Thursday, January 19, 2012

Peninsula Grill, Charleston, SC

Five Plate Rating Only Because I Don't Go Up To 6!

If your budget allows for only one restaurant visit during restaurant week Peninsula Grill is the place you should chose. The restaurant is a "wow" on many levels.

As we entered we were quickly greeted by the hostess and maître d' who warmly welcomed us.  I was pleasantly surprised when we were escorted to our table and it was a roomy 4-top.  (You may have read about one of my pet peeves being the oh-so-small tables for two...). No question we were off to a great start.

The restaurant is moderate in size, warm and inviting.  As I glanced around I noticed a "sea" of servers, bartenders and bussers all poised and ready to serve.  Years ago the "service standard" was depicted through the mission statement of the Ritz Carlton - "Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen" and by the time our evening was through, the Peninsula Grill seemed like a page right out of their playbook.

Our server approached the table and asked if he could interrupt us. He then addressed my husband by his last name and asked if he had pronounced it correctly.  That personalization was a nice touch.  He took our drink order and said he'd be back to review the "going's on" for the evening.

We were on the fence if we were going to order from the regular menu or from the Restaurant Week selections, so our server took his time reviewing both.  I asked him if the restaurant embraced the idea of Restaurant Week.  He explained that they felt that it was a great opportunity to bring in new customers that might not have been there before.  He also mentioned that based on year over year numbers, (he helped "with the books"), that financially it was beneficial for them to participate as this would typically be a slow time of year without it.

After his detailed description of both menus we chose the Restaurant Week menu.  Even after many visits to restaurants during the various Restaurant Weeks, I still can't get over what a great deal it is.  The entrees on the dinner menu range between $29 - $39 so at 3 courses for $40 how can you go wrong?

As our server completed taking our order he picked up our plates explaining that "this would signal that it was time to bring us fresh bread." We would find that our entire evening was just like this, a well-orchestrated ballet.

In the blink of an eye our appetizers arrived.  The Trio of Soups - Lobster Corm Chowder, Mushroom Bisque and Heirloom Pumpkin Soup were incredible.  The Lobster Corn Chowder was a creamy, silky blend brimming with fresh lobster meal. The mushroom bisque was a heavenly puree with small bits of mushrooms left in for good measure.  The Heirloom Pumpkin Soup, although not our personal favorite, was velvety and rich in flavor.
Trio Of Soups
To quote my husband, "It's all I can do not to sop the rest of this soup with my bread." Oh, and the bread and butter... perfect.

The "Tangle of Garden Greens" was dotted with fresh goat cheese and purple and red beets.  The pickled local shrimp had just enough zing to make the taste that much more interesting.  I was already won over by this place and we were only on the appetizers!
Tangle Of Garden Greens
Before we knew it our dishes were cleared and our entrees were served.  No creative, multiple-plate carrying in this place.  One entree is carried by one person and gently set in front of you, what a nice touch!

The Braised Beef Short Ribs served with English Pea, Wild Mushroom, Smoked Bacon Risotto, Porcini Cabernet Jus were fall-off-the-bone tender.  Again, my husband had picked a winning dish.  My dish, not-so-winning.  The Boneless Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop was presented beautifully but unfortunately, it was over cooked and difficult to cut through.

Reluctantly I asked the server if he could take it back, which he did.  He also returned my husband's dish so that we could, "Enjoy dinner together."  Soon I saw three people huddling around my dish by the kitchen inspecting it like something from a CSI episode.  The maître d' then came by, apologized and said that our dinners would be served in two minutes, which they were and both were perfect. 

The kitchen had prepared fresh dishes for us both. My Pork Chop had Creole Whipped Potatoes, Braised Local Greens topped with a Roasted Shallot Au Jus. The Pork Chop was as tender as it could be and I was glad to have sent it back.  The second time around was the charm. 
Boneless Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop

Braised Beef Short Rib
The server stopped by after one bite again to apologize and to make sure that everything was, "to our liking", which it was.  I was blown away by the speed and professional style in which this was handled.  More restaurants could take a lesson on recovery from the team here.
Florida Orange Napoleon

Chocolate Cherry Torte

No surprise that our desserts were outstanding.  The Chocolate Cherry Torte was a multi-layer mousse-like concoction that was not too sweet and as light as a cloud.  The Florida Orange Napoleon was a Light, Crispy Housemade Puff Pastry with Citrus Infused Custard, Fresh Strawberries and Orange Creamsicle Sauce.  It tasted exactly as it was described.

By far Peninsula Grill is one of the best restaurants I have been to in Charleston, and one of my new all-time favorites.  Don't wait... make your reservations today.

We gave the Peninsula Grill our highest rating a 5 out of a possible 5 plates

Peninsula Grill on Urbanspoon

Zagat Tags;
#tidal #restaurant


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