pitarepublicIt’s indisputable that I had a really lousy meal last Monday at Republic Reign. What’s unclear is who was responsible for it. Eater Charleston last Thursday reported that the razzle-dazzle watering hole, which looks like the backdrop for an MTV show shot in Miami, had lost its opening executive chef. But a publicist today was unable to say when Benjamin Harris left the five-month old lounge, meaning it’s impossible to know with certainty whether the poor quality of the food predicated his departure or resulted from it. Online clues point to the latter explanation: According to a Saturday update on Harris’ Facebook page, the 26-year old chef – who previously worked at Poogan’s Porch – has accepted a position with SERG Restaurant Group and is relocating to Hilton Head on Thursday. Publicist Grace Newland didn’t have any information regarding replacement plans. My meal at Republic included greasy fingerling potatoes crammed with duck confit; soggy French fries and whipped mascarpone presented as hummus. We didn’t order the local fish lettuce wraps after learning the local fish was tuna. “Tuna?,” I asked. “I know,” my server said sympathetically, adding that she wanted to press the chef on the choice but feared she’d be chastised for asking too many questions. (Of course, there are always black pots and black kettles in restaurant kitchens: When we later requested an itemized receipt, she handed me a ticket she’d fished out of the trash.) “The culinary team is in flux right now,” Newland writes, adding that menu updates are in the works.