Though the weather can't seem to make up its mind, restaurants in the area are set on rolling out their fall menus. Several Charleston spots unveiled their new menus this week, serving up some autumnal entrées and desserts.
Crave in Mt. Pleasant is debuting its fall menu this weekend. Chef Landen Ganstrom says his favorite new dish is the Flounder Francaise. The dish, a battered flounder sautéed with an orange citrus beurre blanc and wilted greens, keeps the locals in mind. "I really wanted to work some risotto into the menu, while keeping the Lowcountry's love for seafood in there," Ganstrom says. Another new dish is the sweet potato gnocchi, a plate full of fall flavors. The gnocchi comes with country ham lardons, minced shallots, and toasted pecans, all tossed in a sage brown butter.
Rutledge Avenue restaurant Lana recently revamped with changes to both aesthetic and menu and a new deal that combines three courses for $33. Right now the menu includes what Chef John Ondo calls "one of the best salads in the world." That salad is the frisée lardon with a red wine-poached egg. Like having breakfast with your salad, the dish includes bacon and toast croutons too. The restaurant is also serving another unique salad served with warm lentils. "Lentils are a fall flavor that I decided to incorporate into a salad. The idea sounds wonky, but so far people have been loving it," says Ondo.
Chef Michelle Weaver at Charleston Grill just finished adding a few new items to their menu as well. For an entrée, check out the roasted Guinea hen breast and braised leg with a side of country ham and butternut squash. Weaver has also crafted a dish that inspired an "Oh. My. God." moment for G.M. Mickey Bakst: Foie Gras with bourbon-cider, apples, and cider doughnuts topped with mascarpone cream.
Cru Cafe's John Zucker, who will be taking over as head chef at Oak Steakhouse come Nov. 1, is looking to spice things up. A big fan of one of his sous chef's shrimp jambalaya, Zucker took the dish and added a grilled local swordfish, Carolina gold rice pilaf, and fried shallots. One of Zucker's favorite new dishes is the braised occo bucco, served with haricot verts, sweet potato puree, and apple chutney. For dessert, Cru offers the sweet and savory combo of marsala-poached pears, walnut gorgonzola, and mascarpone. Zucker has plans to unveil more fall items next week.
All in all, it's a good time to get out there and get eating.