Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Notable Revelry at The Granary

Risky Business

Posted by Eric Doksa on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 6:58 AM

On Sunday night, Brannon Florie and The Granary teamed up with Revelry Brewing company to host one helluva beer dinner. Guests were welcomed with a spread of Florie's charcuterie and pickled vegetables — this time paired with Revelry's tame and very approachable Poke the Bear American Pale Ale (5.5 % a.b.v). 

Known for his farm-to-table approach of using local and season ingredients, Florie took a different path for this dinner by sourcing several ingredients from the West Coast. The second course was an adventurous take on pazole, introducing razor clams, lamb bacon, and radishes into the mix. A base of hominy, chili peppers, and avocado packed a citrus punch with subtle heat. Small cuts of clam were dressed in citrus in the shell while others were breaded and fried. 

Razor Clam and Lamb Bacon Pazole - BRANNON FLORIE
  • Brannon Florie
  • Razor Clam and Lamb Bacon Pazole

On hand to talk about each beer was Revelry head brewer and partner Ryan Coker, who's Gullah Cream ale (4.8 % a.b.v.) was crisp and, as expected, creamy, neutralizing the heat from the chili peppers. 

Throughout the dinner, Florie showed that he's not afraid to take risks. For the next course, Coker introduced the Oh My Darlyn! Barrel-aged Scotch Ale, a big beer aged in wet bourbon barrels for three weeks that sits at 9% a.b.v. — the type of beer we typically see paired with dessert. Instead, Florie served breakfast — a duck egg coddled in duck consommé with toasted brioche on the side for dipping, duck sausage with hints of maple syrup,  griddles duck hash, and crispy duck prosciutto bacon. A whole lot of duck, but a whole lot of love, with guests claiming it was the paring of the night. We agree. 

Florie continued with the go big or go home mentality by serving venison sweetbreads with fava beans, fiddlehead ferns, and morel mushrooms topped with an uni emulsion. He admitted that this was the first time he had cooked venison sweetbreads, but they turned out to be a hit and weren't extremely gamey. The bold flavors of the mushrooms and uni paired well with the Midnight Special Oatmeal Stout (6% a.b.v.)

Venison Sweetbreads - BRANNON FLORIE
  • Brannon Florie
  • Venison Sweetbreads

The dessert course was just as surprising as any other. Rather than pairing sweet with sweet, the hoppy Funkmaster Brett IPA (7% a.b.v.) made its way to the table with a plate of compressed strawberries, goat cheese sherbet, strawberry cream, and little bits of white balsamic gelée — a creative concept that worked out very well. 

Strawberries, goat cheese sherbet, mint, white balsamic gelée - ERIC DOKSA
  • Eric Doksa
  • Strawberries, goat cheese sherbet, mint, white balsamic gelée

This is the reason we love beer dinners — some risks are just worth taking.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CofC getting kosher with new dining hall in 2014

New veg dining hall in the works

Posted by Emily Taylor on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Lately, it seems like everyone’s talking about ethical eating. Perhaps it’s due to the scary inside information being released on the factory farms that dominate the meat industry. Or maybe we can thank popular writers like Jonathan Safran Foer for shedding (pretty terrifying) light on the meat-eating issue with his book Eating Animals, which was the required reading for incoming College of Charleston freshmen in 2012. But regardless of its origins, this national conversation is sparking change in Charleston, and the College is taking the lead with a vegan/vegetarian/kosher dining hall scheduled to open in September 2014.

The new dining facility will be part of a major addition to the College of Charleston Jewish Studies Center, made possible by a recent $1 million pledge. This expansion will double the size of the Jewish Studies Center by adding new classrooms for several subjects including the School of Languages, but it is the new dining hall that is really expected to attract new students to the college.

Professor Marty Perlmutter
  • Professor Marty Perlmutter
The vegan dining hall will be named for professor and Jewish Studies director Martin Perlmutter, who has a passion for ethical eating. He maintains a vegetarian menu at home and is deeply interested in the philosophical questions raised by food consumption. “This dining facility is a major step for the College providing vegan, vegetarian, or kosher observant students an attractive place to dine and frame a community around their eating,” explains Perlmutter. “It will educate students and faculty that eating behaviors are life choices that reflect one’s values towards the environment, other animals, religious traditions, and much more.”

