Variety Restaurant

Seafood | Steak
excellent
Worth a detour
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Welcome to the mid-20th century. In every way except for price, the Variety Restaurant shows no evidence that anything has changed in the world of dining-out for the last three score years. A dimly-lit dinner house with wood-paneled walls, paper placemats, and eclectic-personal-nautical-Grecian décor, it is entirely demode, off the radar screen of savvy foodies. But still, it’s thriving, thanks to a steadfast clientele of regulars who come for exuberantly large portions of steak and potatoes or seafood and potatoes preceded by a crisp iceberg lettuce salad along with saltines in cellophane.

Waitresses are old-school. They neither introduce themselves by name nor offer the provenance of daily specials. By the second time I visited, I had earned the moniker “Hon’.” Square-meals eaters who appreciate genuine retro ambience without a jot of fashion will see the Variety as a rare gem.

Ribeye steaks are a house specialty, available in sizes from 10 to 20 ounces. The meat is choice, not prime (in the $20 range, not $50), aged enough to resonate with deep mineral potency, fork-tender, and full flavored. Satisfying beef! On the side comes either a huge, fluffy-centered baked potato or from-scratch French fries along with a few spongy hushpuppies.

The seafood menu is broad and inviting. I’ve enjoyed she-crab soup vibrant with spice and loaded with sweet meat and oyster stew that balances buttery and oceanic — less about comfort and more like a thrilling nautical embrace. Oysters come sparkling on the half-shell; a plate-wide grilled salmon steak is velvet-soft inside with crisp, caramelized edges; whole flounder boasts fine, flaky flesh. A medley of seafood can be had on the “King Fisherman’s Platter,” which runs about $22 at dinner and half that at lunch. (Lunch service is discontinued during summer months.)

Note: Please pardon digital noise in some of the interior photos. It is dark enough inside the Variety that many were shot at ISO 50,000.

What to Eat
Variety Restaurant, Broiled Salmon
Broiled Salmon
Must-Try
Velvet-fleshed salmon
Variety Restaurant, She-Crab Soup
She-Crab Soup
Must-Try
The Lowcountry favorite, she-crab soup
Variety Restaurant, Hash Brown Potatoes
Hash Brown Potatoes
Must-Try
Hash brown potatoes are a great melange of crisp and creamy.
Variety Restaurant, Stuffed Flounder
Stuffed Flounder
Must-Try
Grilled shrimp atop flounder stuffed with crabmeat
Variety Restaurant, Broiled Scallops
Broiled Scallops
Must-Try
Lunch-size serving of broiled scallops: simple, perfect
Variety Restaurant, Blackeyed Peas
Blackeyed Peas
Oinky-flavored blackeyed peas
Variety Restaurant, Collard Greens
Collard Greens
Collard greens are strong and bitter – in a good way.
Variety Restaurant, Iceberg Lettuce Salad
Iceberg Lettuce Salad
House-made 1000 Islands dressing
Variety Restaurant, Ribeye Steak
Ribeye Steak
Ribeye tender enough to cut with a butter knife
Variety Restaurant, Hushpuppies
Hushpuppies
Hushpuppies are de rigueur seafood companions hereabouts.
Variety Restaurant, Baked Potato
Baked Potato
One-pound baked potato
Variety Restaurant, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Tomato-sweet Italian-American spaghetti
Variety Restaurant, Oysters on the Half Shell
Oysters on the Half Shell
An order of 6 oysters turns out to be 8.
Variety Restaurant, Hamburger Steak
Hamburger Steak
One pound hamburger steak, smothered in onions
Variety Restaurant, Seafood Platter
Seafood Platter
Seafood special: oysters, shrimp, flat fish, and scallops
Variety Restaurant, Broiled Shrimp
Broiled Shrimp
Under broiled shrimp is a pool of garlicky oil for mopping.
Variety Restaurant, Green Beans
Green Beans
To southern green-bean chefs, "Al Dente" is just some guy's name.
Variety Restaurant, Cole Slaw
Cole Slaw
Crisp, sweet cole slaw maintains real cabbage flavor.
Variety Restaurant, Broiled Flounder
Broiled Flounder
Cream-fleshed broiled flounder
Variety Restaurant, Greek Salad Dressing
Greek Salad Dressing
Greek dressing contains little nuggets of feta.
Variety Restaurant, Sirloin Steak
Sirloin Steak
Center-cut sirloin is a melt-in-the-mouth delight.
Variety Restaurant, Oyster Stew
Oyster Stew
Oyster stew is both buttery and oceanic.
Directions and Hours
closed now
SundayCLOSED
MondayCLOSED
Tuesday4pm - 10pm
Wednesday4pm - 10pm
Thursday4pm - 10pm
Friday4pm - 10pm
Saturday4pm - 10pm
Information
Price
$$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No

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