Last night, Morgan and I participated in Charleston’s inaugural Dishcrawl Charleston. It’s a trendy idea that has apparently become quite popular in big cities and someone decided to bring to the Lowcountry. The idea is much like a bar crawl in which we paid $40 each and toured four different restaurants along East Bay Street and sampled cuisine from each. The catch was that we only knew the meeting location and none of the other restaurants….
First Stop: Carolina’s
The meeting location was at Carolina’s on Exchange Street. The Dishcrawl was supposed to start at 7:00, so we arrived around 6:45 to mingle and get some drinks. We didn’t know what to expect, but we soon found out that the plan here was to bring out some plates of appetizers and everyone go at them buffet-style. It didn’t work out so well. The servers brought the appetizers and set them on the same two tables each time. Everyone sitting at those tables got plenty of food whereas people like us got the scraps. We were able to snag a couple of hushpuppies, some housemade kettle chips, and one piece of pumpernickel bread with pickles and cheese. There was nothing really special about any of these foods. We looked at Carolina’s regular appetizer menu and think there are some better options, unfortunately, we didn’t get them. Everyone, including us seemed confused and a little annoyed at how Dishcrawl was working, but we hoped for more on our next stop.
Second Stop: ‘Cesca
Next, we crawled our way down East Bay to ‘Cesca; an Italian restaurant on Faber Street, near Market. This was a little different in that we walked in and there were plates already made up for everyone. We joked on the way over that we would probably get a ravioli and that’s it. Well, we weren’t too far off. We did get that ravioli, plus one parmesan fritter and some salmon ahi. This was a step in the right direction as we were all guaranteed food, however, due to the amount of food, everyone was done eating in about 5 minutes…. but we were scheduled to be there for 45. Quickly, everyone ended up at the bar waiting to kill 40 minutes. The food was good, and their actual menu looked good, but we waited around for a long time.
Third Stop: Lowcountry Bistro
When they annouced the third stop, Morgan and I got excited. You know from our Restaurant Week Review that we found Lowcountry Bistro to be a gem. Here, we were all seated in pre-set tables (the first time this had happened). Next, the owner came out and explained how it was going to work and the food we would be served. We got lucky and got their signatures- chicken and waffles (a sweet potato, bacon, cornbread waffle nonetheless) and fried green tomatoes with cheddar grits and shrimp. Delicious. We loved these meals the last time we were here and were not disappointed this time either. We finally got some sufficient food in our bellies and felt much better. Everyone seemed to relax at this point. It definitely seemed like most of our $40 ticket went to Lowcountry Bistro.
Final Stop- Kaminsky’s
There was a lot of speculation that Dishcrawl would end at Charleston’s most well-known dessert bar. We ended up being seated upstairs at T-Bonz because they are owned by the same people and there is very little sitting room inside actual Kaminsky’s. After we were seated, the staff brought everyone their apple struesel souffle with vanilla icecream and a small cup of apple cider. It was the perfect way to cap off the night. The apple spices were terrific and tasted great with the cold night air.
Had we been running the Dish Crawl, we definitely would have done things differently. Dishcrawl started at 7:00 and didn’t end until after 10:00. That’s pretty late, especially since we didn’t get any real food until 9:00. We suggest cutting it down to just three restaurants andhaving one location with strong and plentiful appetizers instead of two so-so, sparse appetizer plates. Also, cutting out one of the appetizer restaurants would have saved us an hour. This would have made the night much more manageable for dinner. Everyone was a little confused about how it was working and when we were moving on and if we would get more food. It could have been a little more explained, but overall, the experience ended up being great. We got to try food from four nice restaurants in the best foodie city in the south. I don’t know if we’d do it again, but the experience was worth it.
If you’re interested, there’s another dishcrawl scheduled for lower king in december! Click here to check it out.
Have you ever done a Dishcrawl? What was your experience?