$35 Three-Course Daily Special Debuts at The Ordinary

bildeThe Ordinary has been lavished with love since its 2012 opening, but the perpetual complaint about the upper King Street seafood restaurant is “too pricy.” Starting this Sunday, though, eaters will be able to feast on three courses for $35.

In a salute to the genre of old world taverns which lent its name to Mike Lata’s second restaurant, The Ordinary is adding a prix-fixe, three-course daily special. The meal, which will change nightly, will be available until it sells out. A press release describes it as “fun, accessible and value-oriented.” Continue reading

Tristan Celebrates Truffles and Hazelnuts With 5-Course Dinner

Italian ingredients and an Italian chef are the starring players in Tristan’s next wine dinner, scheduled for Jan. 19.

Tristan’s chef, Nate Whiting, is collaborating with Villa San Carlo Hotel and Restaurant’s Carlo Zarri on a five-course meal featuring black truffles and hazelnuts. The menu includes king prawn tails fried in hazelnut tempura; truffle risotto and hazelnut sponge cake with pear custard.

The cost of the 6:30 p.m. dinner is $140. For reservations, call 534-2155 or email rachael@tristandining.com.

Charleston Restaurant Week Adds More Lunchtime Options

codaCharleston Restaurant Week’s Fall 2013 lunch initiative was so successful that sponsor Greater Charleston Restaurant Association (GCRA) is repeating the program, with 13 restaurants scheduled to serve midday meals during this month’s edition of the popular dining event.

Butcher & Bee, making its Charleston Restaurant Week debut, is one of the restaurants offering lunch: Its sample three-course menu, priced at $30 for two people, includes matzoh ball soup; kale slaw and grilled cheese.

Other first-timers among the 142 restaurants serving up prix-fixe menus from Jan. 8-Jan. 19 include The Lot; Indaco; Coda del Pesce and McCrady’s, where diners will have their pick of dishes such as beef tartare; snapper with Carolina Gold rice polenta; aged duck and savarin oat cake for $40.

Reservations are highly recommended. For a complete list of restaurants and featured menus, visit GCRA’s website.

Where to Eat Out on Thanksgiving

steveajohnson

Steve A Johnson

As your thoughts turn from candy corn to cranberry sauce, you may very well decide you don’t want to fuss with fixing Thanksgiving dinner this year. Fortunately, Charleston restaurants are happy to help.

Here, a list of restaurants staying open for the holiday. Remember, reservations are essential; prix fixe prices don’t include drinks, tax or gratuity; and servers deserve to be tipped handsomely for giving up the day with their families. Happy Thanksgiving!

82 Queen

82 Queen, 723-7591

Hours: 12 noon-8 p.m.

Price: Entrees, $31-$39

Service style: A la carte

Sample menu items: Crispy parmesan oysters; sweet tea-grilled pork chop

Turkey description: Roast turkey paired with Southern potatoes, haricot verts, giblet gravy, cranberry chutney

Complete holiday menu: http://www.82queen.com/thanksgiving/

Blossom

171 E. Bay St., 722-9200

Hours: 11 .am.-9 p.m.

Price: Entrees, $24-$32

Service style: A la carte

Sample menu items: Pickled shrimp; pan-roasted grouper; pumpkin cheesecake

Turkey description: Slow-roasted turkey with cornbead and housemade sausage stuffing, slow-cooked green beans, whipped potatoes, cranberry relish, giblet gravy

Complete holiday menu: http://www.magnolias-blossom-cypress.com/blossom.asp?id=118213&action=detail&catID=20407&parentID=20406 Continue reading

Already Missing Restaurant Week? Hark, Avondale!

Avondale Rest Week Sep 2013If you’re holding out for something better than the current three-courses-for-$30 hoopla, West Ashley’s restaurants have a tip for you: “Avondale Restaurant Week.”

Now in its fourth edition, the week features $20 three-course dinners at half a dozen area restaurants. And on busy night, valet parking’s free.

Avondale Restaurant Week runs from Monday (aka the day after Charleston Restaurant Week ends) through Sunday, Sept. 22. The $20 deal’s good at Triangle Char + Bar, Pearlz Little Oyster Bar, Mellow Mushroom, Al Di La, Mex 1 Coastal Cantina and Nirlep Indian Restaurant.

