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Comment Archives: Locations: Restaurants: Modern American

Re: “FIG

asdf - My comment about Chef Lata being rooted in the past wasn't about his point of view, it was about a lack of growth. He's not on the leading edge of modern cuisine. Maybe he doesn't want to be, I've never spoken to him. I was led to believe he was, though, and I was just sharing that for the people who are looking for that kind of dining experience.

isidella - Clearly my ability to recall a name has a profound bearing on my ability to provide commentary on dining. I get chefs Robert Carter and Robert Waggoner mixed up all the time. It's embarrassing for me but they've never made an issue of it, so why should you?

The ambiance in a restaurant sets a mood. The one in FIG wasn't appropriate to me for the price point. Other people may disagree, that is their call. My review was my opinion.

1 of 3 people like this.
Posted by Charles Robinson on August 4, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Re: “Opal

One of the best meals I've ever had in Charleston. Incredible service and attention to detail. Gorgeous new interior. LOVE IT.

Posted by Maggie Hall on July 30, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Re: “Opal

In a blink of an eye it seems new restaurants are cropping up all over the area. Opal Restaurant and Bar is one of the newcomers and it deserves its’ just due.

We went to Opal when they were open just three weeks and I must admit I was impressed. Although I found the dining area to lack warmth and energy in its décor, the entryway is just spectacular. If Chef Patrick Owens and the Opal Dining Group wanted a “wow” factor when you enter, they hit the mark without question.

We made reservations and I wondered if we actually needed to. After all, it was a new restaurant in Seaside Farms shopping center and not too widely publicized. Thankfully we had the reservations after all. When we arrived there was already a 45 minute wait for tables and it was only 6:30 p.m.!

We were quickly seated and our server immediately approached the table. He was intimately familiar with the menu and told us that he also worked at Langdon’s, which is this restaurant’s sister concept. A recent local article about Opal stated that the “menu changed daily”. I thought this was an aggressive approach to a new restaurant opening. It was the same plan that Sean Brock had with Husk and when we dined there during the first few weeks our entrees took over an hour to hit the table. I hoped that we would not experience the same thing at Opal.

As we looked over the menus it appeared I had a different menu that the other three folks at our table. The server quickly explained that I had “last night’s menu” and replaced it with the correct one. But get this… The “changing menu” only had one item changed. The fish entrée that was on the menu was switched from flounder to mahi mahi. Hmmm… interesting.

We started with 3 appetizers. It’s unusual for us to order dinner and appetizers, but things looked very interesting. The Heirloom Tomato, Basil, Purple Onion and Valdeon received rave reviews. The tomatoes were incredibly fresh and tasted as if they were picked that afternoon. The Salad of Local Herbs and Lettuces with Fresh Ricotta and Tomatoes was scooped up in a New York minute - again, a fan favorite.

My Spicy Local Shrimp Bruschetta with Chiles and Garlic could have been a meal in of itself. Two very large toasted slices of crispy crusted bread were topped with heavenly, perfectly cooked, spicy shrimp. Reluctantly I shared it. But when I go back to Opal this appetizer is definitely on my repeat list.

Our entrees were perfectly timed and served piping hot. Two diners ordered the Sweet Bay Acres Crispy Chicken Breast with Arugula, Heirloom Tomatoes, Fennel, Prosciutto and Vincotto. The gents thought this dish was superb and I had a hard time bartering for a taste. The Seared Diver Scallops, Brunoise of Local Zucchini, Tomato, Corn, Israeli Couscous and Brown Butter was a big win. Usually someone that eats half of her entrée and takes home the other half finished this - hands down!

When ordering my entrée of house made Tagliatelle with Pork Sausage, Broccolini and Marjoram our server told me that it was not a “large portion” (pasta prices ranged from $15 - $17), and he was right. My dish was the smallest of the entrees and unfortunately the most disappointing. The pasta was a bit mushy, which I could tolerate, but the dish overall was bland and lacked flavor.

I would say though that like Langdon’s this restaurant is a bit pricey. We were interested in the Charcuterie & Cheese but one small sampling was $5.00 and it went up to $41.00 when the offer was increased to 12. We saw this delivered to another table and based on the portion sizes it seemed overpriced. I can’t speak to the flavor because it looked great, just expensive.

