I finally made it into the peninsula to visit Craftsmen Kitchen, after a couple month wait for opening day. When you first walk in the door, you can tell there was a lot of money invested into design and decor. I really enjoyed the ambiance with the focus around a beautiful series of bars. There was plenty of space inside, and also an outdoor area with 4 large picnic tables.
The menu was very basic. One side had appetizers and smaller dishes. The other side featured more entree-like options. The waitress also gave us a large tap/bottled drink menu. My first thought, after glancing at the drink menu, was that it contained a lot of confusion. They tried to split things up by flavor profile, but didn't really get it right. There was a section for hoppy/IPA type beers, a section for local brews, a section for malt forward beers, and one other that I can't remember. The IPA/Hoppy section was fine, and featured many great brews. I am not sure there was a reason to separate the locals from the style based menu, as we didn't know exactly what flavor profile fit some of the local brews. The malty beer section was a complete cluster. There were pale ales (Hoppy), belgians, browns, and stouts all mixed in there. Those styles do not all fit the same flavor profile. I would have preferred them to not worry about style and just list all beers by brewery, or perhaps take time to separate by more than a couple flavor profiles. I didn't take time to check if most of the beers listed on the menu were actually on tap, but I didn't have any issues with my orders. The beer selection, while numerous, was not really impressive for a craft beer bar. It seemed like the had the normal basic offerings from many breweries, without carrying many seasonals or limited releases. I found it difficult to pick out a beer I really wanted to drink, but I am probably pickier than most patrons. I did like the option to have 8oz or 16oz pours, but I am not 100% sure the tumblers they use actually hold 16oz. The prices were a touch high, but that could be par for the course when you are a block from the market. The beers were served in clean glassware and seemed to be about the right temperature. My only suggestion there would be to use proper glassware for the style, but that is really asking for a lot.
Once we had a few drinks, we decided to order a few food items. We wanted to try two appetizers and a couple sandwiches. We ordered the Scotch Eggs (hard to find in the low country) and General Tso's Chicken Wings. The wings were really tasty, and they nailed the sauce. It was a nice mix of sweet and spice, and went well with the base crispy wings. The scotch eggs were not exactly what I am used to, but still very good. You only get one large egg, cut in half, so take note if you are sharing with a few people. My main course was the burger, which is made with house ground beef and some added pork belly in the mix. Pork belly makes for some delicious burgers, but also prevents you from getting a rare or medium-rare burger. It took quite a while to receive my burger, but we were in a large party. The burger comes with some thick cut fried potato rounds, but you only get 4 of these. If you are really hungry, it is better that you order more than just the burger. I did enjoy the seasoning on the burger, and would eat it again. I do wish there was more of a side with this. The other dish we got was the crispy pork belly sandwich. Basically, this is a piece of fried pork belly, between two pieces of toast, with a fried runny egg on top. I am not sure why the egg goes on top, as it makes the dish excessively messy. The belly was a touch overcooked, but the whole sandwich was still pretty good. This also cam with the small side of fried potato rounds.
Overall, I think this is a place worth checking out if you like craft beer. They are still very new and will probably be working on things like tap offerings and food. I think my expectations were a bit too high, due to years of drinking craft beer. I will likely return to see if they fall into a groove with food and beer selection. I wish them luck and much success. I am still happy to see another craft-centric bar in downtown Charleston, which covers a growing market of better beer drinkers.
Definitely think this event is overrated. We paid the $150 for each of us to be VIP, not to be confused with the VIP TABLE that was $1,000 for 6 people to have their own table. With the VIP ticket we were able to get a better liquor selection and access to the second floor. We were pretty excited for this event, but we were definitely let down. Last year we attending the Snyder Grand Ball right next store to the Hippodrome so I'm largely comparing my experience to the Aquarium's party.
-The imax area was very big and open which allowed for us to interact with friends without having to scream at each other while listening to a pretty good band
-The lines for drinks weren't very long, waited 5 minutes max for a drink
-Organization wasn't bad, waited about 10 minutes in line outside to get in. Pretty quick check in
-The VIP table members were taking seats from other tables and using end tables to sit on because there wasn't enough seating for the VIP table guests.
