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Charleston Fine Dining (values?)

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My wife and I are going on a 3 day babymoon in November to Charleston (we had our first child in June). We are staying at the Anchorage Inn downtown. I've read most of the recent posts so I am somewhat familiar with the restaurants that are popular on this board. My initial plan was McCrady's the first night, Amen St or Pearlz the second night, and Charleston Grill for our last night. I'm obviously going to spend a lot of money between dinner 1 and dinner 3. I was looking at the menu at High Cotton and they seem to have a little better pricing than Charleston Grill and they also have live jazz, so I was thinking about swapping those two. So I'm wondering what you guys think are the best values in Charleston fine dining. I'm not necessarily looking for cheap prices or big portions, but apples to apples what are best values? Also, we were looking for seafood / raw bar for one night and I narrowed it down to Amen St or Pearlz. Any other suggestions for that dinner. I've read some recs for Fleet Landing, but some other comments describing it as mediocre or lackluster. Is it really mediocre or is it just not novel or nouveau? In other words, does it do simple seafood dishes well? We are looking for fun places with good atmospheres, and live music is a plus. Thanks!

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McCrady's Restaurant
2 Unity Alley, Charleston, SC 29401

Charleston Grill
224 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar
186 Concord Street, Charleston, SC 29401

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  1. Been to both. While HC is good, it is not in the same league as Charleston Grill. In fact I just booked our group there for our 11th annual October vacation.

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    Charleston Grill
    224 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401

      1. I Love FIG. It's really special.

        I would probably choose High Cotton over Charleston Grill, but I haven't been to the latter in a couple of years. megabytes is right. It's a different experience.

        Fleet's is best known for the view, which is great. If you want fabulous food and great service, go to FIG.

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        Charleston Grill
        224 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401

        3 Replies
        1. re: Sue in Mt P

          So which dinner should I take out? I wanted to go to high cotton bc I read that it had live jazz and it had a good menu. Should I go to fig instead of mccrady's? I like their 3 course menu for $45

          1. re: cstiv

            Charleston Grill has a lovely jazz trio several nights a week. It's a wonderful experience to eat there. I would go.

            FIG is overrated.

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            Charleston Grill
            224 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401

            1. re: uptown jimmy

              Was at FIG week before last while visiting Charleston. It was one of the top three dining experiences of my life, one of those dinners where you eat a course and think,"there's no way they could top that"...and then they do. We started with exemplary cocktails. Wife had the Marfa Daisy, with tequila and grapefruit bitters. I had the special of the day, which was the smoothiest bourbon-based cocktail I've ever had. Next came the coddled egg, which was cloudlike in texture but full of rich briny crab goodness. The we had the Tomato Tarte Tatin with a pillow-like goat cheese. (I don't know where Chef Lata gets his produce, but I've never had tomatoes like these anywhere.) For an entree we shared a grouper preparation nestled on a bed of what I can only describe as a kind of southern take on ratatouille. (Tomatoes, eggplant, hen-of-the-wood mushrooms, vidalia onion.) FIG's use of produce, in particular, goes way beyond anything else I've had in Charleston. We finished off with coffee and a sorghum sticky toffee cake with malt ice cream your momma would make every Christmas...if your momma were a creative and culinary genius. An exemplary meal, start to finish. Best service of the trip, too. (Ask for Johanna, pronounced with a "Y.")

        2. Amen St. and Pearlz are both good choices for a casual seafood dinner. Nearby on East Bay Slightly North of Broad (SNOB) has awesome food and is a great choice. I've also really come to like Cafe Cru. For true fine dining Peninsula Grill is a memorable experience. I haven't eaten at Fleet landing but the chatter I've heard is that you go there for the water view more than the food.

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          Slightly North of Broad
          192 East Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401

          Peninsula Grill
          112 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401

          1 Reply
          1. re: PeterB

            As much as I love Pearlz,Amen Street definitely is a better fit with the other venues and a good value.

            I probably shouldn't speak on High Cotton,since I've only been to the Greenville location.Up here HC has become the "go to" business dinner spot.Maybe thats the problem,it makes me feel like I'm at work.For me HC is very reliable,(the Greenville location),but lacks a sense of place,you could completely miss its Charleston roots.

            We will be down in a couple of weeks and we plan on hitting Fleet Landing apon rolling into town,another place I haven't been.The bar has been raised so high downtown that I can't imagine a place surviving on a view alone.

            When do we get local oysters back?Will it be by late Sept?

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            Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar
            186 Concord Street, Charleston, SC 29401

          2. So I made my reservations; McCrady's on Thursday night, Amen St on Friday, and High Cotton on Saturday. It was a hard choice because FIG sounded pretty good, but I guess that will give me a reason to come back. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will try to remember to post a report 2.5 months from now when I go.

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            McCrady's Restaurant
            2 Unity Alley, Charleston, SC 29401

            3 Replies
            1. re: cstiv

              I think you'll enjoy all three. Looking forward to your reports.

              mollybelle, you're right about the bar in town being so high! But any place right on the water like that attracts tons of people, especially now that the cruise ship leaves from the dock right next to it.

              The oysters will be in when the water gets colder. I'll keep you posted.

              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                Geeze,

                I keep forgetting about that cruiseship thing.Our friends that live/work in town mumble obscenities under their breath when the subject comes up.

                I was at a CYC race a year or so ago and we sailed right past Fleet and it looked like fun so I had it on my list for drinks and apps,Maybe I'll walk in there in dead winter to check it out.

                When fall comes I remember to send the daughter back to town with an empty cooler to hit Crosby's or Stella Maris for the local oysters to bring back to her old dad in Easley.

                Please keep me posted!

                1. re: mollybelle

                  I will. As soon as I hear the Sullivans Fire Department has scheduled a roast, I'll post it on here.

                  Fleet is fine and fun, but don't expect FIG food there. OK, that was alliterate.