The Dewberry Charleston

Henrietta's in The Dewberry Charleston is in the former federal building on Meeting Street. 

Q: I am looking for a nice restaurant in Charleston that serves a Christmas Day meal a la carte rather than a buffet. My husband only enjoys a salad when eating out and it's such a waste to take him to a buffet. Perhaps some would even allow me to eat the usually expensive buffet and let him order a la carte, a salad. Any ideas?

A: I’m not sure what you’re hoping to find in your stocking this year, but it sounds like you’ve steered well clear of coal: Many couples with split tastes for a small salad and big buffet would likely pay for one buffet meal and slip a few greens to the partner with the slighter appetite. So thank you for playing by the rules. (I know it shouldn’t have to be said, but it also can’t hurt to say it.)

Many of the area restaurants staying open for Christmas have filled all of their available seats: By mid-November, for example, Kiawah Island Golf Resort was warning that its dining rooms were “near or already sold out.” But other hotels (always the most reliable source of a meal on Christmas Day, since many Chinese restaurant owners now celebrate Christmas and enjoy taking the holiday off too) hadn’t reached capacity at press time.

Among the hotel restaurants worth considering is The Watch at The Restoration, which on Christmas Day is supplementing its standard midday menu with Yuletide selections, such as a crab omelet and prime rib Benedict. If you want to get started sooner with your festive eating, I had a lovely a la carte brunch at Henrietta’s in The Dewberry last Christmas, so can vouch heartily for its pastries and espresso drinks. And Barbadoes Room at The Mills House, which I recently found to be one of downtown’s unfairly overlooked dining rooms, is running a four-course prix-fixe menu from 2 to 8 p.m.

Beyond hotels, your choices include Poogan’s Porch and Poogan’s Smokehouse. The restaurants haven’t yet released their menus, but both are accepting reservations online at Also in the a la carte realm, both Magnolias and Blossom are planning to open from noon-8 p.m. Magnolias’ Christmas specials include turkey, ham and short ribs, while Blossom is adding prime rib and lobster to its menu.

In every case, reservations are essential. Merry Christmas!

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

Food editor and chief critic

Eating all of the chicken livers just as fast as I can.