5 Plates And Holding...
Ahhh… Restaurant Week in Charleston. Glasses clinking, patrons dining and the town is abuzz. This is a great week to explore new restaurants or to visit old favorites, both of which we did this week.
I have to admit that I am partial to Hall’s Chophouse. We’ve always had a great dining experience there and the owner, Mr. Hall was the first person I interviewed for “Conversations with the Owners”, a section on my blog. It is a tad pricey, so when the restaurants were published for Charleston Restaurant Week we were quick to get reservations at Hall’s.
Hall’s M.O. is that Billy Hall does a very personal “meet and greet” with everyone who comes and goes. Some, I have discovered, don’t like his personal “hugging and handshakes” that may seem forced, which I understand. They’ve argued “He doesn’t really know us, so don’t hug us.” Be that as it may, the welcome at Hall’s is always consistently personable. Personally, I like the special treatment.
We were seated with our friends at a nice table on the second floor. Note to self… if you go to Hall’s, ask to sit upstairs instead of the very loud bar/table area below. We found that the dining experience is so much better.
|Chef Niessner At Work|
Our hostess seated us and presented our menus, tucking the “Restaurant Week 3 for $40.00” menu discretely behind their main menu. Mr. Hall personally told me that he was a big fan of restaurant week since it drives traffic that he might not get, so I was a bit surprised by this approach.
Aside from the unique ‘menu placement’ the entire dining experience was sensational. Our server, Darryl, was over the top. He did everything he could to make our experience a memorable, yet comfortable one. As I have thought about our dinner there that night, versus other Restaurant Week experiences, Darryl by far made the difference.
Restaurant Week first started at a variety of options with 3 for $30.00 being the high end. Hall’s and a few other restaurants have morphed this into 3 for $40.00. Knowing the typical food cost for steak, it’s understandable, but little by little this event is starting to give me the feeling of ‘sticker shock’.
Three of the four of us ordered the 3 for $40.00 selections. It included an appetizer, dinner and dessert. As I “point around” on Weight Watchers during Restaurant Week I ordered the special, stuffed flounder without a salad or dessert. We were incredibly tempted however, to order the Fried Brie appetizer special that was served with Heirloom tomatoes, and it was simply fabulous.
Somehow in a world of ‘no substitutions’ the three folks that ordered the 3 for $40.00 meals were able to substitute the chopped salad (my husband’s favorite), for the simple greens salad that was offered. He rationalized that both salads on the menu were the same price, so “Why not?” Well done.
The entrees were spot on. Three Filets were cooked exactly as ordered, no if ands or buts. Accompanied by mashed potatoes and summer squash they were simple, yet delicious. My Stuffed Flounder served with butter beans and broccolini (my substitute for grits), was outstanding. It was also lunch the next day.
|Southern Strawberry Shortcake|
The desserts chosen were the Chocolate Pate and the Southern Strawberry Shortcake. Only I had the lone non-point empty plate for dessert, and was content with dinner and did not want anything else. I have to mention that we were having such a great time and the food was so good we actually forgot to take pictures until dessert arrived.
Throughout our meal Darryl stopped by and was truly charming and gracious. When I substituted the broccolini for grits he later came back and asked me why I didn’t want to order the grits. He mentioned that his “real treat” during the week was having dinner with his mom on Sundays and that grits were her specialty. Although I haven’t acquired a taste for them, the conversation alone made me want to join him with his mom one Sunday and give it a go.
This personalized service and excellent food sets Hall’s apart from the competition. By far this is my favorite restaurant in Charleston. But $22.00 for Fried Brie? Really?
We gave Halls Chophouse 5 out of a possible 5 plates.