Cordavi, Charleston, SC
- Jeff C. Oct 15, 2006 05:48 PM
Esquire has just named Cordavi, 14 North Market in Charleston, South Carolina, as one the best new restaurants in the county. Thoughts anyone?
We just had an exceptional dinner at Cordavi. The tastes, presentation, and creativity were on a level much greater than we expected in Charleston. We moved recently from Boston and I would say that Cordavi reminded us most of Barbara Lynch's No 9 Park.....this is a honor to be held in greatest regards. After doing hours of research we ended up at Cordavi b/c of the possibility of a romantic, "fancy" dinner for our anniversary. The Tuna Tartar was served on the most delicate slices of crunchy "toast" and gently placed beside was a beautiful quail egg. The Scallops in 2 ways was honostly one of the most flavorful and pleasing dishes I have ever had. I consider myself one of the greatest food snobs around and this resteraunt is fantastic.
I've been to McCrady's and FIG but not Cordavi yet. If I had to choose two I would choose FIG for one night and either McCrady's or Cordavi the other night because those two restaurants mine a similar vein--molecluar gastronomy with elaborate tasting menus. Foodwise, the tasting menu at McCrady's blew me away and I think that's really the route to go. Oddly, the tasting courses on the menu I would have been most inclined to order as entrees beforehand turned out to be the most underwhelming, not bad, just not as good as I'd hoped. On the other hand, many of the courses I had my doubts about really surprised me with how good and inventive they were. My only real complaint was one of the dessert courses, a deconstructed and reconstructed caramelized banana, the whole point of which I just didn't grasp.
I would say Cordavi and McCrady's are generating about equal buzz right now. If their food is indeed comparable, I would go with McCrady's because the atmosphere is one of a kind--one of the most storied restaurant settings in the city, that in an early incarnation as a tavern played host to George Washington in the 1790s.
FIG I've been to many times, and I've had mixed experiences. It's definitely unique in the area, and I admire their focus on fresh ingredients and simple preparations, but some dishes are, well, sort of boring. I've had good luck with their pork dishes (especially the suckling pig when available), and their gnocchi is out of the world. Also, their rice pudding shouldn't be missed.
Hope this helps!
I've been to literally dozens of places in the greater Charleston area. Unfortunately, I haven't been to any the ones you've asked about--though I definitely plan to try Cordavi and FIG next time I'm there.
I already posted my thoughts on Cordavi earlier. Again....exceptional. We had reservations at Mccradys and cancled at the last second b/c Cordavi seemed more interesting. Again...it was amazing. I would choose Fig for the second night b/c it is very different. It is the polar opposite. Cordavi is "five star" type of food. Beautiful presentation, delicate tastes, unusual combinations. Fig is more like Chez Panis in Berkely. It celebrates the fresh food in a simple, yet amazing way. The Frisee salad with poached egg was one of the best salads I have ever had.
Sounds like a plan. And thank you again for your comments and suggestions. Just one question: Would you recommend reservations for either place?