The dining hall will be on the college’s meal plan, but it will be open to the community as well as students. It will offer fresh fish menu options, and there will always be separate vegan and vegetarian food bars. In keeping with the facility’s focus on conscious food choices, Perlmutter adds, “The College will try to be sensitive to the way food is produced — locally, environmentally sensitive, and humanely.”

Perlmutter acknowledges that it’s hard to know many specific details because the project is new and somewhat experimental, but nevertheless he is excited about the potential. “It is terrific that the College is creating communities around eating while educating people that eating and respect for the environment are closely connected,” says Perlmutter.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Chef Sean Park makes a difference at Bambu

Extreme Makeover: Bambu Edition

Posted by Eric Doksa on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 11:29 AM

About a month ago Chef Sean Park, formerly of downtown's sushi hotspot O-ku, took over as executive chef of Bambu, a Mt. Pleasant restaurant that has always left something to be desired.

Back in March I visited Bambu on several occasions and came to the conclusion that while some of the dishes are worth trying, others need work. The sushi, in particular, wasn't very fresh, and the presentation was lackluster.

Knowing that Sean Park had come on board, I made my way over to Bambu to see what he's been up to.

The space itself hasn't changed one bit, but the menu has gotten a facelift. A lot of the same sushi rolls and traditional dishes (think pad thai and fried rice) are still on the menu, but Park has added some specialties, such as yellowtail carpaccio, Kobe steak, and a teriyaki-seared duck breast.

I was most interested in trying out the sushi and sashimi. Presentation is very important when it comes to food, and, as Park says, "We eat with our brain." His dishes look so much better than what I saw in March.

Bluefin and Salmon Sashimi
  • Bluefin and Salmon Sashimi

Chirashi consists of 15 pieces of sashimi served over sushi rice. It took me a few minutes to dig in, as I didn't want to disturb the masterpiece. How cool does this dish look?

  • Chirashi

The specialty roll that day consisted of kani crab salad, cucumber, bluefin tuna, and a thin slice of lime.


The presentation and quality of the food are much better than they were just a few months ago. Sean Park is what Bambu needed, and I can't wait to go back for more. We'll let Park settle in for a bit before we get out there for a full review.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Harbor Breeze offers fresh Southern fare at Patriots Point

First impressions of a pleasant new addition in East Cooper

Posted by T. Ballard Lesemann on Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Harbor Breeze at Patriots Point
The newly opened Harbor Breeze is up and running near Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant with a bustling lunch and dinner service. The restaurant is located in a renovated space that previously housed the Point, adjacent to the Omar Shrine Building at 176 Patriots Point Blvd. While the Point was a standard sports bar with somewhat generic and dimly lit decor, Harbor Breeze is much more open and airy, with nicely arranged tables and booths, a tidy full bar area, and a bright, crisp atmosphere.

We stopped in for lunch today to check things out. The room was full of neighborhood folks (we spotted Storm Team 2’s chief meteorologist Rob Fowler enjoying himself) and a groups of tourists. There was more to Executive Chef Matt Riley's lunch menu than we expected — an array of Southern-style appetizers, fresh salads, soups (a daily she crab soup and the special of the day, black bean and chicken), sandwiches, burgers, steaks, and seafood entrees. There were several vegetarian selections as well. The dessert menu featured chocolate mousse cake, key lime pie, red velvet cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies with a “shot of Hickory Hill milk.”

Peel-n-eat shrimp at Harbor Breeze
The bar had a decent selection of beer on display, including the standard domestics and numerous microbrews and imports. They offer five specialty cocktails made with rum, tequila, or vodka, too.
I started with the Grill-n-Chill Peel-N-Shrimp ($10), which arrived with slice of lemon and a mild cocktail sauce. The marinated shrimp were de-veined and lightly grilled with a nice char and a roasty flavor. They were a little messy, but they were mighty tasty. I tried the Chickpea/Arugula Salad ($7). Served in a big bowl, it was miniature feast of fresh, peppery arugula, sliced red onion, sliced cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and shaved parmesan. Tossed in a zesty orange vinaigrette, it was a light and refreshing dish.

