It's Charleston Restaurant Week again, and unless you've been living under a rock, you know there are plenty of worthy three-course menus available for $20, $30, or $40 all over town. We've picked a menu from each tier to showcase the imaginative dishes Restaurant Week brings out of local chefs.
The three-for-$20 Restaurant Week menu at Five Loaves in Mt. Pleasant has two appetizer choices, but we'd start with a seasonal remake of bruschetta, substituting lemon English peas and goat cheese for the standard tomato. Piled on a toasted baguette crostini, this spread is adorned with fresh mint, roasted red beets, and a bell pepper relish.
For the main fare we'd choose the beef tenderloin medallions dusted with coriander and espresso. The medallions are served atop goat cheese risotto with roasted asparagus on the side. A saffron and burgundy shallot beurre blanc (butter sauce made with a white wine reduction) builds on the other flavors. Dessert is a tough choice between Mississippi mud cake and cranberry orange cheesecake.
At Anson, Chef Jeremy Holst has created a three-for-$30 menu he hopes will inspire people to try something new. "Restaurant Week is as much of an opportunity for Charlestonians to get out and try new dishes as it is for us to provide them," he says.
The roasted potato soup entices with a sweet potato and apple base, and Holst adds two other autumn flavors: pecan granola and marshmallows (and yes, both are made in-house). Another first course prepared for the week is the crispy chicken thigh, served with a barbecue glaze, apple butter, and a fried cheddar cornmeal cake.
Anson's take on duck confit comes drizzled in a maple gastrique prepared with an apple cider vinegar. The duck leg and thigh is presented alongside farro melded with sweet potato and pulled greens. This weekend that green is kale. "Our menu depends on what mother nature is giving us," notes Holst. For dessert, get lost in the Chocolate Oblivion torte, a rich flourless cake with a trace of orange and crème anglaise.
Carolina's is known for its contemporary approach to Lowcountry cuisine and the landmark restaurant is offering a lengthy array of three-for-$40 course options. To start, the restaurant mixes a Bibb lettuce salad with radishes and other market vegetables to highlight the housemade ricotta. And tonight their soup du jour is fresh-smoked tomato bisque.
Moving into the second course, Chef Jill Mathias is serving a pan-sautéed flounder. This light fish is rounded off with country ham and Capers Island clams and served with mushrooms, frisee, and scallion butter. On the lighter side, Chef Mathias is serving a pan-roasted bone-in chicken from Keegan-Filion Farms presented on a bed of summer medley of turnips, red onions, radishes, and haricots vert capped with cornbread croutons. The dish is tied together with a pan jus vinaigrette. For dessert, go for the pecan brittle basket, a menu favorite for more than 20 years. The brittle comes with vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate, and caramel sauce with fresh summer berries.