Chopped chicken with onions, bell peppers, and basil over rice. At first I thought they had sprinkled chopped peanuts on top of everything but it was the chicken and vegetables. Their version of chopped is more like minced. Tasty but I could have left my teeth at home.
Service was horrible!!! Waitress waste ice all over my 2 year old. Had to ask her for a fork 4 times before she finally brought one back. The cook decided to include my 2 year old in the food catch game ( WHY??? SHE IS 2) while popping her in the face with the uncooked zucchini . Food was average.. nothing to do cartwheels over. Vegetables weren't cooked well, as well as receiving them last ( which isn't normal for any hibachi restaurant I've ever eaten at) Ginger sauce was extremely watery. My salad wasn't anything but chopped iceberg lettuce with a glob of ginger dressing. Although the Miso Soup was better than any others I've tried. My Sushi wasn't good. It was not prepared well at all. went to pick it up and half of the cucumbers fell out. The taste wasn't amazing either.
A few months ago I went to Montreaux for lunch. The place was empty and it took a very long time to get our meal. I was pleased to see that there was a booth at Summerville's Taste of the Town last weekend. The food was good and they were handing out coupons for lunch specials.
Today my partner and I stopped in for lunch. Again the restaurant was empty at 1:00 pm. I noticed the specials on the board walking into the restaurant. They were not listed on the interior of the restaurant. We ordered the special, the meatball sub. Had I the opportunity to study the special, I would have skipped on it because it came with a side of pasta, which was tasty but I try to avoid starch when I can. I mention it because it seemed that they must have had to boil fresh water for the pasta, because it took over 20 minutes to get our food. I ordered the special because I figured it would be quick. The portion size left much to be desired. It was a $8 6 inch.
We sat at a table and were served by the bartender who was very friendly and attentive. Given that she was the only server, I concluded that I was mistaken in believing that the restaurant had seriously committed to a regular lunch business. Another gentleman came into the restaurant and got his order much quicker than we did. Apparently I should have ordered a quesadilla.... I want to support local businesses but I do not have the time to risk another slow service at Montreaux anytime soon.
Love the fried mushrooms! Do think some of the girls need to check themselves before they put those shorts on though...
I ate there once: hated it. I gave it a second chance: the food was mediocre but the service was horrendous. I gave it a third chance at the bar this time, beautiful bar, but the fish wasn't fresh (I'm a chef, and I could definitely tell). I couldn't believe I gave it another chance, and it was perfect. I'll go there again because I like the bar and the sake sangria. However, one good out of four tries, means two stars.
Zen definitely doesn't look as pretty on the outside as it does on inside. I thought it was going to be crappy at first, but when I walked in the doors, I was very impressed. Beautiful decorations and awesome ambiance, definitely a lot of money put into it. Service at the bar when I've been there has been awesome. But when I've been sat at a table, I seem to have gotten horrible service every time. It took my server forever to get my check out to me and to refill my drinks and one time they forgot my alcoholic beverage. As far as the food goes, pretty decent. I would definitely stick with the "Thai, and Chinese" when going to this restaurant because I definitely don't think their expertise is in the sushi area. My sushi always falls apart when I get it, and my yellowtail looked a little brown and not fresh when I got it last time. Definitely WAY TOO PRICEY for the food! The decorations on the plate are pretty and all, but the prices need to go down a lot. I think this is driving people away from the business. Just an "ok" for me.
I am NOT an employee of this restaurant. (just sayin") Party of 3 seated near the back of the House. Service was lackadaisical at best. Same bar-food as half a dozen other places in town at half-again their prices. And mid-meal at about 9:30 on a Saturday night kitchen staff almost knocks me off my chair with the trashcan full of kitchen debris he's dragging through the dining room to take outside. Real High-class Joint. Told this story to friends, couple of them went to verify, seated at the bar, same experience as me but the trashcan toting kitchen staff was replaced by a smart-ass bartender.
Don't get me wrong, the food is good, if vastly overpriced, as are the drinks, but management needs to be taught how to train their staff.
Started off well but now just a regular sports bar. You won't find a single bar like this in Ireland. This could have been a great place for the family but it isn't. You can't hear a word anyone is saying. Such a disappointment as the area really needed a good place to eat.