Despite my pasta snafu we still managed to leave the restaurant very full and plan to return. I was very impressed that despite only being opened three weeks the restaurant ran like a well-oiled machine.

Posted by susieg on July 23, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Re: “Tristan

I went to Tristan last weekend for my birthday celebration with a group of friends, and my compliments for the dinner we had could never do the food justice! The food was phenomenal, and service immpecable.
We started at the bar for drinks, and never had an empty glass from the wonderful bar staff. Once we were seated for dinner, the entire menu sounded delicious. I chose to start with the beet salad, with whipped goat cheese, and pistachio pesto, and each ingredient was so fresh and tasty. For dinner, I choose the duck breast with truffle polenta, which I have to say was one of the best things I have tasted lately. Every member of my dining group was more than pleased with their selections, and the only complaint we had was trying to decide which starter or entree to try!
After dining here, I was appalled at the number of available tables, as Chef Whiting is certainly running one of Charleston's hidden gems. The food was fresh, innovative, delicious, and the menu changes with the availability of local products. I would urge anyone who hasn't been to Tristan to give it a try - it is definitely on my list of favorites now!

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by Mayor1231 on May 28, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

Sat outside for Easter Brunch right after church that morning. We didn't have a reservation but getting there so early, we were seated right away. The mimosas were fabulous and the grits were to die for! My friend had the shrimp and grits and I ordered the bibb salad and a side of grits. Biscuits were also good. Also the atmosphere was simply divine. Loved the outdoor seating and while we did get a little ash from the fire pit, it was well worth the smells of the outdoors. I would definitely go again.

Posted by rachiegrl6 on May 3, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

This place is outstanding! The service and staff are top notch - very attentive and knowledegable even beyond the food listed on the menu.

I had the House Smoked Porkchop which was phenomenal - very tender and smoked to perfection. (Get the small size unless your sharing it with another person. I've never said this before.) I am not generally a fan of collards, but these were the exception. A little bit of spice and not overly drowned in vinegar made them great. The macaroni and cheese may be the best I have EVER had.

Considering McKee's reputation as a well-known & respected chef, the food was reasonably priced & the portions were quite large.

I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a great restaurant that is off the beaten path and not submerged with tourists. A must try!

Posted by Snake on April 30, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Re: “Cypress Lowcountry Grille

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. I can't think of a better way to describe our experience at Cypress.

Cypress is one of the three Hospitality Management Group Inc, restaurants (sister restaurants include Blossom and Magnolias) on East Bay. Parking is easy as there is a parking lot nestled between the three locations.

The restaurant itself is very pretty. High ceilings, an antique brick façade, colorful chairs, an open kitchen and a “wine wall” adorn the 1st floor. There is a second floor seating area that includes a bar, but we did not see it. Ceiling lights changed colors as we were there giving the room wonderful, warm hues.

The Best Of Times…….
Although the restaurant would become crowded after we were seated, it wasn’t crowded at all when we arrived. This lent itself to allowing our server to quickly approach our table. We ordered a few beverages and then began to pursue the menu selections. The menu is very interesting. There is a page that has your regular app’s, salads, entrees, etc. and a page that has “seasonal offerings” which included ‘Three for $39.00’ selections – appetizer, entrée and dessert. We liked the variety and the selections.

I was chagrined to realize that I had forgotten my reading glasses. This would have really slowed the ordering process… The server overheard me and mentioned that customers had often left reading glasses and so they had loaners that I could use. I took him up on his offer and it was a big plus.

We started with the Crab Cake over Creamed Corn, a Butter Lettuce Salad and the Charcuterie (House Cured Meats Plate). Chef Craig Deihl is one of only a couple Chefs making his own Salami and dried meats . Bar none, every dish was terrific. Our friend grew up in Maryland and is a crabmeat afficianato. She mentioned that her dish was one of the best crab cakes she’d ever tasted. The House Cured Meats were served room temperature which brought out the flavor even more. A variety of olives also garnished the dish. This too, was very nice. My Butter Lettuce Salad was “like budda”, but… the top core of the salad was very brown. How do you miss that? Brown-ness aside we thought we were off to a great start.

