Friday, January 13, 2012

The Library Restaurant at Vendue Inn

Another Hidden Gem!

When I started to write about Charleston restaurants I wanted to find a few “hidden gems” in the area.  I believe that I’ve just found one…

We began our “Charleston Restaurant Week” adventure at The Library Restaurant at the Vendue Inn.  We’ve not eaten here before and the menu looked intriguing.  Not knowing much about the Inn we really didn’t know what to expect.

When we entered the restaurant we were greeted by an upbeat hostess and immediately seated.  The restaurant itself is tiny, seating barely 30 patrons, but it’s without a question worth the trip.

We looked over both the regular and Restaurant Week menu and landed on the Restaurant Week choices.  Not only did they look like a good deal but they were spot on for our palette!

For starters we were served a small demitasse cup of squash bisque.  This was totally unexpected and simply delightful.  This was then accompanied by a just-from-the-oven fresh, hot rosemary popover served with cinnamon butter. It was incredible.
Squash Bisque

Rosemary Popover With Cinnamon Butter

For our first course we decided to each order a different menu selection and share them.  Once they arrived however, there wasn’t much sharing in the offing.

The Burratta, (homemade mozzarella stuffed with ricotta cheese) and artichoke salad was, like the other items we were about to receive, a nice surprise.  Faux caviar consisting of balsamic and pomegranate gel dotted the cheese and both the presentation and taste were outstanding.

The Duck Confit in Chive Crepe was an interesting combo of culinary delights.  The crepe was light, airy and incredibly flavorful. The duck itself… forget about it, it was great.
Burratta and Artichoke Salad

Duck Confit Crepe
How was it that I had never heard of this place before? I have to admit that I was less than impressed with the ambiance of the restaurant itself and after being seated did not expect the many tasteful surprises we received.  The chef himself delivered many of the dishes and if he didn’t deliver your dish, he stopped the table to make sure everything was to your liking.  What chef does this anymore?

Our dinner entrees arrived quickly and looked amazing.  The Beef Cheek Bourguignon – Beef Cheeks braised in Red Wine, Root Vegetables, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, En Croute was stellar.  The Beef Cheeks were incredibly tender and flavorful.  The presentation of the “En Croute” was a small piece of lightly baked pastry that garnished the dish.  The Gnocchi were enough to rave about.  I could hardly wait to try my dish!
Beef Creek Bourguignon
The Veal Braciola is one of my all time, favorite entrees.  I rarely see it offered and jumped at the chance to order it.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

The Braciola itself was overdone and not really edible.  The House Made Pepper Pasta was starchy, sticky and salty. The Wild Mushroom Bolognese may have been missing, since the pasta was served plain. 
Veal Braciola
To the chef’s credit he did stop by when our dishes were served and asked if everything was to our liking.  Since I hadn't tried my entre by then it was actually too soon to respond, so we didn't have a chance to say anything, or ask for something else.

Although our food was really very good (with the exception of my veal), our service was spotty at best.  There was a very large table of about 18 people in the bar area that kept the two servers for the dining room very busy.  Our server came to check on us after my husband had finished his meal and mine remained almost untouched. We mentioned that the chef might want to know about our situation for the next round of customers, but I remained a tad hungry.

I am happy to say that our meal closed with a bang.  The Brulee Du Jour was a pistachio brulee that was quickly consumed and appreciated.  The Jelly Donuts with Strawberry Champagne Jelly were light and rolled in just the right amount of sugar.  The champagne jelly was a tad overpowering, so we stuck to the Beignets and were happy we did.
Jelly Doughnuts

Pistachio Brulee
Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to try new places and find your own hidden gem.  We’re glad that we did!  On to our next adventure this evening at Lana!

PS.  The Library Restaurant is offering a wine pairing to accompany each course for an additional $25.00 and the wine pours are generous.


We gave The Library Restaurant at Vendue Inn  4 out of a possible 5 plates. 


Library Restaurant at Vendue Inn on Urbanspoon

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