Coast Restaurant in Charleston
Am going to Charleston in a couple of weeks and heard about Coast - anyone been lately? I already have reservations at FIG and McGrady's. My preference is for fresh, local fish with price range for entrees in the mid-$20s. Thanks much.
I've been once. It was good but not spectacular. A little loud for my taste if memory serves. It has been a while but most of the reviews I've read since have backed up my impression.
I haven't been lately, I had a bad experience and haven't been back since. However, what I would recommend is Fish on upper King St. about 4/5 blocks away from Coast. It's a neighborhood type place that serves fresh and local seafood with an Asian twist, and the price fits your budget. www.fishrestaurant.net
I love FIG, again this is a focus on fresh & local. Don't miss the sides, and I always enjoy their specials. The second restaurant is McCrady's, not McGrady's, and unfortunately I have never been. However, I do hear very good things. I know the chef keeps a garden for the restaurant, and from what I understand the tasting menu is very good. As for other places around town......Cru Cafe for lunch or dinner, SNOB-best shrimp & grits in town, Bowen's Island-dive seafood place on water w/ great oysters.
I've only been to Coast once, but enjoyed it. It's kind of a "see and be seen" sort of place, rather than a purely fine dining experience. I've heard good things about FISH as well but haven't yet been.
FIG is one of the very best restaurants in the city, Mike Lata has a commitment to slow food, local food, fresh food, basically very good food.
McCrady's is regarded as one of the best in the country (if you watch Food Network on Wednesday at 7PM you can watch their chef win the Food Network Challenge: "The Next Great Chef" competition).
You'll also hear a lot of people on here recommend SNOB (Slightly North of Broad). I haven't ever really heard a negative comment about the place. I'm going to be eating there in the next couple weeks, I'll report back on how it goes.
Hope this helps!
http://www.DavidGHeiser.com - One Charleston College Student's Guide to Food and Film
I second the Fish recommendation. We were there last weekend, and while I am not crazy about the new dining room they added, the food was as good, maybe better than ever. Lots of dim sum, and lots of local fish. In addition, they probably have the best complimentary bread in town--steamed buns that are finished by flash frying and served with a sweet chile-soy sauce. Think slightly sweet and salty donuts with an Asian dipping sauce.
Also slightly off the beaten path, Muse is great for Mediterranean cuisine. I think their take on shrimp and grits is the best in town--grilled local shrimp over polenta with a chardonay and taragon cream sauce.
Hank's is by no means off the beaten path, but it is a great place to get an introduction to Lowcountry classics like shrimp and grits, seafood a la Wando, Charleston-style curried shrimp, and she crab soup (the best in town IMO).
On the high end, I recommend McCrady's, Charleston Grill, and Circa 1886. Skip Peninsula Grill except for dessert at the bar.
Not quite as expensive, I also recommend SNOB and Carolina's. FIG has been hit or miss for me--it seems to depend a lot on what you order. If you are thinking of going, you might want to solicit recommendations.
re: Low Country Jon
I generally trust LCJ.
I would add Al Di La, just over the bridge in West Ashley. Fabulous Italian food, impeccable service, relaxed atmosphere. We never skip when in town.
Basil serves fabulous Thai food on King St downtown.
For a truly divine upscale experience, Charleston Grill. Expensive, but absolutely delightful.
FIG is terribly inconsistent, with mediocre service, sterile atmosphere, and food that can vary from divine to awful in one meal. Never to return, under ANY circumstances.
Bowen's Island is a wonderful experience, but only if you've spent the day at Folly Beach and are covered in sand and don't give a damn. Seriously low-rent. One of our favorites. Bring the bug spray, as the no-see-ums are rampant. Don't go sober, it ain't that kind of joint. And the oysters are muddy, be forewarned.
We walked out of Hank's after one of the worst service (non)experiences ever. Just completely inept. I've posted details in another thread.
We had some of the best pizza of our lives at La Pizzeria just across a different (and very beautiful) bridge, in Mt. Pleasant. Well worth the very short, breathtaking drive. Those are real Italians behind the counter. Seriously good food.
SNOB has always amazed us, but we do stick with their appetizers, and we do love charcuterie and oysters and raw beef and that sort of thing. But SNOB is just plain fun. Probably my primary reccomendation given your agenda. You can just tell that the staff loves what they do for a living. Great ingredients, lovely mix of traditional Charleston and the sort of post-modern, post-Cali, 21st-century return to old-school basics that we love, with all sorts of lovely twists. Share several plates, that's the key.
Gotta try Fish. I would do that on LCJ's reccomendation. Maybe your best bet, perhaps. Ain't been there.
We spent Friday at Folly and stopped by the local Crosby's Fish Market on our way back to Charleston. Bought ourselves half a grouper, filleted, fresh out the water. Made three meals each for the two of us out of that fish, and it was perhaps some of the freshest, sweetest fish we ever ate. We kept it on ice for a few days, and I have to tell you, when you find yourself near a thriving fishing scene, get yourself a non-stick skillet, maybe a propane-fired camp stove, keep the preparation simple, and enjoy the extreme pleasures of really fresh fish in the comfort of your own hotel or condo. Nothing can compare. We had a big bag of fresh micro-greens and some Newman vinaigrette, made a potato salad from some cute little new potatoes, whipped up a fresh tartar sauce, and man, a grouper sandwich can really go down easy when the fish is so fresh and lovely.