-The appetizers weren't very appetizing. I don't think warm deviled eggs go very well with whiskey. I was hoping for food a little more recognizable, not just slices of cucumber rolled up with some pinkish looking mayonnaise stuffed in it
-There weren't any tables or chairs to sit your drink on unless you went into the imax room in which case you can sit in those seats. But you're pretty much SOL for sitting down or having a table unless you get the VIP table
Next year we're just paying the $130 for the aquarium party where you get a much better selection of appetizers/food and seating available to everyone. I don't think the extra $40 was worth it for the VIP ticket. I'm not that picky with my alcohol and honestly, I would've been fine never stepping foot on the second floor. To me, it was an overpriced house party which we could've went to Red's for almost half of what we paid and got the same experience.
I've been to Condon's on a number of occasions, and find the food adequate, but certainly not Irish. The best thing about the place is the draft beer selection. Although expensive, it allows one an opportunity to sample beers from all over the world. The music at night is entertaining and peppy, but Condon's is definitely set up for the occasional tourist visit. It appears to be doing well in that regard.
I've been to this place 3-4 times in the last year. The food is actually pretty decent, but the atmosphere and service not so much. We go in there for dinner during the week when it does not seem to be very busy. The acoustics are terrible and the food is always slow to come out. I would go there more often for the food, but I just get annoyed with the lack luster service and too laid back attitude from the staff.
"Locals" place. Friendly. Older crowd. Some pretty decent pool tables but they shoot league a couple of times a week and it takes up all the tables so it might not be your first choice of someplace to go to shoot pool. Not the fastest bartenders in the world but they make do. Not much of a karaoke crowd but I think that's as much to do with the substandard karaoke system as anything else. Worth your time to swing by for a cold in the evening before heading off somewhere else.
Wow, glad you read my 2 year old review and the rest of them. I probably go to Foster's twice a month, so I don't think Craig would want me to stay home. Many of my early comments were in fact addressed. For a while, I thought the food was stepping up (had a cheesesteak sandwich special that was really good), lately it may have slipped a little.
I can usually find a decent beer here and the food is good. This place continues to be in my rotation. Is it a 5 star as you report, definitely not, but it is a good neighborhood pub with above average beer. I think Craig is a good guy, and the staff at the bar has always been friendly.
I give detailed honest reviews and don't throw 5 stars out at every place. City Paper does not define their stars, but most reataurant guides see 1 star as recommended. 5 is typically reserved for a place that you would drive 200 miles out of your way for (3 to me denotes good). Owners can use my free assessment to improve or not. If they improve, I will go back as is the case with Foster's. Some places are not geared towards my tastes, or do not care to be.
Highs: genuinely friendly staff, yummy burgers/sandwiches, jam-if-you want live music setup.
Lows: EXPENSIVE ($28 for sandwiches and tea for two), and it is a strange mix of "new" and "dive"
I liked this place; it is completely un-pretentious, the food was solid, and they have a nice outdoor setting. Draught selection looked good. They even have karaoke. But seriously too expensive in general.
I picked up a to go order today because I was at the Citadel Mall Target and it was convenient. I have eaten at Sesame before and it's been pretty good, but with all the burger places in town it isn't my favorite. Anyway, after driving to work with my burger, which I asked to be cooked medium, I took a few bites and realized it was raw. Charred on the outer 1/2 inch and on the inside it had the color and consistency of raw meat. I called and talked to the manager who was very nice and said he would refund my money. When I went back, the manager was friendly and accommodating, but the weird thing was that he said "they didn't tell you it was going to be pink throughout when you ordered medium?" This burger was in the "not cooked enough to be served legally" category as far as I'm concerned.
The food is okay but the patrons are awful. And if you chose to sit outside, prepare to be glared at by the waitstaff...
Up until recently I would have given the Pour House four stars. You have the best deck in Charleston. But the drink prices have increased enormously. King Street prices on Maybank Hwy? Did you think we were too drunk to notice? We weren't. Now we have to think about coming out. I do appreciate that you will now wipe off a dirty table instead of handing me the bar rag and the fact that you occasionally come around to collect empty bottles and plates does help to keep the flies away. $3 PBR $5 draft $6 liquor To quote Seth Meyers - "Really?"