I don't know what happened to this place. I used to eat there all the time about 6 years ago when I was first in Charleston. It was usually my first pick for pizza, as the bar crowd was usually pretty good, and the pizza was a great value for the taste. I went back with my family when we first came back to Charleston. It was terrible. I let the manager know about it, he allowed me swap out for a steak sub. I was willing to take another chance on them, as any one can have a bad one (especially with the volume MM produces). Different night, same result. The pizza, the cheese in particular, had a sour taste to it. Just not good at all. I gave the pizza away (and paid for it), and went and got a burrito. I'm not sure if it's the corporate expansion or cutting corners, but this place has gone downhill.
I would have to agree with the last review. My family and I ate there about a month ago, and the servers were great, nice people willing to stand on their head for you, but the kitchen wasn't backing what they were selling, and the prices were on the high side, even for brunch. The view is great, and the people are nice, but I came for the food. My wife had some sort of shrimp that wasn't de-veined, and my eggs were lacking in, well, doneness for scrambled eggs.
I have heard a lot of mixed stories about Social and so I went there the other day to test out the place. I went with my girlfriends and the atmosphere was very urban. There were people crowded around the bars and the lights/art was impressive.
The service was horrible though. There was a tall blonde hostess who spilled water all over me and didn't even apologize. She kept walking back and forth stomping her feet, scrubbing tables in front of guests with a dirty rag, and looked like she detested her job.
The food was pretty good but nothing special or fancy but the drink selection was great. Lots of different wine selections! I would skip the entire food/meal part and go mingle by the bar. Also, avoid that tall blonde hostess!
Nice place inside. Been there three times. Home chips are good. Brie appetizer is good. We've had three entrees and all were really bad. Corned beef and cabbage. Oh man! They served me a pile of deli meat on overcooked cabbage. Not at all what I expected. For the price I was charged, I was expecting real cooked corned beef and cabbage not something thrown together from the deli counter. Gave them a second chance. Unfortunately, the french dip sandwich was MUCH worse. Au jus tasted like it came from a can. The little bit of meat was dry and crumbly. Sorry but it was really, really bad. Husband's pizza was awful, too. In this area, you HAVE to cook great food if you want to continue serving food. There are just too many great restaurants to choose from.
Oh, by the way, the entire time we were there tonight, not one smile, not one thank you from the staff.
Two beers, home chip appetizer, an individual pizza and a french dip sandwich with 3 tablespoons of french onion soup for a side cost us $38.73 before the tip.
And we were so very excited to get a neighborhood pub. It will only be snacks and beer for us from now on.
WAY WAY overpriced for so-so food. I dunno, I really want to like this place. Its close to me, there are always cuties everywhere. Its always crowded with college kids!? Maybe they dont know better, or maybe they dont card them there, I dunno...I dont get it. Its a cool atmosphere, but the food is not the greatest, and again, its overpriced.
Just keepin' it real.
I feel kinda bad because I have written so many bad reviews of eateries recently, but this is actually what prompted me to review. I had a yucky meal at Sermet's the other night, however, they did make it right. The short of it is, is that I ordered the Calamari, and it was absolutely dis-gust-ing. My friends said it was good, but even she took a bite and said "wow - whoever cooked this is really off tonight" It was bland, chewy, and tasted old and frozen.
I then ordered a main course, which I did not like either. There was rocky sand in the vegetables, seriously. In the end, the waitress comped the food, which I didnt ask for, but which I thought was appropriate. I wound up tipping her what the food would have been anyhow, because I thought it was right to do that. And she was nice about it.
I would go back, yes...I somehow sense that this was an off night. Maybe a line cook who broke up with his GF, or who is just having a shitty day. It happens.
Nice hot, toasted bread, good olive oil. Nice cocktails. Cute hostess (tho she could smile)
Just keepin' it real.
Oh and I just read the review by Rokko...its interesting that this person also thought it might have been an "off day" as well. hmmm
I had pretty much the same experience as MassGirl4
Good atmosphere but overpriced for mediocre food. This place does extremely well because the concept is great, but this place wouldn't last a month in Houston. Of course they are making so much money they have no incentive to get better.
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