EAT Online

Stay up-to-the-minute on local cuisine scene news and notes with our "Eat" blog at cuisine.ccpblogs.com (or find it by way of our blog link on our homepage). Jeff Allen has started posting regularly about stops he makes during the week, and I'll be including info about new restaurants and trends as I find out about them. Did you know you could post your own reviews of restaurants on our website? All you have to do is register, then you're free to share your thoughts and opinions. Currently, North Chuck's Sesame is getting lots of play, with readers arguing whether or not they have the best beef in town. What do you think? Let us (and everyone else) know. —Stephanie Barna

Passing from Jimmy to Moe, take 2

Once upon a time, a little key bar in the 'hood moved away and relinquished its space to Moe's Tap Room, which eventually evolved into Moe's Crosstown Tavern. Now, it seems to be happening all over again. After leaving its Hampton Park digs, Jimmy Dengate's took up residence down on Cumberland Street, near City Bar, where it served up great meat-and-three lunches and incredible all-you-can-eat catfish and shrimp deals. They kept their old crowd of regulars and attracted a whole new group of frat boys and port workers. But, alas, the era of Dengate's has finally ended. They've closed up shop and it looks like the guys from Moe's will expand, adding a second location in the new-old Dengate's. Boy, history is alive in this town, isn't it? —Stephanie Barna

So Long, Marie

Avondale neighborhood favorite Marie Laveau's will be shutting down in the next month and getting a whole new look and concept. Proprietors Jen and Michael Kulick stopped serving dinner last weekend, but will continue with breakfast, lunch, and brunch until Sat. June 2. At that point, they'll shut the doors for about a month to retool the space into the Uni Bar — a noodle and sushi bar concept, where the focus will be on premium sake, a make-your-own noodle dish menu (pick a noodle, sauce, veggie, and protein), and an Americanized twist on sushi (think buffalo fried chicken roll). "We're not going to try to compete with the established sushi bars in town," says Jen. "It's an Americanized version. We'll have some traditional sushi, but we're gonna have fun with it." They want to make Uni Bar a destination for premium sakes and martinis, too. "It will be a lot like Voodoo Lounge in feel," she promises, referring to the tiki-themed bar the Kulicks own a few doors down from Marie's. Jen says that while Marie's had great food, the costs were too hard to keep up with, especially without a bar to help bring in some cash. The Uni Bar will solve that issue and will serve lunch, dinner, and a late night menu until 1 a.m. Look for it this July, and in the meantime, get over to Marie's for one last duck club before it goes the way of New Orleans. —Stephanie Barna

I Scream, You Scream

You won't have to scream for ice cream come Tuesday night. Haägen-Dazs, the original premium ice cream, will be handing out free cones and scoops to anyone and everyone. It's a happy hour for the whole family. Stop by 43 S. Market Street between 6 and 9 p.m. and tell them your preference, then lick your cares away. —Stephanie Barna

Another John Marshall Protege

If you're looking for the best cooking school in town, you might go down to the brand new Art Institute campus on the Market or out to the Rivers Avenue digs of the Culinary Institute of Charleston, but if you want to see the real learning environments, where chefs earn their stripes with guts rather than books, you might find yourself standing in Al di La. Here they teach the old-fashioned way, with sweat, determination, and the kind of love that made your grandma's pot roast taste like no one else's. After five years in the school of John Marshall, sous chef Michael Scognamiglio is striking out on his own in the old Jilda's space in Mt. Pleasant with a restaurant called Bacco, opening mid-summer. Scognamiglio possesses no formal culinary training, holds a business degree from the College of Charleston, and credits Marshall with enabling his love of food and present success. He plans to stay true to the Italian roots of his Venetian-born father and his time tending the fires at Al di La while branching out to explore southern Italian cuisine in exciting new ways. If his food at Bacco achieves the same excellence as his previous work, Mt. Pleasant should be in for a welcome surprise. —Jeff Allen


Setting Up Camp On James Island

Charleston caterer and barbecue pit-master extraordinaire Jimmy Hagood will be expanding with Food for the Southern Soul, a food line that features an array of rubs and products like artichoke relish, stone-ground grits, Carolina Gold rice, jams, jellies, and coffees and teas. "Many people are familiar with Tidewater Catering, Blackjack Barbecue, or our individual product lines. What they don't realize is that we are in fact a family of brands all created with the same values and by the same hands," explains Hagood, who will be setting up camp in James Island, consolidating his family's culinary businesses under one roof. New to the fold will be "well-known Charleston Favorites and Rockland Plantation specialty lines." Visit www.foodforthesouthernsoul.com or call 762-9200 to place your order today. —Laura Zapp


McCrady's has sealed up its East Bay Street door and done away with the popular and trendy Lounge+Wine Bar. Instead of a hot meat market, the space will now serve as an intimate dining room on Fridays and Saturdays. On other nights, it will be available for small events and parties. If the description in the press release is any indication, the place is high-class all the way: "Entering the room, guests pass gently lit wine cellars under classic brick archways to find an elegant space of exposed English Bond brickwork, handcrafted embossed tin ceilings, and rich hardwood floors reflecting the glow of a radiant fireplace." I guess DJ Belk won't be spinning in the corner anymore, but that's OK: Sean Brock's food provides enough entertainment on its own. —Stephanie Barna


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