Tuesday, August 31, 2010

High Thyme, Sullivan’s Island, SC

After we ate at High Thyme in Sullivan’s Island last night I’ve thought a lot about what to say about it. Not because it was a bad experience – those are easy to write about, but because I couldn’t put into words what the experience was really like.

We went there on Tapas night Tuesday. The menu includes small sized plates priced between $9.00 and $14.00 and half priced wine by the glass until 10:00 p.m. They bill themselves as High Thyme Cuisine and Cocktails and they’ve been there for quite some time.

We were joined by a great couple, Dennis and Ginger Samuelson from Carolina Coastal Properties, and the evening was just terrific. Dennis sold us our new house in the area and Ginger handled our rentals before that so we’ve become fast friends with the Samuelsons. When driving home the “rating” of the restaurant came up. There was much debate about “What’s a 4?” “What’s a 5?” – and how the restaurant could go either way. One word, “memorable” was mentioned. What makes a restaurant experience memorable? That’s the question that has been rolling around in my head all day.

High Thyme is a small, quaint, dimly lit, comfortable place. You can sit either inside or out and the door is always open so it helps to create a very airy feeling. But memorable? No. It begs the question though, if the service and food are great would it be memorable? Possibly.

Our server was very efficient. She told us the specials, told us about the wine special, took our order, and was pleasant. She did not have conversations with the table, suggestively sell items, or bring bread to the tables as others had received (although I did observe the other waiter in the restaurant who did). If pressed, I could not pick her out of a lineup. Not necessarily bad service, but memorable? No.

The food was a nice surprise. At first I had a bit of sticker shock at the “tapas” prices. I was pleasantly surprised. Our appetizers were plentiful and beautiful. I had one of the salads with goat cheese, cranberries and nuts – just terrific. Also ordered were the heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad – stunning, and tasteful, and the white bean soup. The soup was very flavorful and was delivered piping hot.


Dinner was also outstanding. I had the littleneck clam dish that is served with chorizo, corn, tomatoes in a light broth. The salmon was served perfectly over a colorful bean salad. The Szechuan beef tenderloin was spot on – a perfect medium rare and just the right heat. Our friend had not been feeling well and ordered the chicken pot pie. He mentioned that it was one of the best ones he had ever tasted, and even mentioned at the end of the meal that he was already feeling better.

This part of the meal was memorable. Not only is the food very good, it’s just so beautifully presented and complimented.

We were offered dessert and coffee, but decided to pass.

So as I reflected on the evening gone by I asked myself if it was memorable. It was very nice, and I would recommend the restaurant and return. But it wasn’t “memorable”.

When we were leaving we noticed a white Mercedes trying to fit in the spot that was way too small right in front of us on the street. He was on his cell phone and kept gently bouncing into my car trying to back in. We’ve moved from Boston, so this parking technique is not new, but it was my car, and even after he knew that, because we stood right there and told him, he continued to back into it. Now THAT was memorable.

We gave High Thyme 4 plates out of 5.  We're still on the hunt for the elusive 5 plate memorable dining experience.

High Tyme Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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