Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Ordinary Fancy Seafood Oyster Hall, Charleston SC

Pricey And Not So Ordinary 
I am certain that I was not alone in anxiously awaiting Mike Lata’s (Fig Restaurant, Iron Chef, Can’t-possibly-win-another-cooking-award-if-tried, you get the picture), new restaurant on upper King Street – The Ordinary Fancy Seafood Oyster Hall. 

Although they had planned for a fall opening, they just opened last week.  The restaurant, a former bank (the vault still intact), has kept the look and feel of the bank with large, 12 foot windows and incredibly high ceilings. 

The mezzanine level, which had just opened the night we went, provided excellent views of the entire restaurant.  Our server actually said, “If I could choose any table to be seated at it would be this one.”  We casually watched the evening go by as we perused the menu. 

True to its’ name if you don’t like seafood you’re out of luck at The Ordinary. It’s all seafood all the time.  Not a bad thing, but if you’re looking for an alternative, it’s not available.

The food quality, not surprisingly was outstanding.  The Baby Collards Caesar Salad was incredible. What an interesting use of collards.  The dressing took away some of the bitterness of the greens and the white anchovies were terrific.

The Pissaladiere, an appetizer recommended by out server, who, by the way, way terrific, was a caramelized onion tart that was sweet, delicate, light appetizer that we all enjoyed. One of the evening’s specials, the Swordfish Ceviche was incredibly fresh and an unbelievable combination of flavors.  

Swordfish Ceviche
Needing a quick snack we also ordered two orders of the Sea Salt Potato Chips.  At $5.00 it seemed a bargain, but once delivered each order only had about 12 chips and little salt. This was the start of seeing that The Ordinary, though tasty, was very pricey.
Sea Salt Potato Chips
Our dinner included a Crab Cake (which included a salad and dessert for $30.00), arguably the most economic dish of the evening.   
A great salad preceded two fresh full-o’crab, crab cakes. These are very different from the panko crusted traditional crab cakes and a nice change. These cakes were light, fresh and hearty. It was also served with an apple tart that the table shared and thoroughly enjoyed.

Crab Cakes
The Ordinary Lobster Roll advertised in their on line menu for $22.00 was actually on their in-restaurant menu for $25.00.  My husband and I have lived in New England for many years.  It is common to pay $12.00 - $14.00 for a lobster roll in the summer.  But $25.00 for a lobster roll on a hot dog bun with chips - $25.00!! Are you kidding me?
Lobster Roll
Our server told us that it was “well over a half pound of lobster meat”, but based on the portion, it just didn’t seem feasible.  Although it was awesome, it was still a bit pricey. 

Our friend ordered the BBQ White Shrimp.  He’s a guy that likes hearty meals and may have taken a wrong turn here.  The five, very messy peel ‘n eat shrimp were an appetizer at best.  Though tasty, the dish left a lot to be desired.
BBQ White Shrimp
Both of our friends also ordered New England Fish and Grouper Chowder.  Although served in a “bowl”, the serving was a cup of chowder at best.  For $12.00 we had a bit of sticker shock.
Fish Chowder
Everything seems to be down sized with large prices at The Ordinary.  Draft beer, at 10 oz., yes, just about a Dixie Riddle Cup of beer, is priced at $7.00 - $12.00 a glass.  Wine is also served in a small portions for $8.00 – $12.00 a glass. 

Although I may be na├»ve in my pricing of a seafood appetizer, The Ordinary’s Triple Shellfish Tower came in at a rousing $125.00.  It made me smile to think that I had paid $150.00 for my first car.  I’m just sayin’.

We gave The Ordinary 4 out of a possible 5 plates.

The Ordinary on Urbanspoon


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