Pro: Very good food and setting, interesting variety of food, reasonable drink prices, on-site parking, dog friendly
Con: Expensive food, service is inconsistent
We had dinner for five on a Saturday night. The weather was perfect, so they had all the bay doors open and the place had a good crowd. The wait was minimal and we moved right in. Their draught selection was good, though they were out of Dale's Pale Ale ($4) and had replaced it with Abita Lager to which our waitress made the appropriate "WTF?" face. Drinks came out fairly quickly, but that's where the problem started.
Our waitress would flee as soon as she put down something on the table, no matter if you called her, raised your hand, anything! Several tables around had a similar problem. That made putting in our food order take 10-15 minutes longer than expected. It was quite frustrating and persisted through getting the check settled. Previous visits during lunch time didn't have this problem.
The other problem is the food prices are quite high. $14 for a chorizo burger? They seem to be 30-40% over market on their menu. The food was good and both well prepared and presented. The buffalo burger, chicken kebabs (actually satays), black bean soup, and chef's salad all hit the mark. Their dessert selection was chocolate cake; evidently the bakery hadn't come through on-time with a delivery.
They also have a bocce lane and a big conversation circle outside which were great. I liked seeing the dogs welcomed though I'm sure that won't last.
It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. I can't think of a better way to describe our experience at Cypress.
Cypress is one of the three Hospitality Management Group Inc, restaurants (sister restaurants include Blossom and Magnolias) on East Bay. Parking is easy as there is a parking lot nestled between the three locations.
The restaurant itself is very pretty. High ceilings, an antique brick façade, colorful chairs, an open kitchen and a “wine wall” adorn the 1st floor. There is a second floor seating area that includes a bar, but we did not see it. Ceiling lights changed colors as we were there giving the room wonderful, warm hues.
The Best Of Times…….
Although the restaurant would become crowded after we were seated, it wasn’t crowded at all when we arrived. This lent itself to allowing our server to quickly approach our table. We ordered a few beverages and then began to pursue the menu selections. The menu is very interesting. There is a page that has your regular app’s, salads, entrees, etc. and a page that has “seasonal offerings” which included ‘Three for $39.00’ selections – appetizer, entrée and dessert. We liked the variety and the selections.
I was chagrined to realize that I had forgotten my reading glasses. This would have really slowed the ordering process… The server overheard me and mentioned that customers had often left reading glasses and so they had loaners that I could use. I took him up on his offer and it was a big plus.
We started with the Crab Cake over Creamed Corn, a Butter Lettuce Salad and the Charcuterie (House Cured Meats Plate). Chef Craig Deihl is one of only a couple Chefs making his own Salami and dried meats . Bar none, every dish was terrific. Our friend grew up in Maryland and is a crabmeat afficianato. She mentioned that her dish was one of the best crab cakes she’d ever tasted. The House Cured Meats were served room temperature which brought out the flavor even more. A variety of olives also garnished the dish. This too, was very nice. My Butter Lettuce Salad was “like budda”, but… the top core of the salad was very brown. How do you miss that? Brown-ness aside we thought we were off to a great start.
It was then that we began to wait awhile for our entrees. No big deal as the company was great. But I did notice that other servers were much more engaging with their customers than ours. They were making suggestions, explaining were the local products came from, etc. Our server was just robotic. "Oh well”, I thought, our appetizers were very good, so perhaps the entrees would be too.
The Worst Of Times………
This is when the fun came to a screeching halt. First of all, our server was nowhere to be found. Many runners brought our entrees. The plates were very warm and everything looked good. Alas, looks aren’t everything.
I ordered the Wahoo. On a dare the server couldn’t really tell me much about it, but it was the only fish dish offered. Two building-block-like pieces of incredibly bland, pan seared fish were served over a succotash concoction that included local beans. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more bland dish - bland and salty, very salty.
