It comes as no surprise that Charleston, S.C., is once again welcoming several new restaurants to the already popular and bustling scene. Most of the new places are more casual and several are located off the peninsula — a much-needed relief. Here is a recap for those seeking out the new and exciting offerings of the city:
• Basico: It might seem like Basico is a daunting distance from downtown Charleston, but really it’s only a five-minute drive. Located in the heart of Jamestown Properties’ newest development Mixson in North Charleston and adjacent to the newly opened Mixson Bath & Racquet Club, Basico offers a menu not quite replicated anywhere else in the area. Sure, there are Mexican places and yes, you will find some similar food items at others, but the focus is spot-on to resemble a gourmet taqueria. There are snacks like the grilled butterbeans covered in pumpkin seed pesto or the peel-and-eat shrimp (be prepared to get a little messy with these tasty treats). The tacos are a favorite at $3 each and you can select from slow-roasted pork belly, braised beef, fried chicken with pickled watermelon rind, and braised heirloom beans. The "platos grandes" are hearty, especially the bone marrow with grilled bread and a micro salad, which might be too much poolside but perfect inside the open-air restaurant. The real highlight are the drinks, perfect to consume with friends by the pitcher. Margaritas, sangria, frozen cocojito, flights of tequila, and plenty of cerveza — any taste bud will be refreshed by the menu.
• Coda del Pesce: Chef Ken Vedrinski hit gold when he found this restaurant location late last year. With views that overlook the Atlantic Ocean, Coda del Pesce ("tail of the fish") is one of the few high-end places in the city that does so. Most of the dishes on the menu are fish and seafood items that you would find right in the ocean the windows overlook. All of the menu is fresh and flavorful. Vedrinski stays true to his Italian roots and all of the items on the menu are Italian inspired. Favorites include yellowfin tuna "arancini", crudo di pesce, burrata smoked salmon, and any of the fresh primi and secondi dishes on the menu that changes daily. Best of all the place is open seven days a week and features outdoor seating. Reservations are highly recommended.
• Fish House: One can expect a lot of sustainable seafood options at a place like Fish House, located on the Cooper River and led by chef Charles Arena (former chef of Boathouse Restaurants). The menu offers what you would think of at a typical seafood dive — hushpuppies, crab dip, and shrimp cocktail to start, she crab soup, items from the raw bar, and a steamer station and a market board featuring local fish fresh from the catch. Taking advantage of the location, the restaurant features a rooftop bar — the Bridge Bar (overlooking the Arthur Ravenel Bridge) and nautical lovers can pull up by boat and dock right next to the restaurant.
• Kitchen 208: Owners Linn Lesesne and Rick Widman know what they are doing when it comes to the hospitality industry. This power couple own one of the city’s most luxurious hotel companies, Charming Inns, whose roster includes places like the John Rutledge House Inn and Wentworth Mansion. They also own and operate Circa 1886, a four-star, four-diamond property that has racked up several prominent accolades over the years. So it was exciting to learn that they were converting their gravel parking lot on King Street and taking over some unused space at a nearby property to create a new casual concept Kitchen 208. Serving breakfast and lunch daily, the menu is quite creative with items like a local shrimp roll, a triple decker with fresh ground peanut butter and house jams, and waffles and chicken. All of the menu items are cleverly named after Charleston landmarks and events and the place is touting itself as King Streets only place for "great fare and fresh air."
• Warehouse: As its name reflects, this new hot spot served as a warehouse for Kahn Wholesale, a hospitality supply company, for the last 70 years. Located on Spring Street in the Cannonborough/Elliotsborough neighborhoods, Warehouse is within walking distance from places like The Grocery and The Ordinary. The owners strived to create an elevated neighborhood bar and the menu consists of small plates, bar snacks, charcuterie, and more. The pork rinds with pimento cheese (served in a Cheese Whiz style) and deviled eggs were a big hit opening week. Beverages are heavily focused on beers and craft cocktails and you can find a small wine list.
Under Construction: Several places are mere weeks or months away from opening. Some of the more highly anticipated hot spots include Bay Street Biergarten, Chez Nous, Egan’s Oast, Indaco, Pizza Desano, Scratch Taco Boutique, and Wild Olive Sullivan’s Island. Stay tuned to learn more.