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Charleston noshing

I know this has been covered in other posts, but I have specific questions about some places in particular:

1. we are spending one night on the isle of palms..is there anything there, or near there, of special note? we would love to go to that roasted oyster place, bowen's island, but not sure if it has re-opened or is nearby. but that's the kind of thing that is special and the spirit we are in search of. we don't want just another basket of fried shrimp.

2. is basil really worth the hype?

3. I have France on the brain as we plan an upcoming trip. we live in nc, and we have ready access to gussied up southern food. but I heard about rue de jean...any others besides that and fast and french? is rue de jean any good? the lunch menu looks like a better deal, particularly the $11 bouillabaisse on Sunday.

4. any good wine/food/kitchen stores/markets?

thanks in advance, guys!

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  1. For Isle of Palms, check out The Boathouse on Breach Inlet (www.boathouserestaurants.com). They offer amazing water views, good cocktails and a wide variety of non-fried seafood. If you're looking for breakfast the next morning, I recommend the Sea Biscuit (21 J C Long Blvd). For food/wine/kitchen stores, check out the impressive O'Hara & Flynn Wine Shop across the bridge in Mt. Pleasant. It's in the Mt. Pleasant Town Center development. There's also a nice chocolate store there called Sweet Julep's. If you go into the old part of Mt. Pleasant, you'll find a number of food-related specialty shops like The New York Butcher Shoppe on Ben Sawyer. There's also the Boone's Farm store on 17 heading towards Myrtle Beach. It's maybe five minues from Mt. Pleasant Town Center. There used to be an EarthFare market in the Town Center, but the Whole Foods on 17 basically ran them out of town. If you don't mind heading downtown into Charleston proper, then the Charleston Cooks kitchen shop on East Bay is a good place to stop (charlestoncooks.com). A few blocks over on King Street, you'll find a Le Creuset store and a huge Williams-Sonoma.

    1. J Bistro in Mt. Pleasant used to be good. I don't know about now.

      2 Replies
      1. re: RaleighHound

        I've been in the last year and have enjoyed. There's still plenty of cars there during peak hours, and with some many good places to eat in the Charleston area, that's a good sign.

        1. re: boyleschris

          J Bistro was a great restaurant. Unfortunately it has gone out of business.

      2. Bowens island has reopened and is great. It is 30 minutes from IOP. However, you can get oysters from the raw bar at the boat house that are very good. The Wreck is good fried seafood in Mt P. It is not your typical place at all and can be difficult to find. You can go north on 17 just past bulls bay (See Wee Rest) for another out of the way place that once had great seafood. have not been in a few years. Basil is great if you want thai, but it is downtown. Have a good time.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mball

          I would second the recommendation for Basil. It's not the best Thai food I have ever tasted in my life but it is really good. I like it enough that I try to go whenever I visit Charleston. It's also a beautiful space so that enhances the experience. If you feel like making the trek downtown, I think it's worth it.

        2. 1. Bowen's Island has reopened. It is off Folly Road -- about a 25 minute drive from IOP.

          2. Basil is good Thai... for Charleston. It is nothing special, but is fine if you want Thai. It gets great reviews in Charleston because there is little access to Thai here.

          3. La Fourchette blows Rue de Jean's doors off. It is genuine French. Rue de Jean has gotten a heavy hand with the salt (verging on inedible at times). The servers often seem to think they are doing you a favor. La Fourchette is small and Parisian. Rue is big and loud.

          4. There is an O'Hara & Flynn's downtown on East Bay (across from McCready's). Ted's Butcherblock, also on East Bay (but up near the Blockbuster) is another good option. And, there is always Whole Foods in Mt. Pleasant.

          2 Replies
          1. re: DavidA

            Thanks for the advice so far!

            I didn't make it clear in the original post...we will be going downtown for the majority of the visit (three or four days) for my husband's nerdy geography/urban planning conference. I say that with love.

            Yeah for La Fourchette! What are their prices like, and what can you suggest?

            As for Whole Foods...thanks, but I am surrounded by them here in NC! Worked at one in high school, shop at one for my business...I am looking for something non-chain and uniquely Charleston.

            1. re: lilyanna

              The Harris Teeter in the old train station in downtown Charleston, while part of a chain, is still a great store. Fantastic place to get wine, cheeses, and all the staples.

          2. Second The Boathouse and The Wreck. Neither are the out-and-out best but both good. Also Hanks downtown.

            Basil is good and close to other really cool places downtown in the North of Calhoun King St area. If you just want good Thai there is also a place in My P next to the bowling ally and Jasmine on Folly Rd.

            Big second to DavidA's recomendation of La Fourchette over Rue de Jean. Much better.

            Charleston Cooks is great but $$$. Berlins now has a location downtown. I have always found that restaurant supply stores have most of teh useful kitchen tools. Berlins also has some great knives. Good deals on French steel pans too.

            6 Replies
            1. re: CharlestonChow

              Anyone know Bowens Island hours, directions?

              And does La Fourchette has a website (I'm just checking out prices)?

              1. re: lilyanna

                For Bowen's Island, head towards Folly Beach on Folly Road. Bowen's Island is just a sandy turn off Folly Road on the right -- maybe a half mile before you actually get to the Folly River. You just have to keep your eyes open. It is not well marked -- the main sign is actually way off the road on the right, and there is a little sign right at the turn in.

                La Fourchette doesn't have it's own site, but here is a good review from the Charleston City Paper

                www.charlestoncitypaper.com/gyrobase/...

                Fourchette's prices are pretty reasonable -- the most expensive thing on the menu is probably low/mid $20's. They have great mussels, cassoulet, an olive and chicken dish that I get cravings for and and the BEST french fries in town (double fried in duck fat). The wine list is top notch. Depending on the night you want to go you may want reservations -- it is small. They have great service and the owner, Perig -- who is from Brittany -- adds some genuine Gaelic charm. You will feel as if you are sitting at a bistro on Boulevard Ste. Germain.

                1. re: DavidA

                  Oh goody! Oh boy, oh boy!

                  DavidA, do you know Bowen's Island hours, or loosely?

                  1. re: lilyanna

                    Since the fire I know Bowen's Island has had some changes to how they are doing business. Best bet would be to give them a call -- 843.795.2757.

                    1. re: DavidA

                      I will butt in and say that Bowen's Island is going to be a lot of fun for some folks, and not so much for others.

                      I loved the place, and the sunset views off that back dock are stupendous, but my lovely wife, normally an adventurous eater, was less than enthusiastic about the oysters, which are a rather rustic experience. I happily pried open dozens and dozens, but the wife was somewhat put off by the muddiness and messiness of the whole thing. And I do think she prefers her oysters raw...

                      But it is a beautiful spot, really old-school and charming. No frills is sometimes just the thing.

                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                        try the fried shrimp. agree on the oysters and the crab cakes were full of bread -- fried shrimp were quite good ,,

            2. La Fourchette is great for French. For another great spot you should try Fig for dinner, fabulous, fresh, local. Unfortunately most of the "seafood" restaurants in town are very touristy and not very good. Bowens Island is a good local spot and fun if you want to shuck oysters and drink beer. Pretty much every restaurant in town has seafood on the menu though so you will be able to enjoy it most anywhere.

              1. evo in north charleston is worth the drive for fantastic thin crust pizza with local ingredients and reasonable prices, root beer is great as well.