The guys ordered the filet that was topped with a house-made Boursin cheese. It was accompanied by boring, zero flavor fingerling potatoes and asparagus. I think our friend said it best when he said, “Had I known there would be a Tsunami of cheese I would have never ordered this.” The cheese completely overpowered the meat.
An “Oscar” version of a filet was also ordered. It came with some asparagus and this gross, burnt version of a large potato chip which was inedible. Each steak had a different degree of doneness although they were all ordered medium. All of the dishes were also very salty. Our server remained MIA.
We got through dinner OK and then he did arrive to see if we wanted dessert. I suggested some decaf and then we all passed on dessert. I had ordered the Three for $39.00 special and dessert was included however. So I asked for 4 forks so that we could all try it.
Tick tock, tick tock, time march on. No server and no cheesecake. Finally after we were on our second cup of not-even-lukewarm coffee we asked if the cheesecake had been forgotten. He said it was on its way. We watched then as he scurried around the kitchen. We started timing this and it was over 12 minutes before it arrived. This was on top of the first 8 minutes or so we waited.
And THEN the cheesecake was just awful. A small 1 ½” by 2” piece of ricotta cheesecake was served on a plate with three strawberries. It tasted like packing peanuts. But the absolutely horrid thing about the dish was it was topped with what appeared to be candied orange rind. We think that the pastry chef might have mistakenly used salt instead of sugar in making it. It literally made us all gag.
All in all, don't bother. There's plenty of other great restaurants in Charleston.
Make no bones about it, this is a destination restaurant. It’s out of the way and we needed our GPS to get there. Because the N. Charleston St. Patrick’s Day parade was in close proximity to the restaurant it was very crowded. Regardless, we thought it was worth the trip.
They have a beer menu of 60+ selections and their menu is extensive. Even though it is written on the menu I missed the fact that they “proudly serve Meyers Farm hormone free, grass fed beef.” And that it is ground in house daily. Sesame Burgers and Beer does many things to make your lunch/dinner special.
The menu includes Starters and Snacks, Salads, Sandwiches and a unique listing of Hamburgers, Turkey Burgers, Black Bean Burgers and Grilled Chicken served every which way from Sunday. And if that’s not enough they also offer 45 toppings for the sandwich that you select.
We were stumped as we looked over the menu and decided to order the “Fried Pickles” as a starter. These Iightly breaded spears were accompanied by Sesame’s homemade Ranch dressing (all of their dressings, sauces, ketchups, mustards, etc. are homemade…). If you haven’t tried something like this, you should. We ate them as if we had been on a desert island for weeks … while we continued to try to decide on lunch.
I landed on the Patty Melt. I am not a big meat eater but it sounded interesting being topped with American cheese, caramelized onions, house made mayo (which I asked to have on the side, and it was a no show), and spicy Coast beer mustard on marble rye.
My husband chose the Slider trio – a “Memphis” (house made peanut butter, bacon and banana slices), “Colorado” (grated sharp cheddar and house made chili) and the “Southwestern” (guacamole and chipotle sour cream).
Although the restaurant was packed, our lunch arrived very quickly. Unfortunately, it did not live up to our visit at their sister location at the Mall.
My hamburger that was supposed to be served “medium” was almost well done and with everything that was on it, was still very dry. The marble rye was somewhat charred (see picture) and had a burnt taste to it. And the house made mustard had such an overpowering flavor of horseradish that I even asked the server what was on the burger as I didn’t see horseradish listed as one of the ingredients. Again, the homemade mayo was a no-show.
The trio of sliders were good, but overcooked. Because they were topped with so many things it somewhat hid the fact that they were extremely dry and overdone.
Having said all of this we would definitely give “Sesame Burgers and Beer” in N. Charleston another try. Our first lunch at their Citadel Mall location was magnificent. Due to the parade and the crowd (there was a very long line when we were leaving), they could have been having an off day.
To see the video check http://diningaroundcharleston.com
first visit last night. food was good but honestly the ticket time on the food was 1.5 hours. yes, that's right, 1.5 hours. probably would have left under normal circumstances but was unable to do so on this particular visit. will not go back unless i hear they have fixed their kitchen problems.
