more SC road trip dining reviews
Highly hyped seafood spot in downtown Charleston. Small, dark, and LOUD. Don’t let the website photos fool you-at night it’s damn dark inside. Doorman on the sidewalk felt very pretentious. As did the too hip male servers inside. Maybe I’m just old. All the proper Covid precautions taken here. Seating at the front of the house seemed a little cramped. Our table was on the back “patio” next to the bar. Kept nice and warm with overhead heaters but you wouldn’t know you were “outside” unless you looked up through the open space in the ceiling. Chose to start our meal with one of their Frozies-an adult version of a Slurpee really. Similar to the daquiri’s and margarita’s served frozen on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The flavor was tropical and it was the current special but the name escapes me. They kindly split it into two glasses and it was delicious.
One reason I chose this spot was the ceviche on the menu, which I love. Tonight’s version was made with Halibut but it was pretty disappointing. The server was accurate in his description of not being spicy but it was actually bland. And swimming in liquid. Never seen it so wet. I know it’s made with citrus juice but this was ridiculous. And detrimental to the chips that came with. Fish was tasty but the fruit (oranges?) were flavorless as were the red onion. Definitely needs work. For my entrée I chose both a lobster tostada and a fish taco, tonight served with haddock I believe. As I expected DW chose the lobster roll which she will order any chance she gets. One difficult piece of the menu here-at least for me-is they don’t really do a good job of listing things like sauces and ingredients in the dishes. I know you can ask anytime but I think it should be made clear, especially in a place that has very loud music making it difficult to hear conversation. And all the masks don’t help. I am a spice/heat wimp so when my taco came with not one but two suspicious looking sauces I asked our server if they were spicy. He suggested I taste (duh) so I took a miniscule amount of the green sauce on the taco and knew I was in trouble. Server told me if that was not good don’t try the other. He immediately offered to have it remade and I said yes please. The sauce on the lobster tostada was slightly spicy, good for me, and enhanced the delicious lobster very nicely. Taco returned quickly and was very good, fresh abundant fish and thoroughly enjoyed. Lobster roll was the big winner. Great roll toasted and buttered and overflowing with a delicious, fresh tasty lobster salad. She loved it. Came with some obligatory “Cape Cod” style chips. Decided to finish the meal by splitting a Key Lime Pie which disappointed. Just a small, plain piece of pie dumped onto a too large rimmed plate. No whipped cream on or beside the pie, no garnish of any kind. Pie had a flavorful filling but it was somewhat rubbery and the crust was mushy as if it had been around a bit to long. While the seafood was good, I would suggest maybe visiting for lunch to avoid the noise.
Carmella’s Dessert Cafe
chose to end my birthday celebration here after the many great reviews. surprised to find it felt more like a dark noisy bar rather than a dessert shop. headed toward the light-the refrigerated bakery case at the rear. gorgeous looking cakes and pastries. the cakes are easily more than two people could eat for dessert and leftovers are not easily handled by travelers. plus who needs more calories. why not offer a slice also? so two can share. nope, not an option. also, why refrigerate everything? i know, it’s to extend the shelf life and avoid waste. but it deadens the flavor and dries out the cake. why not offer some cake at room temp for folks to eat in and sell the cold ones to people looking to take out or just pig out onsite?
so cake was out for us but they offered some belgian waffle creations with gelato and fancy toppings. not knowing for sure how big they were we asked the counter man-over the ridiculously loud music-what he thought of them. said they were really good and not too big. chose to order the campfire. this included chocolate gelato, marshmallow cream, graham cracker, and whipped cream.
imagine our surprise when i noticed that the waffles are not made to order. probably not even made on site. commercial premade waffles heated i a warming oven! quite disappointing, especially for the price. and unfortunately the counter man seemed to lose track of the timing and they came out a good bit over done.
but let me now say that the finished product was really delicious. the chocolate gelato may have been one of the most delicious and flavorful i’ve ever had. so rich. add the gooey, runny from the warm waffle marshmallow cream, the whipped cream and the crisp grahams and you really felt like it was a decadent smore. perfect size for two people. we cleaned the plate on that one. so with all the reservations if are looking for something sweet give them a try.
Enjoyed a very good meal here to celebrate birthday. Quiet night with just a couple of other tables filled. Staff taking all the right covid precautions. Nice diverse menu of bbq/smoked meat options. Bar makes a tasty peach bellini with a real peach garnish. Chose to start with some skillet cornbread. Though a bit overdone, it had a lovely texture and was greatly enhanced by the large quantity of honey butter. Having learned a bit from our earlier bbq stops this trip, we chose the less is better option and ordered the three meat plate to share. Sausage, wings, and spare ribs were the choices with sides of house made chips and potato salad. Everything is made here including the sauces. The chips were nicely cooked but were covered in just too much spice which I’m pretty sure was the same as the rub used on the ribs. The flavor of the potato salad was delicious with a nice tang. Pieces of potato were quite large though. The ribs themselves were very smoky and flavorful but suffered from being a tad overcooked. Not tough but just a little chewy. The sausage was delicious, juicy and just the right spice level for us. Portion was generous also. The sauces were a sweet tomato base, a vinegar chili, and a Carolina mustard. The tomato based was a nice compliment to the sausage. The others were a bit too strong for us. Chicken wings were the star of the show. Huge, smoky, and tender I think they may have been the freshest of the meats. We were given a small cup of Alabama white sauce to add to the wings but they didn’t need it plus it was unremarkable in flavor. We took some home with us so no room for dessert. Poogan’s knows what they are doing and for smoked meats it’s a great choice. Recommended.
Fishcamp On 11th-Port Royal
Chose Fishcamp to enjoy some seafood on our way to Beaufort. Off the beaten path in Port Royal but a lovely setting on the water with plenty of outside dining overlooking the small shrimp boat fleet. Staff taking all the right covid precautions. Expected more shrimp options on the menu due to the setting but really had only two. DW chose to skip the protein today and chose the spinach salad with goat cheese, pecans, and dried cranberries. Salad came really under dressed IMO but she enjoyed it. Lot’s of goat cheese. I chose the fried shrimp entree which came with fries and slaw. Unfortunately got the bottom of the bowl on fries-not very hot, small, and many over cooked. The shrimp were good size, fresh tasting and cooked nicely but unremarkable. Needed some seasoning in the light breading to give some pizaz. The tartar sauce helped. I’d try them again and order something different next time. I’m sure they do well with other fresh fish options.
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