by Susan Cohen
The line for Bubbles and Bites was long as I arrived at the Restoration on King, and I knew that wouldn't be a good sign. What I thought would be a slightly intimate event was a bit crowded, with guests traveling from room to room inside the boutique hotel to try sparkling wines and seafood-centric hors d'ouevres from Fleet Landing, Cru Cafe, Blu, and the Daniel Island Club.
Shellfish on the half shell seemed to be a popular choice, with Fleet Landing and Blu serving up oysters on cool platters of ice. There were lots of crisp, fresh flavors to be found in ceviches — lime, grapefruit, etc. — cool bites to mellow out the palate after such an unseasonably warm day. But Cru was by far my favorite, with Chef John Zucker offering a clam rockefeller and a perfectly salty and savory oyster bisque.
It was a bit odd roaming around the halls of this fancy-shmancy hotel as we worked our way up to the rooftop, where we were treated to a Charleston skyline and some of the best food of the night. On the terrace, Jason Houser had his meaty Meathouse goodness, with salami, bacon, chorizo, and more, while Christophe Paume served up eclairs, truffles, and macaroons. It was hard to tell what was prettier: the view, or his chocolates.