The food was excellent, I had the rabbit. It was incredibly noisy though, and I was a little confused about the "fine dining" face of the restaurant, compared to the "sports bar" atmosphere of the bar. Maybe we just went on an odd night.
Admittedly this review may be a tad bit on the long side. There is just so much to say about Husk, that try as I might to make it manageable, it may not be. There, you’ve been warned.
We were excited to be having dinner at Husk with friends. One of our favorite restaurants in the city is McCrady’s where Sean Brock is also the chef. I was thrilled to see as reported by the Post and Courier that opening night was like a well-oiled machine, as there are usually a few speed bumps with a new restaurant opening.
Our reservations were for a Monday night. You would think that a Monday would not be that busy, but it certainly was. Nestled between the restaurants 82 Queen and Poogan’s Porch lies Husk. It is a beautiful conversion of a 19th century home with a “freestanding” bar in an adjacent building – also breathtaking.
After many ooh’s and ah’s (by us) we were met by a group of hostesses and quickly seated in a quiet room upstairs. The room had about 8-9 tables. The décor was also simple, yet extremely well done. There was no background music playing when we arrived, but that came on a little later and added to the atmosphere.
Our waitress, Kaitlyn, would prove to be the highlight of the night. She was personable, attentive, suggestive, and extremely well trained. She mentioned that she had one week of “sit down” training and then another week of “Friends and family” and local chefs for dinner as practice. When we asked how business was she stated that they have been sold out every night. No surprise here, this had to be the hottest game in town.
When reviewed the drink menu we were surprised to see wines categorized by minerals, i.e. “granite”, etc. It was very confusing. There beverage list also was a listing of classic Southern cocktails, also interesting, but not that inviting.
Kaitlyn was very helpful with the wine selections and when I went to order a Stoli Cosmopolitan (I know, passé), the Husk standard of “If it’s doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming in the door.” came into play. Kaitlyn explained that since they could not get a “southern produced” cranberry juice they do not serve it. She quickly enticed me with a classic southern cocktail, a “clover club”. Unfortunately her description was much better than the taste. It was also served in an old fashioned champagne glass. A different spin, but I found myself thinking that the drink was very small, like a Dixie riddle cup.
I would also mention that they were out of sparkling water and the soda water served with lime was rather flat. But hey, they’re busy, these are just small details.
Hot, fresh baked rolls topped with honey, a little salt and local benne seeds arrived right after the beverages did. They arrived in a small burlap bag (next to the Pork Rinds in the photo above) that we thought had to have something to do with grains, seeds, rice, but it didn’t. Kaitlyn explained that they are old coin bags from a local bank. I still don't understand how they fit with the rest of the themes, but they were definitely a conversation piece. Also served with some “flair” as the top was removed, was some orange butter. I thought the gentleman who delivered it said “honey butter”, but it was actually pork butter. Yes, you heard me correctly. Made from pork lard, homemade mustard, ketchup and hot sauce combo, certainly an acquired taste. Personally it reminded me of bacon grease and did not care for it. We all thought this was not a value add.
Our appetizers, HUSKpuppies and Fried Pork Rinds took 25 minutes to arrive. I thought “Ut-oh, no one else around us is eating either.” – Usually a sign of a kitchen in trouble. Both of the dishes were hot and flavorful, the puppies served with an interesting spicy dip. But I thought that they might have been a tad over cooked (the HUSKpuppies, that is).
Tick tock, tick tock, time went on. Forty minutes, yes, forty, after the delivery of our appetizers our dinners arrived. During the time we were waiting Kaitlyn made some idle chit-chat and then did the “missing (wo)man formation” and we didn’t see her. We didn’t blame her though, it appeared that Husk’s kitchen had stumbled, and we were right.
I also want to add that as we are waiting the table next to us is delivered what appears to be HUSKpuppies, only theirs are this wonderful light golden brown, and very appealing. I asked Kaitlyn what they were and she confirmed that our suspicion was right - we were served very overcooked, but tasty puppies. I had puppy-envy.
