Robert's still singing 

Won't retire until later in 2010

Robert Dickson wants you to know that he's still singing his heart out over at Robert's of Charleston. While he plans to retire sometime in 2010, Dickson continues to entertain guests with his operatic baritone while they dine on a prix-fixe dinner, and he has every intention of making it to February to mark his restaurant's 34th anniversary.

His daughter and chef MariElena Raya, a Culinary Institute of American graduate, crafts seasonal menus that feature dishes like wild striped bass, roasted duckling, and chateaubriand. Her husband Joe Raya manages the wine pairings and front-of-the-house experience, and the website promises that those wines are "freely poured."

We last reviewed Robert's in 2007, but we bet things haven't changed too much from when Jeff Allen wrote the following: "If you haven't been to Robert's in a few years, it's time to return .... for 85 bucks, you can't get a better show on East Bay Street, even with Spoleto in town. The room still fills with the tinkling of the front piano and the wine flows freely through a respectable four-course meal, mixing the French classicism of the Robert's of old with a world beat of flavors that march frenetically through the menu — not quite John Coltrane, but much more innovative than some of the Muzak being served down the street."

Over the next few months, Robert's will reprise favorite songs and dishes and host special events as part of the big finale. After that, Dickson says he'll go enjoy his retirement while the Rayas will move on to establish a new dining venture.

In the meantime, consider this your last warning. Robert's of Charleston won't be around much longer.

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