Nitsuh Woldemariam wasn’t especially fond of plain ayib, the crumbly fresh cheese that’s a staple of Ethiopian cookery, so she started mixing it with threads of spicy collards. It’s an inspired addendum — the bitterness of the greens lashes the sourness of the granular white cheese — and speaks volumes about Woldermariam’s sharp kitchen instincts.
For many Charlestonians, just having an Ethiopian restaurant in town would count as a victory. Yet Woldermariam’s Ethiopian Taste Food & Coffee (which I discovered by eavesdropping on a tweet from @CharlestonFood) isn’t a mere quota-filler: The restaurant, which opened last week, is serving up accomplished dishes likely to please longtime fans of the genre and convert eaters new to the cuisine. Continue reading “Charleston Gains First Ethiopian Restaurant — And It’s Good” »
Two months after declaring “the culinary team is in flux,” Republic Reign has settled its chef challenges by downgrading its kitchen.
“Republic is moving forward with less of a spotlight on its kitchen and more of a focus on the overall experience,” writes Grace Newland, publicist for the concertedly swanky King Street lounge which opened this spring.
Republic’s opening chef, Ben Harris, in October left the restaurant for a chef position with SERG Restaurant Group’s forthcoming Poseidon Coastal Cuisine and Rooftop Bar in Hilton Head. The following month, Newland reported that Republic’s owners were conducting interviews for his replacement. Continue reading “Republic Abandons Culinary Ambitions; Declines to Hire Chef” »
If the design firm charged with “refreshing” Magnolias is successful, patrons won’t be taken aback by any of the changes they notice when the restaurant reopens in February after a monthlong renovation hiatus – unless they use the bathroom.
“The restrooms are going to be completely changed,” promises Bill Johnson, the Charleston native who heads up The Johnson Studio. “The restrooms were very, very plain.”
Beyond the restrooms, the tweaks will be less dramatic. The dining room will gain “softer seating to make it more comfortable,” and its acoustics will be upgraded to reflect contemporary technology. An antique mirrored wall with sconces and a banquette will be set against the back wall. Still, Johnson predicts guests will be struck mostly by the “crisp and clean” look of the spruced-up space. Continue reading “Magnolias Plans Monthlong Closure for Renovations” »
S&S Cafeteria is wearing its holiday best for its reopening tomorrow, a restaurant spokeswoman says.
“After two months of intense renovation due to a fire, we are excited to be able to invite all of our friends and customers to come in and enjoy our delicious Southern meals,” Rita Kiser writes.
Kiser is urging patrons to “dine in and relax in our renovated facilities, complete with Christmas decorations.” (Although she adds that the take-out shop is reopening too.)
The area’s last surviving cafeteria, S&S Cafeteria on Oct. 2 was badly damaged by an early morning laundry room fire. General manager Mike DeLaney initially forecast the restaurant would require a few weeks to rebuild, but it took months before loyal customers were given another crack at deviled eggs; broiled chicken livers; ambrosia and turnip greens. Continue reading “S&S Cafeteria Reopens Two Months After Damaging Fire” »
Barsa executive chef Cole Poolaw today announced the hiring of a new sous at his tapas bar could herald the exploration of “more exotic ingredients,” but James Burge says patrons shouldn’t brace for baby eels and fried quail eggs just yet.
“There’s nothing too exotic on the menu,” says Burge, who launched a reformatted menu when he last month joined Barsa’s kitchen crew. “It’s still very familiar. We still have paella, we still have meats and cheeses.”
The menu does feature a few new plates, including a pan-roasted red snapper with salsa verde; a grilled hanger steak and migas served with a fried egg. Burge – who wasn’t aware of any established items being axed — says he anticipates tweaking the menu in response to the availability of local products. Continue reading “Barsa Hires New Sous Chef” »
Someone else’s bowl of jajangmyeon/ stu_spivack
After months of fending off anxious queries from eaters hungry for bibimbap, Kenny Tyler is finally on the cusp of opening Sunae’s, a fast-service hibachi and Korean grill. If the planning department approves it, the John’s Island restaurant will start serving on Wednesday.
