The Ordinary has been lavished with love since its 2012 opening, but the perpetual complaint about the upper King Street seafood restaurant is "too pricy." Starting this month, though, eaters can feast on three courses for $35.
In a salute to the genre of old-world taverns which lent its name to Mike Lata's second restaurant, The Ordinary is adding a weekly schedule of prix-fixe, three-course daily specials. The meal will be available until it sells out. A press release describes it as "fun, accessible and value-oriented."
The program made its debut Jan. 19 with a fish-fry theme. The standard Sunday menu features locally-sourced shrimp, oysters and fish cheeks, collars, filets (contingent upon what fishermen catch), battered in local cornmeal and buttermilk. The main course is accompanied by vegetables and fixings such as chow chow, slaw and pepper vinegar; diners have their pick of soup or salad to start. The $35 fee includes dessert.
Also on rotation: lobster rolls on Tuesday, schnitzel on Wednesdays, Caribbean fish stew on Thursdays, steamed lobster on Fridays and prime rib on Saturdays.
So what will The Ordinary's detractors complain about now? Here's betting I hear more about the restaurant's elevated noise levels, especially since diners can't be faulted for clamoring over a deal like this one.
For more information on the day's special, referred to in-house as The Ordinaries, check out the restaurant's Facebook page or Twitter feed.
If you missed Kevin Johnson's turn at the helm of Outstanding in the Field, the roving supper party that first popularized upscale on-farm dining, you can catch up on his performance via The Chew's online site.
The Chew, ABC's afternoon cooking and lifestyle show, earlier this month screened a Lowcountry segment centered on Johnson's Oct. 3 meal at Thornhill Farm. The menu from The Grocery's chef included braised tilefish with Carolina gold rice Hoppin' John, lamb with okra and tomato gravy and a salted peanut and sorghum swirl ice cream.
The show premiered on Jan. 21. Go to http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/episode-guide to watch.
Poogan's Porch's is again touting its annual price rollback, featuring markdowns that would make most Restaurant Week participants blush.
Grilled mahi mahi, typically priced at $25, will be sold for $11.50 during the promotion; a $23 salmon and $22 shrimp and grits are each available for $11.99. Prices on soups and salads are also slashed, with a $10 alligator salad going for $4.99.
The rollback menu is available nightly until Feb. 13. Reservations are recommended.
Charleston is notably short on Lunar New Year events - best as I can tell, the nearest Lion Dance is set to unfold 92 miles away - but Xiao Bao Biscuit is marking the holiday with an all-Sichuan menu.
The Xiao Bao crew recently returned from Asia with a stash of hua jiao, or Northern Chinese peppercorns, gifted to them by a restaurant owner who was awed by their respect for traditional cuisine. The fragrant, floral peppers, which tickle the tongue until it's mildly numb, will form the backbone of tomorrow night's lineup.
Chef Josh Walker describes the peppercorns as "amazing."
My first, brief experience at King Street Cookies, which last month opened just a few doors south of Calhoun Street, wasn't especially revealing: A baker emerged from the kitchen with a tray of fresh ginger snaps just before I was about to order one, so I ended up with a hot mouthful of butter and sugar.
Having spent the day eating oysters, I was happy for the sweetness, but the slim mass of melty pastry didn't help me deduce much about its true flavor or texture. And as for the dozens of other cookie types on offer, I still don't have a clue whether you should order red velvet or toffee crunch. What I could fairly determine was that I really liked the optional 25-cent cup of milk add-on (the bakery has a summer camp-style self-service machine) and that King Street Cookies would make a great late-night stop.
According to co-operator Harris Cohen, College of Charleston students came to the same conclusion: In response to their requests, the bakery recently extended its hours. King Street Cookies is now open every day from 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
"We are open to staying open even later too," Cohen says.
Cohen adds the bakery also is planning to start delivering cookies to campus and the surrounding area.
Although King Street's website isn't working yet, it has a functional Facebook page. Unfortunately, cookie varieties aren't listed.
While the menu at Michael's on the Alley skews High Steakhouse Classical, meaty developments from the century's first decade haven't been lost on head chef Aaron Lemieux. Diners at the brand-new restaurant will be able to saturate their steaks with house-cured bacon butter, or pair them with truffle fries and lobster mac-and-cheese.
More interesting, though, are the nods to current trends. Michael's, one of three new John Street restaurants from Holy City Hospitality, is offering a side dish of cauliflower gratin and a horseradish beetroot crust for folks who are serious about wanting their beef cooked pink.
Other menu options include oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, bone marrow, beef tartare, crab gratinee and a pair of salads prepared tableside. The steak selection features a ribeye, tenderloin, Kansas City strip and petite filet; prime rib is identified as "our signature entree." (At press time, prices had not yet been determined.)
As the Holy City team is quick to point out, the beef comes from Meats by Linz, a Calumet City, Ill., meat purveyor that supplies the steaks for Mike Ditka's mail-order steak service and Michael Jordan's Steakhouse, among other restaurants.
"That was a huge decision, and something we're very excited about," spokeswoman Whittney Prasek says of the sourcing.
Michael's decor matches the food: The two-level, wooden-walled dining room is done up in dark brown leather. Cut-out interior windows on the second floor provide a glimpse of the adjoining Victor Social Club, which is set to serve drinks and small plates. The airy room is decorated with stylized Art Deco-ish images of an action-packed fishing trip.
With 50 seats, Victor Social Club has one-third the capacity of Michael's. Like Michael's, The Social Club was scheduled to open Wednesday.
Vincent Chicco's, the third of the new restaurants situated behind 39 Rue de Jean, opened earlier this month. For more on its Italian-American menu, check out the restaurant's site, holycityhospitality.com/vincent-chiccos/.