I'm not thrilled with myself...I didn't try a single new place on this trip to Charleston.
As noted in my pre-trip plea, not much is opened on Sunday night. I described as best I could to my parents SNOB,Garibaldi's, Poe's and McCrady's...they picked Garibaldi's. I'm at a loss to describe my experience there...my salad was fine, my crispy flounder was good, as always, but somehow not as good as it used to be....like it might have been fried a little in advance and then sauced upon ordering. My Dad got the crab stuffed grouper, he didn't share. My Mom didn't like ANYTHING she saw on the menu, and ordered the scallops app and the razor clams app at my suggestion. I thought her razor clams were excellent, scallops sub par (she proclaimed them too spicy...i could not detect ONE note of pepper). The restaurant itself seemed very tired. This was a long-time favorite, but I think I've been there my last time.
Monday we went to FIG. It was delicious. I had the chicken liver pate, the polenta w/ asparagus and MORELS and ramps, and sides of rapini and farrro w/ corn and lima beans. Waitress suggested a gewertztraminer (sp?) which was perfect. My Mom actually liked her potato ravioli and her shrimp and raddichio salad. My dad had the grouper w/ clams, had to be forced to share (grouper was fabulous...just barely cooked and the perfectly seasoned).
By tuesday, it was clear I was going to have to make some changes in my planned feeding at either Bacco or Sienna. I didn't think I could stand another meal explaining what everything was on the menu to my parents (so no Sienna) or hearing my mother announce that "everything has cheese and garlic on it at Italian restaurants" (so no Bacco). I opted for Cru Cafe...thinking the setting would be less threatening than a more modern room, and the menu items more accessable. My trigger fish was very good , but not as good as my Mom's grouper. The trigger fish was served over a smear of corn purree on top of lima beans. Very , very good, and I appreciated actually having enough veggies. Mom's grouper was served on panzanella (" is there vinegar on this?") I started w/ tasty buttermilk fried oysters on salad. My dad had shrimp and pasta and again didn't share and didn't appear to like it.
At this point, I was torn between major irritation at my perfectly intelligent parents for being culinary Neanderthals who appear to think appetizers are for fools, sharing at the table is kinky, obvious garlic a deadly flaw, and a menu that doesn't offer shrimp and/or scallops fried and/or broiled a confounding disappointment..... and guilt because I had failed to please them w/ any of my choices. So....while ignoring the many mentions of "good restaurants on Shem creek", I latched on to my Dad's mention of Poogan's Porch, and we went there for early lunch on our way home yesterday.
Finally: everybody was happy. We arrived as they opened at 11:30. The biscuits were JUST out of the oven and HOT!. The cup of she crab soup we allowed ourselves (1-4 bites per person and left the rest on the table) was pretty good - not stellar, but pretty good. My shrimp Po Boy was also good/not stellar. Sweet potato fries were very good (I'm planning my heart attack for next Thursday) Daddy didn't complain much about the shrimp and grits, although he picked out the sausage and the peppers. Mom ordered her shrimp Po Boy grilled rather than fried and it was unfortunately way too salty.
So here's the weird thing: taken individually, their comments about their dishes were better at Fig and Cru than at Poogan's...yet they clearly enjoyed their meal better there. Just because the room was quiet and the food was conventional, I suppose. I think this effect must have something to do w/ why people go to chains...apparently some people want consistency and familiarity more than any other feature in a restaurant. Sigh.
Oh well, everybody (Daddy included) liked Modica Gelato! Thanks for reading!