It was then that we began to wait awhile for our entrees. No big deal as the company was great. But I did notice that other servers were much more engaging with their customers than ours. They were making suggestions, explaining were the local products came from, etc. Our server was just robotic. "Oh well”, I thought, our appetizers were very good, so perhaps the entrees would be too.

The Worst Of Times………
This is when the fun came to a screeching halt. First of all, our server was nowhere to be found. Many runners brought our entrees. The plates were very warm and everything looked good. Alas, looks aren’t everything.

I ordered the Wahoo. On a dare the server couldn’t really tell me much about it, but it was the only fish dish offered. Two building-block-like pieces of incredibly bland, pan seared fish were served over a succotash concoction that included local beans. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more bland dish - bland and salty, very salty.

The guys ordered the filet that was topped with a house-made Boursin cheese. It was accompanied by boring, zero flavor fingerling potatoes and asparagus. I think our friend said it best when he said, “Had I known there would be a Tsunami of cheese I would have never ordered this.” The cheese completely overpowered the meat.

An “Oscar” version of a filet was also ordered. It came with some asparagus and this gross, burnt version of a large potato chip which was inedible. Each steak had a different degree of doneness although they were all ordered medium. All of the dishes were also very salty. Our server remained MIA.

We got through dinner OK and then he did arrive to see if we wanted dessert. I suggested some decaf and then we all passed on dessert. I had ordered the Three for $39.00 special and dessert was included however. So I asked for 4 forks so that we could all try it.

Tick tock, tick tock, time march on. No server and no cheesecake. Finally after we were on our second cup of not-even-lukewarm coffee we asked if the cheesecake had been forgotten. He said it was on its way. We watched then as he scurried around the kitchen. We started timing this and it was over 12 minutes before it arrived. This was on top of the first 8 minutes or so we waited.

And THEN the cheesecake was just awful. A small 1 ½” by 2” piece of ricotta cheesecake was served on a plate with three strawberries. It tasted like packing peanuts. But the absolutely horrid thing about the dish was it was topped with what appeared to be candied orange rind. We think that the pastry chef might have mistakenly used salt instead of sugar in making it. It literally made us all gag.

All in all, don't bother. There's plenty of other great restaurants in Charleston.

3 of 6 people like this.
Posted by susieg on April 6, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

I believe a new spot is opening on James Island . (The old Nectors /ale house)

Posted by done on April 2, 2011 at 12:45 AM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

i threw up twice cause of the food. It was below my standards for food.

1 of 2 people like this.
Posted by stephanie5555555 on April 1, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

We went to this place last night. We had reservations for 7:30 - party of 3. I recieved not 1, not 2 but 3 phone calls asking for confirmation for the res.. Desperate was my 1st thought... but we decided to go anyway (it was a toss up between this place or Sette - my old standby). This was our first time dining here. The place was empty and we were seated immediatly. The waitress was very nice.. She explained the menu and answered the questions we had. We all agreed that the food was pricey but we really didn't mind spending money on a great meal however this was not the case. We each ordered an appetizer and entree. The food was just ok...the pasta with shrimp was very bland and the ingredients were nothing special. I honestly felt like I could have done a better job with this dish. The 17 north salad sounded good but when I tasted it, the artichokes were straight out of a can from Walmart. No flavor, very rubbery and the dressing was almost non existent. My husband had the fried chicken. I will simply say he was sick after eating it. However, his side of collard greens were good. The 3rd person in our party had the eggplant parm and that too was blah.. Too much red sauce and cheese - where's the eggplant?!?! The overpowering flavor of oregano ruined it for me. This place has Oak steakhouse prices for less then average food.

On a positive note - the waitstaff was nice and informative. (with the exception of the weird guy who brought out the food. Never said hello and looked at us like we each had 3 heads.

I dont not consider myself a food connoisseur by any means. however, I can appreciate good quality food and I dont mind paying for it. It's fair to say that i will never recommend 17 North or go back. Oh and if you do head to this place, check out the self absorbed pic the owber Brett has hanging up of himself over the fireplace.. I mean come on, really?!?!?!?

Posted by Shank on March 31, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

Great food, friendly staff! Awesome outdoor patio!

