Sunday, October 30, 2011

Next Door, Mt. Pleasant, SC

Looking For Great Things In The Future

I am fortunate to be able to work a bit at the Low Country Food Bank in N. Charleston.  When the chef there, Chef Ortega recommended a Next Door I couldn’t wait to go! 

First, I would like to say that Chef Ortega does some incredible things for the community, including feeding thousands of people a day.  She inspires me each time I work with her and we are blessed to have her helping out in the Low Country.

“Next Door” is the sister concept to Red Drum, another restaurant on Coleman.  Although not exactly next door to Red Drum I guess they figure its close enough.

Lounge Area
Although I’d never been to Samos (the restaurant that occupied the space before Next Door) , I‘ve been told that on the inside not a lot has changed.  This is more than AOK as the outdoor patio and interior space is very warm and inviting.

We went to dinner with another couple and as we started our meal everything was awesome.  It wasn’t very crowded and our server was very friendly and attentive.  Fresh hot bread and soft butter landed at our table in no time.

The appetizers we split were the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and White Pizza with Speck Ham, Chippolini Onions and a Lemon Basil Pesto.  Both were to die for.  The soup was a light, blended puree topped with candied walnuts.  The soup was so good that our friends are planning on serving it at their Thanksgiving soiree.
Butternut Squash Soup

White Pizza With Speck Ham
The pizza was enough for the four of us to share although I am certain none of us wanted to do so!  We chatted about coming back and having appetizers at the bar and just ordering that, it was so good.

Sadly, after that the wheels feel off the bus service wise.

It appeared that they were very understaffed.  We saw our waiter everywhere – outside, inside, everywhere but at our table.  The restaurant got full quickly and it then went downhill even more.

After placing our order it must have taken at least 45 minutes for our meal.  At one point we ordered a few more drinks and it took a good 15-20 minutes to receive those as well.  It was painful.

At one point I did ask if there was “a sighting” of our dinner and our waiter explained to us that he had “recently” placed it, to us meaning that he was timing our dining experience on some clock in his head, which was crazy.

Be that as it may, when our dinner did arrive 3 out of 4 meals were incredible and one was a throw away. 

I ordered the Fettuccini with Clams dish and it was outstanding. What I like about Next Door is that you can order smaller portions, which I did and I still couldn’t finish it.  Whole belly clams, bacon, cream sauce… awesome.
Fettuccini, Toby's Clams, Bacon, White Wine, Cream, Soft Herbs
The Salmon was cooked perfectly and accompanied by ‘smashed’ potatoes and corn.  I haven’t seen a dish this pretty in quite some time.  Presentation A+ as was the taste.
Salmon With Smashed Potatoes
Our friend ordered the Seared Pork Chop ad I had pork chop envy.  This is one thing that I can never cook right and the dish served that evening was terrific.  Topped with a bacon Comfit and caramelized brussel sprouts and parsnips, it was something!  Next time we go there, this will be my dinner of choice.

Pan Seared Pork Chops
Then there was the Thai Style Beef Short Ribs served with Jasmine rice.  This was the only dish that didn’t impress us.  The ribs were overcooked, dry and flavorless and the rice was pasty. 
Thai Short Ribs
Although most of our meals were memorable our service wasn't.  We never really saw our server again and had to flag him down for our check.  This was a shame because I think the place has such potential and the menu is incredibly interesting. 

I do get that they’ve only been open a short while and have some growing pains to work through but having tables waiting for both food and beverages does not the best dining experience make.

We gave Next Door 3 out of a possible 5 plates.

Next Door on Urbanspoon
Zagat Tags;
#tidal #restaurant


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