Salami and Rillettes Take a Chocolate Turn at Fish

salamiAs every chef knows, Americans like sodium and sugar. So it’s hardly surprising that food producers have figured out that remaking salty snacks as sweet desserts is a winning proposition: Last fall, Taco Bell released chocolate taco shells  (newly available in BI-LO’s Mexican aisle, if you’re curious.)

And now, Fish’s Nico Romo is selling chocolate charcuterie.  Publicist Jamie Estes says the Lyon native  was inspired by “watching Anthony Bourdain’s recent episode on his hometown.”

The $12 dessert plate includes dark chocolate pate, chocolate almond salami and pineapple ginger rillettes, complemented by almond crisps and strawberry-basil jam. For more information, call 722-3474, or visit fishrestaurantcharleston.com.

New Happy Hour Menu at Fish

fishAlthough Fish recently did away with its lunchtime deal, the downtown restaurant hasn’t yet quit offering sale prices before sundown.

The revamped Happy Hour menu, which runs every day from 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m., features a selection of small plates and discounted drinks. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the cost of cheese plates and bottles of wine under $90 is marked down 50 percent. On Fridays and Saturdays, the food special is $6 dumplings. Six bucks also buys mussels and fries on Tuesdays; a French-Asian small plate on Thursdays and noodle bowls on Sundays.

House wine, well liquor and house Champagne are priced at $4 a drink during Happy Hour.

For more information, visit fishrestaurantcharleston.com.

Food & Beverage Industry Remembers Christopher West

chriswestChristopher West was a much-loved member of the local food and beverage community, but there was never any question that the native Charlestonian identified himself as a writer first: The word was tattooed on his forearm in such a way it could be read whether you were standing alongside him or seated on the opposite side of the bar.

“That’s part of why he liked working F&B,” West’s friend and former employer Garret McNally, owner of Mac’s Place, recalls. “He got stories from it.”

Before West died Saturday at the age of 40, he was working three nights a week at The Griffon Pub, the last in a long string of Charleston restaurants and bars. He was also a regular contributor to Skope, a music magazine based in Boston. Continue reading

Owner of CO “Isn’t Ruling Out” a Sushi Restaurant in Charleston

cosushiCO is opening a sushi-centric restaurant in Myrtle Beach, but owner Greg Bauer currently has no plans to add raw fish to the Charleston location’s menu.

“Unfortunately, CO on King Street will not offer sushi,” publicist Jonah Jeter says. “However Greg isn’t ruling out the idea of opening a CO Sushi in the Charleston area.”

The Myrtle Beach restaurant, CO Sushi, is scheduled to open in early 2014, two years after CO debuted downtown. CO’s current executive chef — Tarquino Vintimilla, a veteran of Vegas sushi bars — will transfer to CO Sushi to serve as its executive chef. Continue reading

Fish Eliminates Lunch Service

One of the first restaurants to brave upper King Street is adjusting its schedule to reflect the changing character of the neighborhood.

With so many diners now flocking to the area, Fish is doing away with the lunch program it devised to draw customers who might be skittish about venturing north of Calhoun Street at night. According to Christie Gregovich of operator Patrick Properties Hospitality Group, lunch wasn’t part of the 13-year old restaurant’s original business plan.

“The thought was really to give folks a reason to come to this side of town,” Gregovich says of the popular $10 lunch deal. “Now with the development of the neighborhood and growth in foot traffic, we can really be truer to our business model and respond to what we see as a stronger call to offer dinner service on Sundays.” Continue reading

Edible Ways to Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

TipsTimes

TipsTimes

A number of local restaurants and bakeries are supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a nearly 30-year old campaign to raise money for breast cancer research and prevention, with dedicated menu items:

  • Fish is also pouring pink drinks for the Center, donating $1 for every pink cocktail and glass of pink wine sold during its Wednesday, Oct. 23 happy hour, which runs from 4:30 p.m.-8 p.m. As extra incentive to support the cause, the first 10 guests to arrive will receive a free glass of sparkling wine.
  • Cupcake DownSouth has created a special “Cupcake for the Cure,” described as “a chocolate cake with cream cheese icing and a pink sugar heart.” For every cupcake sold, the bakery will donate $1 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Customers who make an additional $1 donation will also receive a $1 coupon for use on future visits.

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

Kosher Barbecue is Back, Baby.

inuyaki

Inuyaki

This year’s High Holiday season was accompanied by a wave of stories suggesting celebrants smoke their Rosh Hashanah briskets, Texas-style. But for local Jews who adhere to religious dietary restrictions, the chance to go whole beef – or at least whole chicken – with their barbecue interests comes next month, when Synagogue Emanu-El hosts its third annual kosher barbecue competition.

According to organizer Debbie Rothschild, all cooking supplies are provided by the synagogue to prevent a team from wheeling in a rig which previously held a pig. “But we can accommodate everyone,” she stresses. “Last year we had 12 cookers donated.”  The synagogue also orders the ribs, briskets, fish and chickens directly from a kosher purveyor. Continue reading

Ted’s Butcherblock Adds Seafood Case

SL_SeafoodCase1Salmon’s been a staple of Ted’s Butcherblock since Ted Dombrowski in 2005 opened the downtown meat counter and café, selling at a rate of 3-4 sides a week, but customers have always gotten their flounder, halibut and scallops needs met elsewhere. Now Dombrowski’s installed a seafood case which he hopes will help make Ted’s Butcherblock a one-stop shop.

“On the peninsula, there aren’t a lot of places for fresh seafood,” Dombrowski says. “We put on the case and took on the same concept as the butcher side: My whole number one thing has been I need to carry the best quality I can find.”

That means the seafood case, like the butcher case, won’t be restricted to local products.

“I don’t carry any beef from South Carolina,” Dombrowski says, referring to the heat and humidity that’s notoriously tough on cattle. “I took the same approach with seafood. If someone wants halibut, it’s not going to be local.”

Still, there are plenty of fish from faraway places which won’t show up at Ted’s Butcherblock, including shrimp, catfish, tilapa and other products from Southeast Asia and South America. Dombrowski, realizing the sustainability concerns pertaining to seafood are far more complex than the issues posed by domestic beef and pork, consulted the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative before putting together his fish case.

Dombrowski ultimately settled on a line-up he describes as “basic,” featuring grouper, mussels, shrimp and clams. “I’m not Whole Foods,” he allows.

The case will also include a rotating fresh catch.

“This week we had in some really beautiful rockfish,” he says. “Next week it might be wreckfish.”

Although Dombrowski has more experience with meat than fish, he says he isn’t daunted by a whole halibut.

“At this point, I’m pretty comfortable around knives,” he says.