Wild Olive on John's Island: Fantastic Meal
Had it not been a Monday and some other choices closed, I might not have ventured out (only 7-8 miles, really, so not far at all if you have a car--and certainly not far to travel for this quality. So glad we did. This was, hands down, my favorite meal on a recent trip to Charleston and Savannah--and, really, my best restaurant meal in a while. I can't stop thinking about it. With all I've read about the Charleston restaurant scene in the past few years, I can't believe the Wild Olive wasn't on my radar.
An added bonus: $19 bottles of wine (a selection of 6-7, red or white), apparently offered every Monday and Tuesday.
My starter of steamed clams with capers, chiles, and the requisite (but exquisite) grilled ciabatta made a terrific first impression. My husband's charred octopus was tender and delicious and accented with bits of pancetta and spring onion. We also split a caesar salad, and what can one say about a perfect caesar? Just that the white anchovies, spicy croutons, and generous cheese shavings elevated this one.
Bravo to restaurants that offer pasta in small or large portions. For my entree, I chose the small (but quite generous) portion of pappardelle with local mushrooms, guanciale, and arugula--a simple preparation that I loved. My husband had one of the specials--sauteed sweetbreads on polenta--and that too was delicious. We also shared a (huge) side of crispy, spicy, lemony roasted brussels sprouts.
Since we'd ordered more food than we needed, we skipped dessert, but I would try to save room next time. And I will return, making a side trip of it when I am next anywhere in the vicinity. And I'll try to get there on a Monday or Tuesday, for the wine steal: I enjoyed the white (Reserva della Contessa, Manincour) so much that I started looking for it when I got home--and was quite surprised to find that a bottle offered for $19 in a restaurant goes for $22 retail.
Two apps, a salad, a small pasta, a large plate, a side, one cocktail, one club soda, one bottle of wine: our pre-tip total, for a truly amazing meal, was $109! (Equally amazing is that two people could have a wonderful meal and share a bottle of wine for considerably less; the menu offers a wide range of reasonably-priced, lovely-sounding options.)
Thank you for this review, nomadchowwoman. We were considering Wild Olive for dinner this week while we are in Seabrook Island. The owner of our beach rental recommended it as did a few friends. We are very loyal Fat Hen folks but we have decided, thanks to you, to try something new. We'll report back!