Monday, January 21, 2013

All I need is salt, pepper, olive oil and pasta....

Our last Charleston Restaurant Week choice was by far the my dining partner exclaimed...
"The Grocery is Crazy Good!"  This was our first trip to The Grocery, on Cannon St., close to the corner of King St.  There is ample parking, and, just in case of a kitchen accident, the fire dept. is right across the street!  The staff was so incredibly nice, well informed and enthusiastic, that you wanted to stay after dinner to "hang out" with them.  Our server explained, in detail, all of our choices and returned often to check on us.
I was very pleased to find that The Grocery has non-alchoholic cocktail offerings- I had a pineapple juice, mint and ginger cocktail that was delicious and refreshing.  My dining partner had a very good beer, the Westbrook White Thai.  The bread served is baked at a new bakery on St. Phillip Street, and was a light brown sour dough that was almost spongy in texture.  We had seconds on that.
Our first course was a bright, citrus and bibb lettuce salad, with plenty of crunchy chickpeas.  The Greek yogurt vinaigrette was unusual yet intriguing.  We also ordered the Piglet Plate of the night, which on Saturday night consisted of two slices of sausage, salami, a wild pork shoulder concoction that was loose and fluffy and very good, pickled vegetables and brown mustard...all house made and all absolutely amazing in taste and texture.
For the entree, my dining partner ordered a tender but firm pappardelle ribbon pasta, generously covered with lamb ragout, feta cheese and a currant-almond relish.  It was one of those dishes that looked as good as it tasted and made me wish I had ordered it.....that is, until I saw my own entree.  My choice was the beef short rib, cooked to perfection, shredded, reformed and cooked again....the best short rib I have ever eaten.  It arrived on a bed of creamed farro which was firm to the tooth but creamy perfection.  The mushrooms and turnips were scattered throughout.  We also decided to order a side dish of roasted Brussels sprouts.  They were lightly grilled on the outside and just soft enough to melt in your mouth.  The sprouts were cooked with pecans, apples and sweet caramelized onions, and served in a bowl which we dug into like we had just been rescued from a deserted island.  As delicious as everything else was, the Brussels sprouts were just "over the top" good and I will definitely return to sample them again.
By now we were quite full and happy, but still wanted to try their desserts.  We thought, if their meals are this fabulous, what on earth will their desserts be like?  Amazing, of course.
We tried the banana pudding parfait with house made vanilla wafers, which actually tasted like graham crackers, which was a plus.  The pudding was light and smooth, topped with toasted meringue.  I barely got one bite before my dining partner got to the bottom of the canning jar it was served in.
My choice was the churros.  They were thin, crispy and very tasty, served like bamboo shoots sticking straight up out of a canning jar.  Three dipping sauces accompanied the churros...salted caramel sauce, creme anglaise and melted chili-orange chocolate.  I think that the salted caramel was my favorite, but to be sure, I had to try each sauce multiple times...and may have to return to The Grocery to try them again.
The Grocery...Crazy Good.

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