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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fleet Landing Restaurant

186 Concord Street
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 722-8100
After four days of overindulging in BBQ and Southern meals, we opted for some fresh seafood at the conclusion of our trip. We had not researched Charleston as much as we would have liked, but we still had a few options laid out for seafood and Fleet Landing was opened for Sunday lunch, so it climbed to the top of our list. One of the few places with its own parking in downtown Charleston, Fleet Landing is a former naval building and although not tested on our visit, is hurricane proof. Set on the Charleston pier, we settled on a table overlooking the water.

$9 Half Dozen Chilled Oysters on the Half Shell (3)
Nothing special here, basic oysters served with crackers, lemon, and cocktail sauce. If school cafeterias served oysters, I'd imagine they would taste like the dish I had here. I was reading a Lee Bros. cookbook when I got back to L.A. and there was a recipe for a Sriracha buttermilk dipping sauce. Something along these lines would take this dish from the 1980's to the millennium in a heartbeat.

$13 Peel N' Eat Old Bay Spiced Shrimp-Chilled (5)
A little better than the oysters as these were seasoned with Old Bay. Old Bay is known to help seafood everywhere reach its full flavor potential and that's why I gave it a five.

$10 Bucket of Steamed Oysters (7)
More southern ketchup, can't wait. With the accouterments becoming beyond repetitive, a unique dish, like this one, was needed to get past this shortcoming. I eat seafood all the time, I grew up on seafood, I was born in the Carolinas, yet I've never had oysters in clusters. Shuck one oyster, flip it over, shuck another, turn it to the side, shuck another, and so on. There had of been 80 oysters in this bucket, albeit small subpar quality. Still the clusters were refreshing and was kind of cool to continue searching for every hidden mollusk.

$9 Fried Green Tomato “BLT” (7)
I enjoyed the Southern play on the traditional BLT sandwich with the substitution of a fried green tomato. And if that wasn't enough, there's applewood smoked bacon, gouda, and a roasted red pepper remoulade on foccacia. The highlight of the dish was a perfectly crisp fried tomato with the remoulade. The only flaw was getting short changed on the bacon.

Overall, not a bad meal, but I would assume Charleston has better and more innovative seafood than Fleet Landing. If it's not already, I'd imagine this place will became a tourist trap in the near future.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Peninsula Grill At Planters Inn

112 N Market St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-0700

$11 The Ultimate Coconut Cake (9)
As far as quality goes, it's up there. It could reign havoc in any Manhattan bakery. The fluffiness of the cake barely supporting the dense, rich coconut cream. My primary issue with the cake is, aside from pina coladas, I'm not much of a coconut lover. This could be on the majority of inmates' last meal request if they just replaced the coconut with peanut butter, chocolate, or even caramel.

The recipe is actually on Epicurious. I've included the link for your enjoyment.

The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene

106 Haddrell St
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 884-0052
An abandoned ship lied on Shem Creek in South Carolina for many years. In 1989, the wrath of Hurricane Hugo blew through Charleston and onward to Mount Pleasant. The eye of the hurricane passed right through the vessel demolishing any structure that had previously existed. That ship, the Richard and Charlene, was removed and has now become the site for one of Charleston's favorite seafood houses.

After being lost for about 20 minutes driving back and forth, passing the restaurant twice, we finally asked a passing car and he pointed us in the right direction.

$3.88 Fried Green Tomatoes (7)
To call this the best dish of the night says more about what was to come. It was however, a perfect fresh fry, just enough where the tomato still had a good bite and lightly seasoned.

$21.24 #7 Seafood Platter (5)
Fried shrimp, scallops, oysters & fish of the day, red rice, slaw, sivea beans, pup, fried hominy square
Again, the platter came freshly fried, which seems pretty basic. But numerous places fry at too low a temperature, over crowd the oil, or let it sit too long before bringing the food to the table. I would leave my positive reflections at that. Everything else is what you would expect from a southern Sizzler, soggy beans and dull red rice. The hominy was a slight bright spot.

$8 Deviled Crab (2)
I'm not sure I would be a fan of any traditional deviled crab. With fresh seafood, I'd go with the old cliche of less is more. Why take good crab meat mask it with breadcrumbs and then deep fry it.

$4.34 Banana Pudding (3)
At six times the cost of Sweatman's version, I would have expected a chunkier more homemade consistency. The quality tasted of a Jell-O box variety.

What 'The Wreck' has going for it is a lot of history, a locals charm, and the fortuitous celebrity plug. But for quality of food, you'd be better off going elsewhere to experience Charleston's culinary treasures.