Posted by Daisy23 on March 30, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Re: “181 Palmer

I am a student serving Chef Steff's amazing creations. Ya'll can't go wrong with anything on the menu. You get an app, entree and dessert for $15. Try to beat that!

{Btw, thank you gracie6684 for your comment on "...hey- they're learning." Some people think we ought to be perfect right from the start}

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by JenngleBells on March 25, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Re: “Eileen's

Eileen's now serves lunch also- Tuesday through Friday 11:00a-2:30p
the menu can be found at www.eileensrestaurant.com

Posted by sarahshe on February 23, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

Had Lunch there on Wed of this week. It was very average at best! You talk about a place that is so over rated, $14 for sysco fried chix fingers with mash potatoes and collards, come on Brett I'm so over the self promotion. Concentrate on the food and service and take down the self absorbed photo over the fireplace. Hey Brett I think you better tighten up the place before your investors wake up and realize your concepts are never followed through with and your product just isnt that good. You are you using inferior products and charging a premium. What a joke

Posted by Mattco on January 29, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

WOW!
I ate at 17 North for the 1st time last night! Unbelievable!!! The chef accommodated my vegetarian tastes beautifully and my non-vegetarian husband said the meat was cooked to perfection! Our service was fast and friendly and we had plenty of attention! I'll be back as often as possible!!

Posted by Banner Radin on January 28, 2011 at 7:15 AM

Re: “Graze

I "spotted" Graze restaurant in the free Charleston paper (think that is the name) and my husband and I decided to try it for lunch. Oh my gosh--"perfecto"--from the service to the food and everything in between. We have been vacationing at the Isle of Palms for 18 years now and over time, have tried hundreds of restaurants. This is my first review because I just wanted to share the exciting news with the "locals", if they haven't tried this jewel! Do yourself a favor, and make your next lunch or dinner outing to Graze! I had the chicken livers and my husband had the Korean beef. You say chicken livers--NEVER will you have chicken livers taste sooo good, as was the Korean beef. Oh, and don't forget to order the lobster mac and cheese--to die for!!!

Posted by RLP on January 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

Oh and we never got bread??

Posted by ALEYEAST on January 13, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

New Years Eve- quite disappointing

Went with the family on NYE (went last year and had a great meal), assumed it would be quite crowded, it wasn't (first alert).

We were seated and given a four course menu and told nothing of the menu. There were no prices and my wife was not informed over the phone that the menu would be altered for NYE. Noted on a table talker was information on a wine pairing with each course for $75 total (actually not bad). When we inquired about the regular menu, our server told us they were only serving this menu, but she would check if the kids menu was available. After several discussions, the chef agreed to a kids menu which we did not want, and also to allow the kids to order just an entree (no four course). As we sat, we noticed just about everybody coming in not knowing anything about the change in menu and most would get there menus and look at it puzzled, we saw at least one couple be seated and after several minutes and discussions leave. The owner finally came out and had the hostesses explain the menu upon arrival.

We should have walked when our gut told us too. Service for a non packed restaurant (which most time this place is quite packed) was pitiful, and noted not only in our table, but others around us. A table close by actually called the waitress over to order dessert during dinner. We opted for the wine pairing, the wine was gone before each course got to the table, but the worst was the dessert, 40 minutes after delivering our wine pairing no dessert, no server. Finally my wife went into the back and asked for it to go. No server apologies and we were thinking that table close by that ordered there dessert during dinner knew more than us, they had a better view of the server station in the back.

On the food, the prime rib was cooked right and tasty (was overcooked last year when they had their full menu), creamed spinach was watery and not up to par. Osso bucco was good but could have used more of the base sauce as it tended towards dry especially with the white bean accompaniment.

Overall, a failure for this usually solid restaurant. One suggestion is to put one of the herd of hostesses in the back to help bring the food out quicker.

It will take a while for this sting to heal.

Oh and if you did bring your kids to a nice meal on NYE, and they did want an entree, it was $30. ended up being $50 for the four course (w/o wine).

Brett has some work to do.

Food 3 stars
Service no stars


Posted by ALEYEAST on January 13, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

Never had a problem. Great food and friendly staff. Excellent experience. High five to them!!!

