Monday, July 9, 2012

Queen Anne’s Revenge, Daniel Island, SC

Sometimes You're Not Smarter Than The Recipe 

Commuting back from Boston this week I sat next to a very nice person on the DC to Charleston leg of the trip.  She was from Daniel Island and highly recommended Queen Anne’s Revenge.  She mentioned that the company that owns the restaurant Husk, also owns Queen Anne’s Revenge and that noted chef, Sean Brock has done a lot of work retooling the menu.  Although I’m not a fan of Husk, I thought it might be interesting to see what the chef had cooked up at the Revenge.

Before I say anything about the experience I wanted to mention that the service at the restaurant was very good. This included the hostess, the server and the manager who stopped by the table, actually very good.  And then the wheels fell off the bus a bit.

Inside Queen Anne's Revenge
Perhaps personal preference, but I had a hard time with the décor and the overall restaurant theme.  It’s designed to feel like you’re inside a pirate ship.  A large mask and pirate décor line the surroundings. It felt very dated and well, that ship has sailed.

If you can get past the boat-theme and feeling like you should be wearing an eye patch, then the experience here really wasn’t half bad. 

Our server suggested that we start with the BBQ Crostini.  At $5.00 for the appetizer we thought that this was a deal, and it was.  Four medium sized crostini were topped with incredibly tender BBQ beef and a cool mango chutney.  Delightful!! We thought we were on to something.

As we waited for our meals the restaurant filled almost to capacity.  I haven’t spent much time on Daniel Island, but who knew there were so many pirate fans?

BBQ Crostini
In any event our meal promptly arrived and one of the two dishes was very good. My husband’s Chicken Saltimbocca was a combination of a Pecorino Alfredo sauce over pappardella pasta with a very tender, sautéed chicken breast that was topped with Edwards Surryano (sic) ham.  He’s not a big pappardella pasta fan, but really enjoyed the dish.  I too, was impressed.

 Chicken Saltimbocca
After walking a good five miles that day I decided to treat myself to Pasta Carbonara.  Having living in Boston for many years and enjoying the delicacies of the Italian “North End”, made correctly this dish, as calorie-laden as it is, has to be one of my favorites. 

The menu description sounded like a fantasy – Benton’s cured ham, pecorino cheese, farm egg, parsley and Bucantini spaghetti and so order it I did!

Alas, not all fantasies come true.  My husband has a theory about following recipes.  Whenever he wants to deviate from a recipe and “add a little something”, he stops and often says, “I’m not smarter than the recipe.”  Someone should have said that to one of the line cooks that made my meal.

First, my dish was delivered cold.  It had more than died in the window, which was okay, as this  can be an easy fix. Our server quickly came over to check on us and rushed my dish back to the kitchen. She then returned saying that my pasta was being remade, something that I had expected, but you never know.
Pasta Carbonara.
As soon as my husband put his fork and knife down after his last bite, my dish arrived.  Not exactly the greatest dining experience, but again, just okay.  (Notice the “okay” theme???)

My dish was delivered by the manager who apologized profusely for the previous dish (a nice touch).  My carbonara, though right out of the pan had something that was amiss about it.  Why someone would ever add chopped asparagus to such a truly Italian pasta dish is beyond me.  Not being a fan of asparagus did not help the matter in the least.

Gone were my memories of walking through the “North End” on a warm summer night after enjoying a similar pasta dish and stopping for Italian cookies at Mike’s Pastry.  It was a shame too, since the lion’s share of the dish had the potential to be very good.

The adage is true, “You’re not smarter than the recipe”.

We gave Queen Anne's Revenge 3 out of a possible 4 plates. 

Queen Anne's Revenge on Urbanspoon


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