Carolina's is set to serve its last meal this weekend, severing one of the city's tangible connections to its culinary past.
The 27-year-old downtown restaurant is at the Exchange Street address that previously belonged to Perdita's, a Frenchified dining room once considered among the nation's best.
From 1953 until the 1980s, the handwritten menus at Perdita's showcased broiled oysters, foie gras, flounder fillets, truffles and pufferfish tail.
"I have wonderful memories of being at Perdita's for my first Pouilly-Fuisse and escargot, maybe a little Chateaubriand," Elizabeth Boineau told The Post and Courier's Teresa Taylor in 2011.
The New York Times' Craig Claiborne paid a visit to the restaurant in 1967. He was disappointed by the lukewarm lobster tails, but deemed the she-crab soup "delicate and estimable."
When Chris Weihs and Franz Meier launched Carolina's, they reserved a few menu slots for iconic Perdita's dishes, such as Fruits de Mer.
While the seafood platter no longer featured lobster dainties and crabmeat Remick - the Charleston City Paper in 2010 described it as "more of a bouillabaisse-like seafood stew, with a hearty selection of shellfish served in a big bowl of thyme-infused broth" - it harked back to an era when the chandelier-lit room drew attention from as far away as Paris.
While it's possible another elegant restaurant could take up residence at 10 Exchange St., it's unlikely. As Carolina's first chef, Donald Barickman, last week told The Post and Courier's Abigail Darlington, "The movement of fine dining to Upper King Street (has) pushed everybody in the opposite direction a little bit."
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