They tried to get open before the SEWE/V-day swarms, but just couldn't make it happen. Halls Chophouse will be opening on Wednesday instead in their completely renovated space on Upper King Street.
On Saturday night I was able to sneak in for the friends and family dry-run — the night restaurants work out the kinks. The family — Tommy, Billy, Bill, and mom Jeanne — are pretty wonderful. Bill spent his career working for organizations like Ritz-Carlton, managing a number of their resort properties. Tommy, who was born in Hilton Head, says he moved 16 times as a kid — but I would guess being a hotel brat is much better than being an army brat. Brother Billy is also part of the crew and mom Jeanne was a friendly face at the bar. You could tell they were excited to finally be up and running, even though they were a tad nervous about the details. The kitchen had just been fired up for the first time that afternoon. But we wouldn't have known if they hadn't told us. The guy they've brought in to run the kitchen, Scott Blackerby, is obviously a talented dude.
The menu is classic chophouse: Oysters Rockefeller, lettuce wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, creamed spinach, lamb and veal chops, and plenty of beautiful cuts of Prime meat: NY strip, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, filet of ribeye, and the 45-day dry-aged New York steak.
Our table of seven was instructed to order a different entree so the kitchen could get to work. So, we did. I was worried we would get in a fight over who got to order which steak, but we had people go for grouper, salmon, and chicken, which left the red meat lovers to order filet mignon, porterhouse, the filet of ribeye, and the braised short rib.
It's not fair to evaluate a restaurant based on their dry run, so I'm just going to tell you to make your way over there and order these items: Oysters Rockefeller, steak tartare, filet of ribeye, grouper. These were our favorites, although everything was pretty spot on. I think the Halls and Chef Blackerby are going to prove a great addition to the dining scene in Charleston.