Circa 1886 Introduces Menu Suitable for Warm or Cold Weather

Could an elevated egg-in-a-basket (aka toad-in-the-hole; one-eyed Jack; egg-in-a-hat; framed egg and gashouse egg) vault Circa 1886 to the top of the TripAdvisor list?

The Wentworth Mansion restaurant – which currently rates second with TripAdvisor reviewers, lagging behind Hall’s Chophouse – last week rolled out a new all-weather menu, featuring the egg-in-a-basket with which Restaurant Week “diners fell in love,” according to a press release.

Other Restaurant Week menu holdovers include pumpkin seed-granola encrusted pork tenderloin and a caramel banana cake. Among the new dishes are a cardamom-braised lamb shank with celery root and flageolet mousseline (for when it’s cold outside) and a sake-brined salmon (for when temperatures rise.) Continue reading

Five Charleston Restaurants Receive Four Stars From Forbes

While not a single South Carolina restaurant cracked the list of Forbes Travel Guide five-star winners, five area properties received four stars from the hospitality evaluator.

According to the list, released last week, Charleston Grill; Circa 1886; Peninsula Grill; Tristan and The Ocean Room at The Sanctuary – which earned five stars for its hotel and spa – provide “refined personal service” and “feature creative, complex foods and emphasize various culinary techniques and a focus on seasonality.”

Forbes updates its list twice a year.

Restaurant Week Servers Experience New IRS Ruling

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Phillip Taylor PT

A new tax ruling which treats automatic gratuities as wages, rather than tips, could change how some local servers experience Restaurant Week.

The Internal Revenue Service on Jan. 1 began reclassifying automatic gratuities as service charges, a change which forces servers to wait until they receive their paychecks to obtain their money. Additionally, the money is now subject to payroll tax; previously, reporting tips was left to the server’s discretion.

Automatic gratuities are most frequently tacked onto bills racked up by large parties, but many restaurants have traditionally mandated them in situations where servers were at risk of not being fairly compensated for their work. Although a Greater Charleston Restaurant Association spokeswoman wasn’t certain how many Charleston Restaurant Week participants trot out the practice for the event, both Grill 225 and Circa 1886 enforce 20 percent gratuities. Continue reading

What’s a Spring Fish Doing on a Fall Menu?

halibut2The fall menu at Circa 1886 is crammed with dishes that most diners would immediately recognize as autumnal – the entrée list includes duck breast with a mustard demi-glace, pork chop with Brussels sprouts and quail accompanied by rabbit sausage and pumpkin gnocchi – but the outlier of the bunch is halibut, which is generally recognized as a harbinger of spring.

In the Pacific Northwest, which this year has harvested nearly 19 million pounds of halibut, the opening of the commercial season is greeted with the same relief many Southerners feel when the first ramps blossom. Although the season runs for nine months, fishermen pining for a paycheck can catch 10-20 percent of the annual allowable catch in the season’s first few weeks.

This year, halibut season opened on Mar. 23; it closes on Nov. 7. Continue reading