Monday, June 30, 2008

The end of my restaurant bantering

I realize that if you're not into food and you're not taking a trip to Charleston, my blog has been quite boring the last week or so. So for those of you, this will be my last restaurant review(s) post.

Taco Boy: I do have 2 though so I'll try to make them short and to the point. First up is Taco Boy on Folly. It's a very small eatery but they do know a thing or two about tacos. For being so small, they certainly don't skimp on the choices. The menu includes a few traditional appetizers, chips and salsa, guacamole, queso, nachos and taquitos. They have one salad, quesadillas, platters, and of course, tacos. I've eaten quite a bit of Mexican in my day and never have I seen such a comprehensive list of tacos. Here's the rundown: baja fish, grilled fish, tempura shrimp, sauteed shrimp, carne asada, grilled chicken, carnitas norteno, chorizo and potato, obrero(pork sausage & potato), tuna, and portobello mushroom. They range from $3.50 to $3.95 per taco.

We started with the salsa trio, a roasted jalapeno tomato salsa, salsa cruda, and another "rotating salsa special". Both the salsa and the chips were pretty standard Mexican fare. Some were spicy, some not. We moved on to the tacos from here. We both ordered 3 and while that was probably more than enough, we both managed to eat them all! I ordered the Baja Fish, the Sauteed Shrimp, and the Portobello Mushroom. Each were served with a heaping mound of shredded red cabbage on top. The fish taco also was adorned with a cilantro & ancho chile yogurt sauce - this one was my favorite. The fish was lightly fried in a tempura batter and it was quite flavorful. The sauteed shrimp was served with the same yogurt sauce in addition to a salsa. The portobello mushroom was marinated in garlic-cumin and topped with refried black beans, poblano rajas, queso fresco & cilantro. This was my second favorite. The refried black beans kind of overtook the mushrooms but they were so tasty that it really didn't matter. The shells were corn tortillas, I think. They were the small 6" kind and were doubled because corn tortillas have a tendency to break. I would strongly recommend Taco Boy if you're going to be on Folly. It's a nice laid back atmosphere and change of pace from the typical seafood restaurant.

Rating: 4 stars

Peninsula Grill - I really hate that I decided to have this one share a post. This was BY FAR the best restaurant we ate at and quite possibly one of the best Wes and I have ever eaten at. If we had a Top 10 list, this one would be on there. My friend had suggested this over McCrady's and again, I will always trust her judgement because she's never led me astray! The restaurant is located inside The Planter's Inn, which is a very old and stately Inn in downtown Charleston. The menu is award-winning and has received top marks from every reviewer coming and going. As a side note, the owner and/or chef is also tied to Hanks's Seafood Restaurant and another Italian eatery right down from Peninsula Grill.

On to the good stuff! The menu has a section entitled "Champagne Bar Menu" which our waiter informed us we could also order from. Thank goodness because this sounded phenomenal to both Wes and I. Oh I forgot to mention that this was our special date night when we got to go out ALONE and Colin stayed with Grams and the rest of the crew. The Bar Menu included three sections, oysters, lobster/crab, and specialties. We focused on the lobster/crab. Wes chose the Lobster '3 Way', which was a ravioli filled with lobster meat, atop a pool of warm tomato-basil vinaigrette, speckled with sauteed lobster meat, and topped with a tempura battered piece of claw meat. He thought his was good until he tasted mine! I chose the Jumbo Lump Crab Salad. It was billed as a spinach and tomato salad with fried green tomatoes but I don't think that does it justice. The fried green tomatoes were sliced, cut in half and arranged in a star shape on the bottom of the plate (I believe there were 6 halves). Then there was a mound of chiffonade-cut spinach, basil, HUGE chunks of lump crab, and a few diced tomatoes, all dressed in a very light basil vinaigrette. Wow, this was fantastic! I couldn't believe the amount of crab I got. I had to keep giving Wes chunks because I was already getting full. Yes, when our waiter told us we could "start" with items off the bar menu, he failed to tell us that we could also make that our meal. But since we're glutens, we moved right on to our entrees. I had the Bourbon Grilled Jumbo Shrimp. I believe there were 5 very large shrimp, served with Hoppin' John, creamed corn, and lobster-basil hushpuppies. The shrimp were perfectly grilled and seasoned. The Hoppin' John was fine but the creamed corn was as sweet as candy. Surprisingly, the hushpuppies were just ok - we had had better previously on this trip.

Wes ordered the Grilled Boneless "Berkshire" pork chop. He received a HUGE chunk of meat that was cut similar to a filet of beef tenderloin. His sides were smoked bacon-cheddar grits and creamy collard greens - both were excellent. Again, I had had better grits but then again I'm not the world's biggest fan of bacon. Wes, on the other hand, thought they were quite tasty and thoroughly enjoyed the bacon taste. His chop was topped with a shitake gravy and he declared this the best pork chop he had ever eaten. Granted we don't eat a ton of pork (as if I would have cooked the best one or something) but this was still a very strong statement for Wes to say anything was THE best. Well at that, I had to try it for myself. It was so tender, so smooth, and yet so flavorful.

Since we wanted to make the most of this experience, we couldn't skip dessert. They are famous for their 7-layer coconut cake but that didn't make our cut. Wes chose the Chocolate Cake but this wasn't just any chocolate cake. Since I'm not a fan of chocolate, it was mostly lost on me but I believe it was about 4-5 layers of different chocolate varietals. There was a flourless chocolate cake layer, a chocolate cheesecake layer, a regular chocolate cake layer, all covered in a chocolate ganache. I ordered their Banana Panna Cotta. What I received was out of this world! I still have dreams about this thing. It was baseball shaped mound of banana goodness, with a banana sponge cake bottom, topped with a very creamy banana panna cotta, covered in milk chocolate. I know I said I didn't like chocolate but the banana flavor far outweighed any chocolate flavor. Additionally, the plate was garnished with 4 caramelized bananas and a pool of caramel sauce.

To say this meal was wonderful would somehow be an understatement. The only other thing I could have asked for would have been a wheelbarrow to get me out of there and fat me home! Please, if you're in Charleston, GO THERE! You will not be disappointed.

Rating: 5 stars (Yes, the illustrious perfect rating, reserved for only THE best!)


  1. The pork I had last week (that I too declared the best pork I had ever eaten!) was also a Berkshire. Please let me know if you find any restaurant in Lexington that has them! I am not even a bit pork fan, and it was amazing. Your Charleston restaurant is now on my list. :)

  2. Sounds like you enjoyed your Charleston vacation!