I have a love/hate relationship w/ Charleston dining. It's surely the best restaurant town in the state, but I'm always a bit disappointed. I find food that is good, but rarely anything that thrills me.
My previous best food experiences have been at Garibaldi's (the seafood, not Italian), Sermet's Corner, Il Cortile de Re, and McCrady's. I have been reasonably happy at Hank's and Fish.
I have recently spent a good bit of time surfing up websites for places that get good reveiews here. Why does every website in Charleston show pictures of food that looks like an early 90's squeeze bottle massacre?
Here are the restaurants I'm considering, and the reasons I can't get comfortable w/ a decision. Please help me out.
Anson - recommended by Gourmet, but I've walked by there before and thought it looked like God's waiting room + they use the word "chops" on the menu.
SNOB- a "southern" restaurant w/ Pad Thai on the menu
Penninsula Grill - great recs here, but on the website it describes the atmosphere as "clubby". Under steaks, they have the word prime in quotes, making me think they are trying to fake you off. I have seen the recipe for their coconut cake and I disapprove.
FIG - looks good, but seems to be very little seafood on the menu.
Coast - Lots of fish, but preparations look a little uninspired.
Circa 1886 - Menu looked pretty good, but is the atmospehre too frou-frou/special occasion-y/b&b precious/formal?
Hominy Grill - Looks good, great reviews, seems like I should do Sunday brunch rather than dinner, though.
(Magnolia and anything related are off the list from prior experiences.)
So, Hounds, where have I gone astray in my virtual criticisms, and where do you think I should eat? I run the risk of going back to one of the old standbys (except that my husband refuses to go to McCrady's again this trip). I have two dinners. Thanks!