Monday, March 26, 2012

Two Boroughs Larder, Charleston, SC

Interesting Name, Interesting Restaurant

When people find out that I write this blog they usually ask me two questions.  What’s my favorite restaurant (currently The Grocery) and have you been to… and they name their favorite place.

In the course of about two weeks five people have mentioned Two Boroughs Larder, a restaurant that opened last August just outside of King Street.  All of them have said, “You’d love it there.”  So this was our restaurant of choice for a quick bite before a neighborhood event this evening. 

The restaurant is easy to find on Coming Street but parking is next to nothing.  We circled a few times and then found a spot.  We were lucky because it was Saturday and the Residential Parking only is lifted. 

About the name which to me is a bit confusing.  They are close to two Boroughs in Charleston, Cannonborough and Elliotborough.  Okay, that part is pretty easy, but what’s with the Larder?  In sleuthing a “Larder” on was defined as a “Cooling area to store food prior to use.  Larders were commonplace in houses before the widespread use of refrigerators.  Mystery solved.  Interesting stories but nowhere in the restaurant were these fun facts displayed and I think that could add value to your visit.

One site called the design of the restaurant “Industrial Chic” which I thought is spot on.  Refurbished wood and steel are creatively used to form tables, their “Family Table”, the bar and its stools.  Kitschy, but it works very well.

The owners also are all about sourcing local foods and respecting the food that they source, which is nothing new here in the Low Country, but still appreciated.

On this lazy Saturday we walked in for a very late lunch and there were a few people seated in the various tables.  We were told to sit where we wanted and got a great table by the window.  Our server quickly stopped by. 

No generic “diet coke” at this place.  I ordered a crafted lo-cal root beer and my husband got a Mexican Coca-Cola.  ‘Don’t know why the funky drinks, but they were good nonetheless.

There were two menus on the day we arrived.  A small, five item brunch menu and their regular, all-day menu.  Both were very interesting.  No meat and potatoes at this place!!  The menu is a unique combination of creative and just over the edge.

We took the recommendation of our server who recommended the Carbonara (only served with Brunch), and the Chicken Skin Fried Rice.  How unique is that??

And then we waited. And waited. And waited.  I don’t know how we get so lucky but with so few people in the restaurant, three line cooks on in a very tiny kitchen (visible from the dining room), why would lunch ever have to take 30-35 minutes?? It did though, unfortunately.

When it finally arrived the server said, “The kitchen says their sorry for the delay.”  Thank you, I thought, but after all this time this lunch better rock.

The Chicken Skin Fried Rice with Szechuan peppercorns, fried farm egg, Palmetto sweets, Mepkin Abbey mushrooms, peanut puree, Carolina Gold Rice and Togarashi (a Japanese Chili Sauce) was outstanding.  Crispy skins mixed with dark meat chicken and richly seasoned.  A real treat.  Then there was my dish.
Chicken Skin Fried Rice 

I was so disappointed. Carbonara is one of my favorite dishes and I rarely order it since it’s so laden with calories.  The server spoke so highly of it I couldn’t resist.  The last time I had it was in the North End in Boston, a true Italian section of the city and I can still remember it.

Meet & Eat Event
This Carbonara was made with Bucatini pasta (a thick spaghetti-like pasta), bacon and Grana Padao Cheese.  Right away it looked puny. Not for nothing but for $15.00 give a sister some pasta, this bowl was skimpy.

All in all the pasta was cooked perfectly but the sauce lacked flavor and it was very, very thin.  Slices of uncooked, unappetizing garlic dotted the bowl. I had to get up to find our server to ask for some salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.  I thought that it would help, but in hindsight it wasn’t much of an improvement.

I didn’t ask to have it “fixed” as I thought that this was their recipe and I would just get another duplicate version.

All ‘n all I liked Two Boroughs Larder and will give it another chance.  The atmosphere is funky and the service was good.  I just know to avoid the Carbonara.

They are having a dinner on April 11th which is 5 courses for $55, which actually sounds interesting and something that we might try. 

We gave 2 Boroughs Larder 3 out of a possible 5 plates.

Two Boroughs Larder on Urbanspoon


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