Part of deciding whether or not you like a certain restaurant involves measuring what the place claims it offers against what it actually delivers. While some dining establishments dish out over-the-top claims, formal settings, and fancy menus — with prices to match — but only serve average food, the Glass Onion consistently and quietly provides top-notch fare in an unpretentious setting. Where else in Charleston can you order a five-star quality filet mignon with béarnaise, green beans, and mashed potatoes from a lunch counter, then plop down at a picnic table to enjoy it? Where else can you find expertly prepared charcuterie and pâté, as well as elegant starters like a recent beet, bibb lettuce, blue cheese, and walnut salad made with the freshest, most beautiful local ingredients? While formality has its place, at the Glass Onion you won't find a waiter fussing over the crumbs on your table. But you will find a caliber of cooking that often rivals — and sometimes even surpasses — the fancier restaurants.
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