Posted by horse girl on January 7, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Re: “17 North Roadside Kitchen

Color Me Disappointed...Just past Charleston National Golf Course lies 17 North Roadside Kitchen, Chef Brett McKee’s (formerly of Oak Steakhouse), newest innovation and a big disappointment at that.

If you don’t know where it is you run the risk of driving by it. The design of a “distressed” logo makes it difficult to read and see. But it’s not stopping people from coming, as the parking lot appeared to be somewhat full.

We had early reservations and were seated at a nice table by the window. The restaurant is deceiving. It’s much larger than it looks – about 80 tables including two dining areas and an outside patio. Parking is free, but tricky. I felt like I was parking at a church lawn fete as folks were everywhere! Be that as it may, we began our journey.

We were warmly greeted by the hostesses, although one was so inappropriately clad it made your head spin… Upon being prompted our waiter, Jonathan, said that he had been there about a month and that business was good. The waiters wear white long sleeve oxford (or similar), shirts and jeans, very casual. That’s where the confusion started for me. 17 North seems like it’s in search of a theme.

There are two moderate sized dining areas and a deck. The satellite music is an odd choice (Don Henley, Billy Joel, to name a few…) and LOUD, very loud. But the outside deck has live music. The restaurant is somewhat a mix of old and new (an oddly placed old fireplace mantel), and contemporary furnishings. Very odd. Props though, for the outside seating area which looked warm and inviting.

Now on to our meal… we started with a cocktail and a large bottle of Pellegrino. I had asked for plain water but since we were getting a large bottle, I decided to share. Imagine our surprise when we were served two bottles of Perrier. Our waiter explained that they were out of Pellegrino. I said that I would just have regular water. He then stated that he could only “ring it up one way and we had to have both bottles.” Hmmm, interesting.

We were quickly served warm, cheese and herb biscuits with honey butter. These small, bite size morsels looked great but had zero flavor – zip, zilch, not worth the calories.

We then split the gnocchi with duck and spinach appetizer. Five gnocchi swim in a small dish filled with delicate (not gamey) duck, spinach and great seasonings. But the gnocchi were more like packing peanuts than gnocchi. Jonathan explained that they were “quickly charbroiled” to sear in flavor. I am certain my Italian grandmother would have liked to know she was missing something in the gnocchi cooking process.

For dinner we decided to order each one of the two evening features - a filet and flounder special. To me, the specials of the evening usually represent “prom night” – the restaurant puts its best foot forward and they are usually very fresh. Two thumbs up for freshness, but the rest of the experience was a bust.

The filet arrived undercooked, very rare. The mashed potatoes were a #10 scoop (who thinks this is kitschy?) and cold. The four grilled asparagus halves were also cool, can they spare them, they have a garden out back! The worst thing about the meal (yes, after all of this), was that the steak tasted like it was cooked on a grill that needed to be cleaned. Bleech.

The flounder also floundered. Three nice pieces of flounder were grilled and placed over a bean succotash with lobster. Sounds inviting, right? That’s what we thought. The flounder was covered in black pepper, the succotash was tepid at best (a common theme throughout the meal), and the lobster was downright cold as it must have been added the very last minute. I get that, but really… The restaurant was not busy at all when we were there, could some attention been paid to our meals?

Perhaps the hype has been catching up with the chef. On a menu of 25 items plus side dishes his name is mentioned specifically on three dishes. “Brett’s Calamari”, “Brett’s Eggplant”, “Brett’s Whatever”. Of course they are his dishes, he’s the chef!! Were we to expect “Chuckie’s Calamari”? Seriously.

The biggest disappointment was the bill. The menu displayed on line is very, very vague. It does however, state that the entrees run between $13.00 - $19.00, which they do. At $25.00 and $28.00 for the tepid specials, we felt completely ripped off. The manager did obligatorily stop by to see how things were going – with zero eye contact and zero real interest, so why bother telling him what we really thought as he buzzed by our table?

So if you’re on 17 North, keep driving.

For more Charleston reviews visit us at http://diningaroundcharleston.com

3 of 5 people like this.
Posted by susieg on January 7, 2011 at 4:47 PM
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