When our meal was delivered it was a big disappointment on many fronts. First, none of the items were hot. I mean zero, zilch, Zippo. I’m ok waiting a long time for a meal, but after the waiting, I want it to be great. The Duo of VA Lamb, Stew of Anson Mills Farro, Tomato and Courgettes with Green Tomato Jam appeared to be the most flavorful. The Wood Fired Keegan Filion Chicken, Potato Gratin and Bok Choy, Sage-Lemon Jus was served in a unique skillet, but as it was delivered it was tipped in some way that everything was pushed to one side and the details of the presentation were completely lost.
The Hagood Mills Cornmeal Dusted Triggerfish, Potato Puree, Red Mustard Glaze and LA Citrus Glaze was nicely cooked but the glaze was a very odd, shocking green overpowering sauce that took away from the meal.
The TN Foie Gras and Sausage Stuffed Quail with Cornbread Puree and Sea Island Red Peas, Apple Jus was not good. The quail was overcooked and the peas undercooked. I thought about sending it back, but knew it would be an eternity before we got it. The side of SC Lady Peas, Butter Bean and Tomato Succotash that we ordered for the table was undercooked and ice cold.
Kaitlyn checked back and we said things were ok. She apologized for the kitchen’s delay. We later would overhear her at the table next to us upon introducing herself that “Things had gone so smoothly every night, except tonight.” A gentleman (a manager?) stopped by our table and asked if our dinners were “to our liking”. None of us responded and he turned and walked away. Talk about a missed opportunity.
If the kitchen is going down in flames at a new opening, I get that. I’ve personally been involved in well over 100 restaurant openings and things often don’t go as planned. But I would have expected a much better meal service. If our meals aren’t great, heck, we’ve waited about an hour as it is, start them over and get it right. Let us leave with, “It took some time to get dinner, but boy, was it terrific.”
We passed on dessert and asked for our check. Kaitlyn explained that our drinks were being comp'ed because of our long wait. Comping two glasses of wine, a cocktail and a glass of soda just didn’t do much to make up for the long wait.
On the drive home we of course, talked about our experience. We said we would give Husk another try, but maybe after the first of the year when they’ve gotten their sea legs. Our review certainly won’t hurt them as people always want to give the hottest spots a try. Upon leaving at 8:30ish, there was a 90 minute wait – on a Monday night!! Poogan’s Porch and 82 Queen remained almost empty with parts of the restaurants darkened. For more on ths post visit us at http://diningaroundcharleston.com
This was OK because the food was bland. The tomato pesto soup tasted like crushed tomatoes, with very little flavor, yet still fresh. The risotto was not true to it's Italian roots, just tasted like firm rice with cream sauce and a few chopped veggies. I will say that the scallops were cooked just right, but the remainder of the dish was bland. On a good note, the atmosphere was nice and they had a great little trio playing.
OK, I know I'm going against the grain here because Sean Brock is so well-regarded, but I found Husk to be a challenge. The menu is heavy on pork, and if you like pork in its many forms you'll do fine. But I went with a friend and her husband and she doesn't eat pork so she was restricted to only one dish on the menu - a fish dish that was beautifully prepared and very tasty.
We were seated upstairs in an absolutely beautiful room. However, because the kitchen is downstairs, the wait staff has to carry your food up the main stairs with guests coming up (and back down) to be seated. It slows the service a little.
Also, the only bar in the restaurant itself is a service bar, so if you want anything other than the 4 types of vodka available at the service bar (which my friend's husband wanted), you have to wait till the server gets it from the full bar located in a separate building next door. It's a little strange...
On the bright side, if you are looking for a cool sports bar without having to go to far, then this is a great place to go. They have many tvs set up inside and out. As far as anything else goes, the food is terrible...they must rely on liquor and beer sales to stay open. Some of the staff and very friendly and like to have fun, but others are just kind of stupid and are only there to try and make a buck. If you are able to be there on a day when the owners are not drunk, then they are pretty nice guys and will do anything for their patrons, unfortunately, they are drunk about 90% of the time they are there. I will still go to have some drinks and watch some games, but I do not go there because I like DIG.
How can rue de jean be so good and coast consistently mediocre??? Great place for drinks, but I've never had an entree I really liked here.
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