Red Drum has traditionally been more of a scene than a restaurant. Recently, however, they have changed course and now offer some of the best food, if not in Charleston, at least in Mt. Pleasant, and at a reasonable price. It's important to note this change, because if you've been before, you owe it to yourself to try it again.
Old Red Drum: Whose Porsche is parked out front? Food is ok. Atmosphere a little stuffy. Check seems very expensive. No, seriously, that's a nice Porsche.
New Red Drum: The economy gets blamed for messing up a lot of good things. There are a few restaurants in town, however, that have had to really improve their quality to stay relevant now that their real estate agent clientele have left and they're having to cater to people with discerning tastes. Red Drum is a prime example of this (also Cypress). When it came time to sink or swim, they learned backstroke.
It is possible to get a great dinner here, both on the cheap or going all out. The pork tacos are bargain priced but pack a real punch of flavor. The fried local shrimp are similarly priced, and are done right. Give me those two on a plate with one of their mojitos or margaritas, and I'm happy and only out 20 bucks.
For the finer dining side, the pork chop is one of the best in town. It's better prepared than Brett McKee's 17 North chop, although it lacks 17 North's delicious smoke. I'll call it a tie, and for anyone that knows to pick a good pork chop over an OK steak, you need to try Red Drum's. Speaking of steak, the hanger with frites is a great example of meat and potatoes at its finest. The scallops are also a solid choice and well prepared. The wine list is good and, while not cheap, reasonably priced.
Even if it's only to try the pork chop, it's worth another visit to see how a bad economy can make a good restaurant.
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Hear, hear! Michael really is one of the best little known chefs in town, and that's saying something with the competition in Charleston. His food certainly reflects his talent and the considerable time, care, and pride he puts into it.
B: I'm not going to say this is the "best" restaurant in town, however one might judge that, but it is my favorite.
The spaghetti bolognese is so incredibly simple, and yet one of the most sublime dishes at any restaurant in town. The perfectly made tomato base, with a generous compliment of rosemary, makes this dish more than one would ever guess from reading the menu description.
The pork osso bucco is my latest discovery on the menu. Come hungry, because the sauce assures the waitress will have to pry the plate from your hands.
Of course, this assumes you manage to order off the menu, a difficult feat given the tempting and daily changing specials board (typically K's favorite option).
Amazing. This is definitely the most original (and best) sushi restaurant in Charleston.
They have flat screen TVs on a closed circuit feed with a camera over the chef, so you can watch him prepare your sushi, which is an interesting touch. They post pictures and packing slips for their fish, so you can see what seafood they bought, where, and when. This was what impressed me most, until we tasted the food.
We have eaten sushi at Tsunami, Wasabi, Oriental Garden, and several of the japanese steak houses (Miyabi, Nakato, whatever they're all called). The seafood at Haru is fresher, they have more interesting offerings (live scallop, Toro), and tastier roll combinations than anywhere else in town.
I compare most sushi to West Coast restaurants I've eaten at in San Diego and San Francisco. These places know sushi. And so does Sushi Haru. I have only eaten at one or two better sushi places in my life. If Haru added Kobe to their menu, that number might drop.
In particular we love the Maui, No Name, and Tuna lovers rolls (this is the best roll I have ever eaten, anywhere, period). Their toro is very good, much better than Tsunami, and while not quite up to par of my favorite San Francisco restaurant, certainly a treat. Their live scallop is the same: better than anything else in Charleston.
If you appreciate good sushi, or would like to try the real thing for the first time, this restaurant is truly in a different league from anything else in Charleston.
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