Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Charleston Cafe- A Hidden Gem

A few months ago I stumbled upon an ad for Charleston Cafe and at first it didn't attract me. It doesn't look like much on the outside and it only has a few parking spots. You can easily drive by it without noticing that it's there. That was me a few months ago, but the food I tasted at F.L.A.V.O.R completely changed my narrow point of view about them.

I decided to give them and try. And like i said before, it didn't look like much from the outside. I walked in and was pleasantly surprised. It made me feel like I was inside a boat. Everything is mostly blue and the wooden walls hang local art. The staff is very polite and attentive.

They are open for lunch from 11am to 2:30pm. They open back up for dinner at 4pm. They don't have their hours posted on the front of the building and they don't always lock their doors between lunch and dinner.

I showed up during lunch hours. I ordered the Pimento Cheese and The Trio. For the Pimento Cheese, I was expecting a traditional grounded cheddar cheese, pimentos, mayo and spices, but they serve it hot. I was slightly disappointed but, melted cheese always tends to make me happy. The cheddar cheese was bubbly, mild and had pieces of pimentos mixed in. It comes with fried pita chips for dipping and it was very comforting. The trio consists of half of the chef's daily sandwich choice, a cup of soup du jour, and choice of side. This specific day was the Tuna Melt on Marble Rye bread, the soup was Chicken Chowder and for the side I had Sweet Potato Fries.

Overall, the Tuna Melt was good. My only complaint was that it wasn't as creamy as I would have liked, but it wasn't dry either. It was seasoned very well and the pieces of celery and red onion were finely chopped. The pieces were so fine you couldn't see them but you knew they were there because of the crunch and taste.

As for the soup or chowder, it was a little too salty for my taste but still very delicious. It wasn't creamy but it had a pleasantly thick roux and the chicken wasn't dry. I hate soups or chowders that have dry, overcooked chicken. The chicken in this dish was still soft and tender.

I have to save the best for last. The Sweet Potato Fries were beyond superb. If you go to this restaurant, you must not leave without trying at least one. One fry will not be enough, so just go ahead and order your own. I don't know how they do this but these are lightly breaded fried wedges that are crispy on the outside and moist and creamy on the inside. I can honestly say that my taste buds fell in love with these fries. I was sooo happy. Their sweet potatoes are very sweet and they really don't need much seasoning.

Recently, I had the soup du jour which was sweet potato bisque. I had never heard of such a thing and when I tasted it, my taste buds yelled,:"Where have you been all my life!" Ugh, it was amazing. Deliciously sweet, creamy and popping with flavor.

I highly recommend this restaurant not just for the amazing food but also for the great service and attentive staff. if you happen to be in Surfside Beach, stop in and check them out. You might find me there.

Here's their website.

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