We REALLY wanted to like this restaurant. We went in pumped up about them and ready to try out their lunch buffet. The buffet is the only option at lunch, and when we arrived, we found that there was very little selection. The meat choices - fried or baked chicken - (hope you like chicken!), with green beans, a "hoppin' Jane," and some sort of unidentified, dried up fruit dessert that was covered by paper towels to keep away the flies. The baked chicken was unappealing - it looked more like boiled chicken, with a grayish color - and the fried chicken was GONE. I waited over half an hour for the fried chicken to be replenished, and apparently, everyone else did, too. By the time it arrived on the buffet, I was too disgusted with the rest of my meal to even give it a try. My companion did, and said that it was the one edible thing on the buffet. The hoppin' Jane - a rice and lima bean mix - was a cold glob on my plate, but it was the only thing I managed to eat. The green beans had no flavor at all. I never salt my food, but I did that day. We left unsatisfied and still hungry. I have never been so reluctant to pay for a meal in my life. We had been hoping that this would become a regular on our restaurant rotation because it is close to home, but I wouldn't return to eat there if you paid me. SO disappointed. I don't want to give even one star.
Experiencing the buskers was one of the things that I loved most when I visited Charleston prior to moving here nearly 20 years ago, and one of the things I loved most about sharing the city with visitors as a tour guide. Having musicians in the City Market area gives life, REAL life, to what has otherwise become a glorified tourist trap. I never go to the Market these days unless I'm with out of town friends who want to see it. I miss the City Market that was a little bit dirty, a little bit rough around the edges. I miss the experience of hearing fiddlers on one corner, and a guitar and singer two blocks down. I miss feeling like it was a part of the city I live in, rather than a part of the city reserved for visitors. I miss the sense that I live in a city where visitors and locals can blend for a true experience of the place, rather than an artificial space created for the visitor experience only. There is a point where we go too far in gentrifying a city, and I think we have reached it.
I have told people for years - if I have notice of the last six hours of my life, I'm going to spend at least 4 of those hours eating and drinking at Charleston Grill. Hands down, the best culinary experiences of my life have been had there!
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