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Charleston: gift cert. @ 82 Queen. Help!

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Got free honeymoon food coming to us at 82 Queen. Seems to have a sketchy, touristy reputation around Chowhound.

Besides drinking ourselves silly, what's a sure bet at this place?

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  1. I haven't visited in awhile, but their she-crab soup was always quite good. That and the complimentary cheese biscuits make a nice light lunch by themselves. Once you get into their entrees, things get dicier. I remember their shrimp and grits being decent, though non-traditional and on the sweet side, thanks to the barbecue sauce they use on the shrimp.

    1. I haven't been in ages, but the black-eyed pea cakes used to be good.

      1. It's not the best place in Chas. but it certainly isn't bad. One of the great things about Chas. food ist that it is so distinctive and I think that's where 82 Queen and the chowhounds diverge. It's a pretty good restaurant but it could be a pretty good restaurant in any city that you go to. I certainly wouldn't turn down a free meal there.

        1. The crabcakes used to be excellent (but, like all the others, it has been a while since we have been there).

          1. It's been a while, but the food was good, not fantastic, but it didn't distract me from having a good time. I remember the shrimp and grits being good. You're going to be tourists - just roll with it! The bloody mary was excellent the time I went, but that will probably depend on the bartender. While I'm a chowhound of sorts, i believe the best dining experiences aren't always about expecting everything you order to be mindbendingly fantastic. A nice atmosphere, good company, an open mind and food that isn't totally overpriced and undergood, not to mention a beverage in my hand within ten minutes of sitting down and I'm happy. Have a good time on your honeymoon!

            1. Oh man, this is my FAVORITE place to eat in Charleston...My son and I went TWICE in a one week visit...She-crab soup the BEST! We loved the cheese biscuits that are brought to you at the beginning of the meal..We both loved the Jambalaya...I also enjoyed their version of shrimp and grits...Don't understand the negative reviews of this restaurant as it is a charming ambience with really good food!

              1. Wow. I will post again on 82 Queen in my Charleston Honeymoon Report, but this is absolutely the most offensively bad restaurant I've ever visited. The service was atrocious, the food was alternately okay and awful. I've had worse food before, but never have I paid anywhere near these prices for it. And there-in lies the rub.

                We felt insulted by the experience, and so did several folks near us; they could be heard saying very negative things about their lunch, sending back plates of cold, inedible french fries, etc. Our biscuits were cold and stale-ish. Our soup was no better than canned, with chunks of undissolved flour in it. The fried oysters were cold. The salad was sickly-sweet and soggy with far too much dressing. We had water spilled on us, and then had to repeatedly beg for more water. The waiter got our drink order wrong. The grits in the shrimp and grits were half milk and runny, and the shrimp were coated in what tasted like store-bought BBQ sauce. And the shrimp were very small, 51-60s, I would guess. The bacon bits were burned and far past crunchy.

                The crab cake was pretty good, though. Didn't care for the sauce, but the crab cake was pretty darned good.

                The server was Jerry Lewis without the funny, absolutely incompetent. His general agitation was distracting. I saw other servers who seemed more together, but ours was just way out of his element.

                Our bill, for a 4-ounce cup of soup, salad with oysters, 1 crab cake, shrimp and grits, and two martinis, was $65.00. This a restaurant that markets itself brazenly as amongst the best Charleston has to offer. That is absurd, and so are their prices.

                Perhaps 82 Queen has plummeted precipitously in quality from former heights, I don't know. But avoid, avoid, avoid. You have been warned.

                Fortunately, every other meal we ate in Charleston was various shades of amazing, a few approaching divine. Will report later in a seperate thread.

                2 Replies
                1. re: uptown jimmy

                  Sorry to hear about your experience. It sounds like 82 Queen has definitely gone downhill in the years since I last went there. They were never among Charleston's best, but they were at least better than mediocre back then. Your experience sounds similar to the one my wife and I had at Poogan's Porch, next door to 82 Queen, a few years ago. We swore we would never go back and never have. Maybe that whole stretch of Queen Street should just be avoided, food-wise.

                  1. re: Low Country Jon

                    It was really amazing. I've worked in the food business for 20 years, and eaten in them for 37, and I've never seen anything like it. The food wasn't inedible, just woefully inadequate given their marketing practices and the way they present themselves. I've had far better meals in pubs and taverns, you know? If you can't beat the fries in a pub then you have no business portraying yourself as fine dining, much less comparing yourself favorably to some of the finest restaurants in Charleston. I worked in a classic tourist trap years ago, on Pier 39 in San Fran; it was how I came to be introduced to the term "tourist trap", and 82 Queen is definitely a tourist trap.

                    The really shocking thing was the service, as well as how dingy the place is. There were dust bunnies on the bathroom floor. Dust bunnies don't develop overnight, last I checked. That means it had been several days, at minimum, since that bathroom had been thoroughly cleaned. That's just gross.

                    Now our only problem will be deciding how to report back to my wife's sweet, sweet friend, the one who gave us the gift certificate. Probably best to lie, but then she might go back someday, when there are so many truly wonderful dining opportunities within mere blocks of 82 Queen.