Pix From the Prix Fixe Front

Charleston Restaurant Week kicked off last week, and local eaters are documenting their three-course dinners on Twitter and Instagram. Here, a few early visual reports:

Checked off another spot on foodie bucket list on 1st Day of Charleston Restaurant Week

@l8nrfan “checked off another spot on (her) foodie bucket list at Peninsula Grill.” She reports she was sorry a slice of coconut cake wasn’t included.

Charleston Restaurant week... Dinner at The Grocery: seafood bouillabaisse (top), roasted pork shoulder w/ corn and butter bean panzanella, & lemon semifreddo w/blueberries #3for30 #ieatwell #irecommendit

At The Grocery, $30 bought @theewillmill1 seafood bouillabaisse, roasted pork shoulder with corn and butter bean panzanella and lemon semifreddo with blueberries. His conclusion? “#irecommendit”

Have you had a Restaurant Week meal yet? How was it? Let us know in the comments section.

Restaurant Week Patrons Apt to Veer From Promotional Menus

avlxyz

avlxyz

The prix-fixe price tag on Charleston Restaurant Week meals is undeniably a draw for eaters who want to cap their dinner spending at $30 or $40 a person (assuming they’re not drinking.) But local chefs say diners don’t always stick to the program once they’re seated for their three-course meal.

Restaurant Week patrons use the promotional-priced event to “check off restaurants (they) haven’t been to,” says Jeremiah Bacon, executive chef at The Macintosh and Oak Steakhouse. And given the opportunity to explore a menu they’ve never before experienced, they’re apt to stray from the melon salad and shrimp-and-grits on the preset Restaurant Week menu and choose dishes from the standard line-up.

According to Bacon, such behavior doesn’t occur as often in very ritzy restaurants: He estimates 80 to 85 percent of Restaurant Week guests at Oak follow through with their plans to order the $40 steak dinner.  At The Macintosh, though, “it’s fifty-fifty.”

Bacon says The Macintosh’s price point helps explain the discrepancy. The restaurant also deliberately exposes guests to its regular menu by bolding the Restaurant Week-eligible items instead of printing a separate Restaurant Week sheet.

“I think it works,” Bacon says.

Still, even when presented with a wide range of choices, Bacon says certain guests can’t find what they want. That’s because the announced event menu is subject to change if produce or proteins suddenly become unavailable. For Restaurant Weekers who like to plan out every order in advance, seasonality – taken to an extreme by the dozen or so restaurants which refuse to commit to a bill of fare before the week begins – is an aggravation.

“Once in a while, we’ll hear someone say ‘this isn’t the menu I saw online’,” Bacon says. “But we print the menu every day.”

Curtains Up on “Dinner and a Show” Promotion at Tristan

I recently had the chance to chat with another recent arrival to Charleston: She’s been here longer than I have, but not so long that she’s become blasé about the cost of dinner and a show. As she likes to tell friends back in north Jersey – friends who regularly pay $12 in bridge tolls, $100 for dinner and $110 for a theater ticket – an evening out is just easier here.

And this fall, Tristan and Charleston Stage are again teaming up on a deal designed to make such an evening even more affordable. The “Dinner and a Show” program returns Aug. 30, offering a two-person food, wine and Dock Street Theater ticket package for $150.

In addition to a three-course meal and bottle of house wine, participants receive valet parking and a post-show dessert. The menu includes hay-smoked tonnarelli pasta; house-made mozzarella; beef rib loin with pickled ramps and Scottish salmon with ember-cooked carrots.

“Dinner and a Show” is only available Thursday-Saturday. First up on the theater’s schedule is 9 to 5: The Musical; for the complete calendar and more information, check out Charleston Stage’s website.

Charleston Restaurant Week Returns — This Time, With Lunch

nSeika

nSeika

The standard Restaurant Week meal format – exceedingly popular in most corners – can aggravate diners in the habit of skipping dessert, since the three-course, prix-fixe dinners invariably end with sweets. Economically, it makes sense for restaurants to pad their menus with chocolate mousse and crème brulee, since eggs and sugar are cheaper than centerpiece proteins. But that’s little consolation to the Charleston Restaurant Week goer who’d rather double up on boiled peanut hummus (Magnolias) or pickled shrimp salad (Stars).

This year, though, the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association (GCRA) has tweaked its biannual program in a way which should please savory fans: Participating restaurants are being encouraged to devise toned-down lunch menus, offered at a slightly lower price. The three restaurants which have thus far posted their event lunch menus online – 82 Queen, Rutledge Cab Co. and Ms. Rose’s Fine Food and Cocktails – met the $15 challenge by doing away with dessert. Continue reading