Q: Next week, my husband and I will be celebrating our 47th anniversary. We prefer not to spend more than $50 or $60 at a restaurant. We prefer seafood or steak. We do not mind going an hour or two out of town. We live near St. George. Any suggestions?
A: Happy anniversary! There are plenty of steak and seafood options in all directions, but the trick is finding a place within your budget. Many downtown Charleston restaurants now charge $50 for a single steak, never mind the drinks, taxes or tip.
In short, if you come to Charleston, you’ll likely have to sacrifice food, service or ambiance. For instance, you could pick up a pair of steak frites at Felix for $38, but the energetic cocktail bar doesn’t specialize in formalities. The experience might feel too casual for such an important occasion.
Or if you wanted to settle into a romantic-feeling nook, you could nab a table in the courtyards of Pane e Vino or The Shellmore (weather permitting!), but your budget wouldn’t quite cover steak. You’d probably have to settle for $20 pasta dishes in both places.
Downtown, your best option is probably Goulette, where the grilled hanger steak costs $25 and comes with fries and a salad. Plus, the room is usually quiet enough for conversation. But I think you’re better off avoiding Charleston’s high prices and vexed parking situation.
If your heart’s set on steak, it seems appropriate to mark an anniversary with the $34.95 Sirloin for Two at Breck’s Steakhouse in North Charleston, which consists of two 30-ounce cuts, potatoes and vegetables, so you might well consider it a Sirloin for Two and Tomorrow. Again, you won’t get a white tablecloth for the price, but the steaks are juicy, the service is great and all of the desserts are homemade.
Breck’s is approximately 45 minutes from St. George. Even closer to you is Carmine’s Trattoria in Walterboro, which Google Maps places 28 minutes away. At Carmine’s, you do get a tablecloth, as well as a flickering candle.
I haven’t eaten a full meal at Carmine’s, but the restaurant’s Facebook page claims Celine Dion’s mother recently stopped in for dinner, so clearly people with connections are fond of Carmine’s veal saltimbocca, shrimp specials and cannoli. Almost everything on Carmine’s menu is priced at $20.99 or less, so you shouldn’t have to spend too much of your celebration worrying about money. Have fun!