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Charleston: new restaurant from Al di La cook?

danna Aug 16, 2007 09:04 AM

I was skimming a copy of Charleston magazine in the bookstore. There was a gorgeous layout of a family spearfishing (and otherwise fishing) and cooking it all up in a Folly beachouse. I seem to recall they mentioned one of the sons was currently cooking at Al di La and planned to open an Italian seafood-centric restaurant in the future. Or did I just dream that? Can any one enlighten me?

Those pics were some of the most beautiful food porn I've ever seen. I had no idea giant spiny lobsters were available off our cost, nor had I ever heard of mantis shrimp.

  1. c
    CharlestonChow Aug 16, 2007 09:11 AM

    Yes, his name is Michael Scognamiglio and was over at Al di La for the past four or five years I believe. Apparently they have put a lot into this restaurant. I think it is already open. Can't wait to try it.

    1. e
      EmBrooks Aug 16, 2007 12:18 PM

      From today's P&C:
      Red sauce nation

      Bacco Restaurant has opened in the former Jilda's space.

      Chef Michael Scognamiglio, formerly at the popular Al Di La in West Ashley opened this month at the Northcutt Plaza, 976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Mount Pleasant.

      1. danna Aug 16, 2007 12:45 PM

        Thanks! You guys rush over there and let me know how it is. I'm trying to get my self to the beach before hurricane season is upon us, and something fabulous to eat will help me convince my husband. (doesn't make my bikini fit any better, though)

        1. danna Sep 26, 2007 12:41 PM

          Can anyone give me an update? A review? A website?

          I failed in my quest to get to the beach this summer, now I need a good Italian place for pre-Kiawah half.

          1 Reply
          1. re: danna
            c
            CharlestonChow Sep 26, 2007 09:40 PM

            Have not been yet. It is where Jildas used to be in the little shopping center off of Coleman Blvd in Mt. P.

            Also, Al di La is no longer under control by John Marshall. He sold his interest in the company last week and, I think, is now 100% removed. Will it be as good now? Who knows.

          2. c
            charlestonebayer Sep 27, 2007 08:33 AM

            My husband and I tried Bacco on Friday, sit tight this may be long.

            We just moved from West Ashley to Mt. P and were/are around the corner from both restaurants. We adore Al di La and it's impossible not to draw comparisons but that’s all I could do while there. The server said they have only been open 6 weeks so of course they are finding their rhythm. We arrived about 8 p.m.; it was half full so we were seated immediately. The menu is laid out the same as Al di La with antipasti, insalata, primi, secondi, etc. You can also order small and large versions off the primi menu. We ordered a bottle of wine and grilled calamari. They bring out slices of bread right away, though these were plain and lacking the herbs you find on the bread at Al di La. My husband ordered the swordfish and I ordered shrimp risotto. Our calamari never arrived but we never mentioned it because the server comped wine, which was delightful. My husband rarely orders swordfish because he finds it’s not often prepared to his liking. He said it was excellent. I found the risotto to be a bit salty and “stiff”. It’s a much denser risotto than the scallop risotto at Al di La. I really enjoyed the wilted greens (arugula?) incorporated into the dish. Part of the allure of Al di La is the intimate atmosphere which is lacking at Bacco. All in all it I think we’ll go back in a few months and check it out once they’ve hit their stride, which I trust they will.

            Side Note – John Marshall removing himself from Al di La is heartbreaking news to me. Anyone have further details? A new restaurant in the works?

            6 Replies
            1. re: charlestonebayer
              danna Sep 27, 2007 01:11 PM

              Thanks for the review...and do try to go again before the first week in December so I can hear your follow up report ;-)

              I don't care for stiff risotto, a flaw in so many restaurants IMO. Risotto should be runny. It's really the seafood I'm interested in...that piece in Charleston mag had me teary-eyed. I may be dining w/ 12 women that friday night. I'm not even sure if Al Di La could accomodate. What about the wine bar? Notice any mammoth tables at Bacco? Thanks !

              1. re: danna
                Low Country Jon Sep 28, 2007 02:33 PM

                Danna, have you tried Sienna on Daniel Island? Modern Italian with a focus on fresh, local seafood. It's one of my favorite places to go for seafood. I've gushed about it here before, but they do a preparation of fresh fish with a warm white balsamic and tangerine vinegrette over fingerling potatoes, sometimes with artichoke hearts or asparagus. The vinagrette is sweet, sour, slightly smoky from bits of pancetta, and out of this world. I've had it with local grouper, red snapper, and most recently, triggerfish. Also, with skate wing, though I'm thinking that wasn't local. They also do a great fritto misto, the one I had this week featured local shrimp and grouper with onions, asparagus, and zuchinni. It's pretty common for them to feature two or three other seafood dishes, usually local, often with flounder or swordfish.

                All this, and they serve one of my favorite desserts--warm toffee cake with frangelico sauce and vanilla gelatto.

                1. re: Low Country Jon
                  danna Oct 1, 2007 06:01 AM

                  sounds great. I think I'll suggest that to my foodie best friend...we're going down to the half a day before the massive (at least 10 more) crowd of chicks come to join us. Any thoughts on an Italian dinner on Fri night that will be simple, has some choices that aren't creamy, and might seat a dozen girls on a Fri night? Some of these will be not terribly sophisticated diners, and some will be on moderately tight budgets. We did Al Di La last year, do you think they can accomodate us? maybe Mondo's Delight? I've never been there, but heard good things.

                  1. re: danna
                    Low Country Jon Oct 1, 2007 08:10 AM

                    Sienna tends to monopolize my Italian dining money, so I don't go to many other Italian restaurants, unless you count Muse, which is more pan-Mediterranean and not really suited to big groups. A little bit outside the box, but you might consider EVO Pizza in the Park Circle area of North Charleston. This is one of my current favorite casual dining places. It's a seasonal pizza place with a wood burning oven. They have a strong focus on fresh, local ingredients, and usually feature nightly specials in addition to their seasonal menu. The wife and I have had some great meals there with standout dishes including local corn soup, butternut squash soup with Wadmalaw honey, pizza with butternut squash and housemade sausage, pizza with local corn and bacon, pistachio pesto pizza, panzanella salad with local heirloom tomatoes, and of course their housemade case sausage. These folks make their own mozarella and sauces and also use Split Creek Farms feta quite a bit. I'd say it's the best pizza place I've ever frequented.

              2. re: charlestonebayer
                c
                CharlestonChow Sep 27, 2007 08:48 PM

                John Marshall is, I think, going to open a B&B in North Carolina with an empasis on food and possibly a small wine making operation.

                1. re: CharlestonChow
                  danna Sep 28, 2007 05:30 AM

                  Dear Lord, Please let him put in in Tryon. Amen.

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