Look to the left and you'll see a big, fat slice of Hominy Grill's chicken pot pie. I've had this chicken pot pie only once, years ago, when it was a special on the day I happened to show up for lunch.
It's inevitable, of course. Change.
Food is a complex social mechanism — it embodies emotions, places, and times, conjuring up memories of the happiness and love that were served up by grandma at her weekly Sunday supper. The food that we associate with family and friends and special moments can hold rich meaning.
Soups are a perfect default dish. You can nibble on one when you're not really that hungry, have a cup to kick off a meal, or relax with a luxurious bowl in a nice bar with a good glass of wine after a tough day at work.
Food scenes have a tendency to be dominated by a handful of celebrity chefs and powerhouse restaurants. In Charleston, we benefit from the talent and star power of a couple of Bobs, who reign supreme at two of the best and most popular restaurants in the area (that's Bob Waggoner of Charleston Grill and Bob Carter of Peninsula Grill, in case you were wondering).
I have never been comfortable with the term "comfort food." As an aspiring chef, I thought there was something unglamorous or too workaday about the term.
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Food criticism comes naturally to just about everybody, doesn't it? We know what we like and what we don't, and most of us are willing to share our opinions with our friends and family.
11 Center Street Folly's 11 Center Street fuses good food and good scenery for an enjoyable experience at Folly Beach.
Angelfish Cake American/Eclectic - Casual Entrées $5-$10 James Island. 915 Folly Road.
Atlanticville American/Eclectic - Upscale Entrées $15-$20 Sullivan's Island. 2063 Middle St. 883-9452 Dinner and Sunday brunch It's always nice to eat on Sullivan's Island it's like a little vacation in the middle of the week.
Basil Asian/Indian Entrées $10-$15 Downtown. 460 King St. 724-3490 Lunch and Dinner When Basil first opened, it literally became an instant smash hit, and the downtown eatery shows no signs of losing its touch.
Bagel Nation Bakeries/Bagels Entrées $5 and under Mt. Pleasant. 1909-B Hwy 17 N. 881-1462; James Island.
AC's Bar and Grill Brewery/Pub Entrées $5-$10 Downtown. 467 King St. 577-6742; Mt. Pleasant.
Avondale Station Caribbean/Creole/Cuban Entrées $5-$10 West Ashley. 828 Savannah Hwy. 377-1300 Dinner Avondale Station is a fun addition to the hip Magnolia Drive/Hwy. 17 area of West Ashley, which has long been home to Gene's Haufbrau and, more recently, Al di La. The renovated auto garage, which kept the big bay doors and open feel, fills the center of the Avondale neighborhood with approachable Cuban food -- the empanadas are particularly good.
Gelateria Modica Coffees/Sweets Entrées $5-$10 Downtown. 41-A George St. 723-8868 Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Gelateria Modica's assortment of smooth, cool, delicious gelati in flavors like coffee and chocolate, the panini crammed full of fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, and peppers, and the convenient George Street location make it a summertime temptation that is difficult to resist.
39 Rue de Jean French Entrées $15-$20 Downtown. 39 John St. 722-8881 Lunch and Dinner Widely known simply as 'Rue,' this John Street hot spot became an instant classic, thanks to great house-made pommes frites, an impeccable menu, a big-city inspired interior, and the 'see and be seen' crowd.
Bull Street Gourmet Downtown. 60 Bull St. 720-8992 Mon.-Sat: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
George's Sports Bar & Grill Greek/Mediterranean Entrées $5-$10 West Ashley. 1300 Savannah Hwy. 763-0605 Lunch and Dinner This hard core sports bar in West Ashley, owned by local character Georgie the Greek, prides itself on serving good Greek food and solid daily specials.
Al di La Italian Entrées $10-$15 West Ashley. 25 Magnolia Dr. 571-2321 Dinner The greatest thing about Al di La is that it so generously overdelivers on its promises.
El Mercadito Mexican/Southwestern Entrées $5-$10 Johns Island.
Brent's on Broad More Than a Sandwich Entrées $5-$10 Downtown. 40 Broad St. 843-8081 Lunch Brent's courtyard is one of the cutest places in town for a weekday lunch.
Andolini's Pizza Pizza Entrées $5-$10 Downtown. 82 Wentworth St. 722-7437; West Ashley.
Bessinger's Ribs/BBQ/Wings Entrées $5-$10 West Ashley. 1602 Savannah Hwy. 556-1354 Lunch and Dinner This paragon of old-style 'Lowcountry' barbecue since 1946 offers a buffet of old-style favorites along with a full menu of barbecue delights in a large, ranch-themed restaurant on Hwy. 17.
Blossom Cafe Seafood Entrées $15-$20 Downtown. 171 East Bay St. 722-9200 Lunch and Dinner Blossom has undergone a real renaissance in its menu and food.
Aunt Bea's Southern/Lowcountry Entrées $5-$10 N. Charleston. 1050 E. Montague Ave. 554-3007 Lunch and Dinner It's a post office, antique store, and one of the best meat-and-three's in town, all rolled into one.
Mo Sussman's Steakhouse Steakhouse Entrées $20 and up Downtown. 200 Meeting St. 958-8887 Dinner Restaurateur Mo Sussman has turned the beleaguered 200 Meeting Street dining room into a warm center of classic American dining.
11 Center Street Tapas Entrées $5-$10 Folly Beach. 11 Center St. 588-9898 Lunch and Dinner The 'tapas-y' menu at 11 Center Street features really, really good lamb chops and a Greek appetizer plate that make a fine dinner for two.
See Also: DISH Dining Guide Archives