The burger menu featured two certified Angus beef burgers — an All American and a Chef’s Choice, but I went for the hearty chick pea and black bean burger with side of the deep-fried-but-velvety goat cheese-scallion-potato cake ($8). The burger was huge with a wide, grilled patty topped with red onion, tomato, and romaine lettuce. They dressed it with additional sprouts, basil-pesto mayo, and thinly-sliced radishes underneath the patty. Flavorful and pretty filling.

Harbor Breeze opened two weeks ago, and our attentive server mentioned some of the minor adjustments going on, including some fine-tuning of the lunch and dinner menus. Overall, Harbor Breeze made a great first impression. Call (843) 606-2110 or visit for more.

The arugula salad at Harbor Breeze at Patriots Point
  • Joshua Curry
  • The arugula salad at Harbor Breeze at Patriots Point

The veggie burger at Harbor Breeze

The house cocktails at Harbor Breeze at Patriots Point

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

CHSWFF: Sinful Soul

Food made with Love

Posted by Eric Doksa on Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 11:33 AM

“I hope nobody ate breakfast,” were the initial words of food writer and City Paper contributor Jeff Allen on Friday morning as he addressed a group waiting to be schooled on Charleston’s Gullah and Soul food cuisine. The tour started at Marion Square where Jeff gave a brief overview of the area and the five restaurants on the agenda.

After a nice historical stroll through the neighborhood between King Street and St. Philip Street, the first stop was Dave’s Carryout. We could smell the fried food from about a block away. Everyone crammed into the small joint run by Sandra McCray and two family members. Small brown bags filled with fried shrimp, hush puppies, and tartar sauce were handed out to each guest. The shrimp was flavorful enough that it didn’t require any sauce.

Shrimp, hushpuppies, and tartar sauce at Daves Carryout.
  • Shrimp, hushpuppies, and tartar sauce at Dave's Carryout.

Jeff then led the group over to one of Charleston’s best kept soul food secrets, Ernie’s. A nice spread was setup that consisted of cornbread, a gelatinous okra soup, and butterbeans so good you could hear everyone in the room hum “mmmm” in unison. Ernie’s doesn’t advertise, the bowl of butterbeans speaks for itself.

Antuan Kinloch takes pride in the family butterbeans.
  • Antuan Kinloch takes pride in the family butterbeans.

A shuttle then took everyone up to “The neck” of Charleston, which is basically the border of Charleston and North Charleston, where the sisters of Bertha’s Kitchen cooked up a crispy fried pork chop, cabbage, and rice.

Pork chop, cabbage, and rice at Berthas Kitchen.
  • Pork chop, cabbage, and rice at Bertha's Kitchen.

At that point everyone was getting full and in need of a nap but two of the most important stops were still ahead, including the kitchen of a Charleston legend, Martha Lou.

Tables were setup outside and Martha Lou herself started carrying out trays of food that became part of a full-on buffet of rice, baked chicken, butterbeans, and mac n cheese. Word got out that Martha’s fried chicken is the best in town so she ended up bringing out a tray of that as well. It was agreed by everyone that Martha Lou was not messing around — this woman can cook.

Martha Lou
  • Martha Lou

Finally, the group was shuttled through some of the rough parts of Charleston on the way to Alluette’s holistic café for dessert. The good news was that Alluette uses almost all organic ingredients. We started off with a cup of decadent dark chocolate mousse followed by a plate of pound cake, bread pudding, and apple pie, which Jeff calls “the best apple pie I’ve ever had in my life.” I tend to agree.

Pound cake, bread pudding, and apple pie at Alluettes Cafe.
  • Pound cake, bread pudding, and apple pie at Alluette's Cafe.

After Alluette and Jeff made some closing comments the group applauded to the close of such a wonderful event. The stories about the rich soul food history that Jeff was able to share with everyone were truly amazing, and all of the food was cooked with pure love. The only thing that could make the event even better is a final stop at the battery where a spread of hammocks are lined up for an afternoon slumber.

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