“All I hear is ‘when are you going to open?’,” says Tyler. “At the new Bi-Lo, even at the Publix on Savannah Highway, everywhere I go, it’s ‘When are you going to open? What’s the holdup?’”
Tyler says it took three months to convert the 1766 Main St. storefront which previously housed Billy Dee’s Premium Chicken; the fried chicken shack closed in 2011. After “DHEC came in and tore it up,” Tyler had to update the space to comply with current building codes.
“That wasn’t no picnic,” he says. Continue reading “John’s Island Welcomes First (Partially) Korean Restaurant” »
Puree Cafe, the Mt. Pleasant vegetarian restaurant which last month launched a last-ditch effort to attract more customers, is closing on Saturday.
“Puree will be closing indefinitely at the end of this month,” owner Jenan McClain wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “We are in talks with multiple angel investors and we’re hoping to continue or re-open. We started on one family’s budget, which has proven to not be enough.”
Although Puree was popular with diners who appreciated McClain’s commitment to using only organic ingredients, many customers couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t serve Coke.
“A lot of people in the South don’t even know what a GMO is, so it’s been a real educational process,” she said last month. Explaining her decision to enhance dinner service with a dedicated menu and organic cocktails, she added, “We’re not in danger of going out of business, but it’s got to get profitable at some point.”
Continue reading “Puree Cafe to Close This Weekend” »
Gorman E. / Yelp
If construction stays on course, Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen could be open by Christmas, one of the biggest days on any Chinese restaurant’s calendar.
Owner Karalee Nielsen Fallert, formerly of Revolutionary Eating Ventures, is aiming to open the 1700 square-foot restaurant at 218 President Street between Dec. 19 and Dec. 31. She says many of her current customers are anxious to try Lee Lee’s sweet-and-sour pork, Mongolian beef and salt-and-pepper shrimp.
“They’re coming from places where there are multi-ethnic cuisines,” Fallert says. “And that’s an area where we still lack, big time. From the time I came to Charleston 13 years ago, I realized we didn’t have great Chinese food here.”
Fallert’s now trying to rectify the situation by importing the kitchen crew from a recently-closed Chinese restaurant on the outskirts of Seattle. The restaurant belonged to Lily Lai, an ethnically Taiwanese chef; Fallert worked under Lai in Salt Lake City, and has always wanted to partner with her on a project. Continue reading “Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen Imports Chinese Restaurant Cooks From Seattle” »
As first reported by Eater Charleston, Husk last Friday night fried up a test batch of chicken. Unfortunately for fans of the dish who weren’t tuned into the right Twitter feed, there’s no telling when the chicken will appear again.
“The fried chicken may make some surprise appearances on the Bar at Husk menu, but it will not be a scripted or weekly occurrence as it is in Nashville,” says Husk’s general manager Dan Latimer. “In Charleston, if we have it again, the production will be limited, not on a specific day, and will most likely be in the same vein as Friday, where we hit social media and see what happens.”
At Husk Nashville, fried chicken is the centerpiece of Tuesday’s $12 plate lunch. The restaurant this month debuted a rotating menu of meat-and-twos, available on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. In addition to chicken, Husk Nashville is serving roast beef, meatloaf, catfish and pork chops. Continue reading “Missed Husk’s Fried Chicken on Friday? Too Bad.” »
A four-year old Johns Island restaurant is picking up where Austin’s Food & Drink left off, returning breakfast and lunch to the pint-sized nook at 116 Spring St.
“I don’t think she had the concept of what people wanted,” Sunrise Bistro co-owner Jessica Welenteichick says of the café which this fall failed after a few short months. Welenteichick and her partners acquired the 14-seat restaurant in a turnkey deal, with plans to open Sunrise Bistro Express by early 2014.
“That lady, she was like an interior decorator wanting to go into restaurants,” Welenteichick continues. “We’ve built ourselves a reputation.” Continue reading “Sunrise Bistro Takes Over Tiny Cafe on Spring Street” »