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My Charleston Bites: The Ordinary

June 15, 2014

Having sampled some fabulous traditional Southern fare the first night at Hominy Grill, it was time to explore the lighter side of Charleston culinary scene.  We arrived at The Ordinary on King Street just as the sun was setting.  The sun cast long dramatic rays and shadows through the soaring windows of the grand restaurant, a bi-level space that was a temple to seafood.



It was still relatively early in the night but we were ready to dive in right away.  There is always room for oysters and wine.  The menu was made up of small plates on the left with hot and cold dishes and the larger plates on the right.  And the raw bar and shellfish towers were highlighted front and center in the middle of the menu.  This was where we started our journey with a plate of the Maine lobster minute ceviche.  Sweet tender medallions of lobster was dressed in a citrus vinaigrette with minuscule pieces of celery and jalapeno.  Absolutely stunning and a must order.



This was followed up by a selection of local oysters and Capers Inlet little neck clams.  The salad of razor clams came along for the ride.  Sliced on the diagonal, the soft fresh pieces of clams were tossed with paper thin pieces of fennel, apple and jalapeno.  The apple added a lovely sweetness and the jalapeno a herbaceous note more than heat.




While we were enjoying the oysters and clams, we suffered a bout of order envy as we watched our neighbors enjoy the Maine lobster cocktail.  We acted fast and managed to squeeze in an order before moving onto the rest of our meal.  Is it possible to ever regret lobsters?  Of course not and we pretty much jumped all over this the second it hit our table.



The smoked trout salad was a lovely salad made up of thick pieces of trout, wedges of eggs, fava beans and asparagus for a taste of spring.  Even though it was hard to get a bite that had every component in it, this was still a great dish.



The next few dishes arrived in quick secession.  While we appreciated the generous helpings of the jumbo lump crab, the toast points with green garlic aioli were just a tad too salty.




Only one appetizer from the hot section made it to our table.  The one that made the cut was the fried oysters were served with a generous helping of beef tartare.  Two of my favorite things together on one plate, the tartare was meant to be eaten as a sauce for the plump oysters.  Even though these might not have been the most plump fried oysters I have ever had, the beef tartare definitely made up for any shortcomings.



And finally, for a little greenery, we chose the kale bagna cauda.  The hearty leaves of kale stood up well against the salty flavorful bagna cauda and finished with a crumble of bread crumbs, these had the power to convert any kale skeptic.



Because the meal was so light, I didn’t hesitate to squeeze in a little sweet bite.  The vanilla bean panna cotta with strawberry consomme was light and refreshing.  This was summer personified.



Don’t be fooled by the name, The Ordinary was no ordinary oyster bar and should definitely be a must visit for any seafood lover in Charleston.  If not for the fabulous food here, the beautiful space built for the restaurant will impress and inspire.  At least it did for me.


The Ordinary | 544 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403 |

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