For obvious reasons, Charleston Restaurant Week is one of our favorite events. There really is no better (or cheaper) way to enjoy the best of Charleston's food scene, and with deals like three courses for 40 bucks at a place where you'd usually spend over $100, it's pretty hard for us to resist dining out every night. Although each one of the over 85 restaurants participating is offering up great food for great prices, we've gathered together some of our favorites here for your convenience. And remember, a lot of these items are offered only during Restaurant Week, so don't do let it pass you by — we promise, you'll regret it.
Tristan is offering up an array of dishes at three for $40, from a borlotti bean and rye bread soup made with cocoa powder and molasses to beef short-rib lasagna featuring a puree made with mushrooms from Mepkin Abbey and a pistachio pesto. For dessert, be sure to try their Bijou goat cheese. "Bijou is a specific type of cheese we get from Vermont Creamery," says Pastry Chef Amanee Neirouz. "It's a 4-ounce nugget served with apple-jalapeño jelly. One of the bartenders here grew jalapeños over the summer, so we used them to make a bunch of jelly." The dessert also comes with lemon cornmeal biscuit. "It's a British-style biscuit," says Neirouz. "So it's more like a cookie." Also, you can add an optional wine pairing to your night out for only $15 more.
Over at Circa 1886, where three courses will only cost you $30, Executive Chef Marc Collins told us about two of his favorite dishes on the Restaurant Week menu. One is the smoked trout served with a neufchâtel and caper ice cream. "It's kind of our play on a bagel," says Collins. "The ice cream is like the cream cheese, and we use an egg sauce, and it's all served on rye toast." Neufchâtel is one of the oldest French cheeses and is soft with a sharp flavor. "The ice cream is not a sweet ice cream by any means," says Collins. He also recommended the cinnamon rubbed antelope loin, a flavorful 4-oz. portion served with a fluffy sweet potato mousseline, baby beets, and a leek sauce.
The Grocery, Cannon Street's newest addition, is participating in Restaurant Week for the first time. General manager Christina Couture says her favorite dish is the fried oyster with deviled egg sauce. "Our fried oysters have been really popular," she says, so much so that apparently a well-known Charleston foodie has been spotted ordering them on more than one occasion. The oysters are on the regular menu and will be around even after Restaurant Week is over. "We figured that if someone likes a dish of ours while eating here during restaurant week, they'll want to come back and be able to order it again," says Couture.
A few other restaurants will be participating for the first time this year, so now is the perfect opportunity to try new places such as Lucky's Southern Grill, The Macintosh, Heirloom Eats, Ben Berryhill's Next Door, and Butcher & Bee, the latter of which is offering a steal — an appetizer, large side, and sandwich that will easily feed two for $20.
Some restaurants' special menus for the week include just a few choice dishes, while others are more extensive. 82 Queen's menu features over 15 items, including their award-winning sherry she-crab soup, fried chicken served with sweet potato and bacon cornbread waffles, and a vegetable plate made with twice-baked portobello mushrooms, herb goat cheese potatoes, and spaghetti squash.
Five Loaves' 3 for $20 menu is longer as well and includes a grilled pork loin flavored with rosemary and served with a spinach quinoa cake and pear compote, as well as Indian-inspired chicken curry made with sweet peppers, broccoli, coconut milk, and served over jasmine rice.
Husk, High Cotton, SNOB, and EVO all have menus that will be changing daily. Social Wine Bar's menu features three separate three-course menus, each for $30, where diners can choose from a French, Iberian, or German-Austrian inspired bill of fare. Bambu and Cork Neighborhood Bistro are two of the few places including alcohol in their deal in addition their course offerings, with Cork also offering $6 dessert specials and $20 bottles of wine.
For the complete list of Restaurant Week participants, visit Charleston Hospitality Association's website.