Charleston, South Carolina: Part 2 (Fine Dining, Fresh Breakfast, and Walking)

Ok, now for the amazing dinner part. We definitely ate our way through Charleston and sometimes it felt like I was just passing time strolling through this lovely town between meals!! Our first night at dinner was the best.  The Charleston Grill. 

This restaurant is inside of the Belmond Charleston Place. It’s definitely fine dining at its finest, and I’d been researching it a bit before we went.  It has a great theme of four different menus from which to draw your appetizers, entrees and sides.  There’s “Pure,” “Lush,” “Cosmopolitan,” and “Southern.” http://www.charlestongrill.com.  I made reservations (a must on a Saturday night). We were seated promptly and had a nice table by the window where an adorable courtyard was on the other side. And a cute little lizard on a tree branch (on the other side of the glass of course!!) spent the evening with us!!


The high quality service began immediately with our server who described the menu with passion and knowledge.  We began with bread; I always pay attention to the bread and butter. Is that weird?  I feel like if there’s really good bread and butter, things are gonna be good.

This butter was a lovely sweet cream, and the corn muffins were fresh and light and crumbly good. 


Each table had a perfectly bloomed rose. We ordered champagne for our first drink and the chef sent out an amuse bouche of tuna ceviche with sesame.  


The champagne would go perfectly with our appetizer selection of the Maroma Aguachile (Ahi tuna and friends – radish, heirloom tomato, jalapeño, avocado, cucumber, and cilantro – in a deliciously citrus vinaigrette).  This dish was so delicately and thoughtfully composed, the gentle jalapeño and the fresh lime really set it off.  


For the entrees, we picked two to share. From the “Cosmopolitan” menu, we selected the seared scallops and from the “Lush” menu, the tenderloin. Because the scallops had a dark flavor profile of a chili chorizo vinaigrette and a crispy blood sausage on top, we were actually able to pair a nice Malbec with both that and the beef tenderloin. 


And don’t feel like you must follow the white with seafood and poultry, red with red meat “rules” on wine. There are no rules; drink what you like.  But I do believe you can learn more about what you like if you listen to the recommendations of people who know what they’re talking about.  We had a great server who knew what he was talking about, which is a must at a fine dining restaurant (and one that happens to have four-figure priced bottles on the wine list).  Knowledgeable folks like this can help suggest ideas to bring out flavors of both the foods and the beverages.  If you want to listen.  If not, it’s ok.  Champagne is always a good default, which I’ve mentioned before!  

The scallops were delicious. 


A pea purée with snap peas and mint accompanied the perfectly seared scallops in a savory and mildly spicy vinaigrette.  Very well balanced dish of multiple textures and flavors that danced delightfully across your tongue. 


I think the shining star, though everything was amazingly delicious, was the steak sauce.  This bourguignon sauce begins with a myriad of flavors and spices in a huge vat that reduces for three days!!!  Can you imagine? Three days.  I could do shots of this stuff, it was divine. 


In addition to this amazing sauce, the tenderloins were topped with smoked lardons (thick chunks of bacon).  The ultra smokey flavors sang sinfully through the richness of the bourguignon.  What a sexy mouthfeel of the beef tenderloin, the insane sauce, the smoke, some fresh horseradish shavings… and of course a slick dripping of butter a plenty.  Lick your lips.  Take a sip of the wine, then dive back in. 


Definitely a steak worth remembering. Though I would have preferred it a little rarer, the sauce made up for the couple extra minutes of cooking time.  It was spectacular.  What a great dinner from start to finish.  Even though we were too full for dessert, a plate of petitfours was still offered.  Oh, ok, there’s always room for a little chocolate truffle. This is pretty standard when you drop a small fortune on dinner, though always a nice and appreciated gesture.  It says “we bid you a fond farewell and please return.”  Highly recommended next time y’all are in Charleston! 

The hotel also has a cafe, the Palmetto Cafe, on site if you’re looking for a lovely breakfast to fill you up for a day of walking. Our first breakfast was my favorite.  Again, the butter:


And a menu for coffee, prepared in a French press. 


This was classy!  I must have good coffee with breakfast.  Yes, it’s true, it’s usually Starbucks for me, but as long as it’s a good strong brew, I’ll be ok.  I definitely got a kick out of there being a coffee menu here. We tried a different dark to medium bean off the coffee menu in the French press each of the three days we came here for breakfast.  Yum!! My favorite food was the crab and lobster egg white omlette with cheddar grits. 


The blueberry pancakes were also delicious (I couldn’t resist sampling them from the hub’s plate). 


You need to fill up if you’re going to walk the city. Which we did several times over!  

I love walking, so cities you can walk are great vacation spots for me.  We had a great after-dinner walk down to Oyster Point and through White Point Garden with huge, gnarly oaks lining the walkways.  A little spooky by night!!!


But by day, the limbs just look meandering and unsuspecting.  Gently caressing the air and shading us from the beating southern sun. 


And the gigantic mansions along side of this park are awesome. 



Along the water, a bit north in the Charleston Waterfront Park, we saw plenty of dolphins playing around in the harbor. 

There’s a dolphin tale in the pic below.  And a fun below that one.  See??



And the pineapple fountain!! You’re actually allowed to cool your feet in here, which I could not resist!! 



And that’s Part Two. I could keep going for sure, but I’ll save more for Part Three, so stay tuned!! Part Three will include Fort Sumter and the Horse Drawn Carriage ride! 

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