After checking out the Bulletin Boards on Chowhound during the past couple of months I wish to report on my trip last week.
First off we had two "tourist" meals (means grade C in food and service) at the Noisy Oyster and East Bay Crab House. If you like good food and appreciate good service in nice atmosphere skip these tourist traps.
Better then average lunches were at the Saffron Bakery & Cafe, near the Aquarium, Diana's on Meeting Street & N. Market, and Josephs on Meeting Street next to the Gibbs Museum, and Jim & Nicks BBQ on Meeting St (locals told us it was the best in the city and I believ them after our visit), All four places had a lovely selection, excellent service and were local favorites we found out.
For dinner we really enjoyed SNOB on East Bay St. The menu selection was great, the service terrific and the food just out of this world. I asked the server how the oyster stew and ginger pear salad was prepared and it a few minutes the receipes were hand delivered to us. The prices were very reasonable for the quality of this restaurant. You knew that you were in for a special meal as soon as you walked in to the place.
The restaurant that really impressed us was Cru Cafe on Pickney St. This is a small place (maybe seats 25 +/-) that you would walk by if you hadn't been told about it. The first visit (we had to go back again before leaving Charleston) was a chicken breast stuffed with cheese and jabalano pepper, rolled in panko, flash fried then roasted. Served split open with wonderful au gratin potatoes and veggies. To finish the meal I ordered the cheesecake with strawberries. This was a dessert I hadn't tasted in 45 years. Not your average or even great New York or Chicago cheesecake, Much, much better.
Upon our second visit to Cru we had double cut pork chops that you could cut with a fork they were so tender. The seasoning was terrific that it gave the whole dish a fresh new taste. The Chef de Cuisine, Ryan Sullivan had heard that I had loved the cheescake on our prior visit so he came over to introduce himself and describe how it was made. He went on to tell us about his terrific crew in the kitchen, where the different menu ideas came from and how pleased they have been with the reception from all the locals in Charleston. Cru got it's start as a catering operation and is considered the #1 caterer in the city. Ryan went on to say that SNOB was their biggest competitor. This is a place not to be missed if you want the very best in Charleston.
I really appreciated all the help from the postings on Chowhound. It made my job so much easier. I have to assume that people who post and read the postings are serious about food and have fun finding the very best in their travels