Ladybrille’s Moji Akinyemi [left] visits Charleston Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland to bring you the brilliant scoop on fine dining. Read on for her verdict on Charleston!
Stepping into the Charleston restaurant in the Harbor East area of Baltimore
you get an overwhelming sense of welcoming warmth created by the southern contemporary decor replete with an open style kitchen which is at once warm and inviting. The layout consists of three themed dining sections, the Palm Room, Wine Library, and the Main Dining Area which is at the heart of the establishment. The set-up exudes both an ambience of formality and intimacy which can readily lend itself to that odd intimate romantic dinner or a night out with colleagues.
We were seated in the wine library-wine cellar experience; our hostess kindly offered us a shawl given the cool temperature of the wine storage – ample time to admire the world class collection of wine on display. Our captain came over – he was charmingly attentive and gave an informing run down of the menu – and of course with such an impressive wine list, was in his element in recommending the ideal wine – Moscato D’Asti, Tintero (Piedmont) 2006 a sweet sparkling wine to get the ball rolling!
The style of the menu had a variety of food themes giving you the creative license to make your choice of your three to six courses or simply opt for the Chef’s “menu of the moment”. I chose to create my own menu – not one to miss on the opportunity to sample as much variety as possible!
First to arrive was the cornbread –– light texture; full of flavor – my favorite! Couldn’t get enough! With appetite truly whetted, we were treated to cornmeal- fried oysters courtesy of the chef – as an oyster first-timer, I am hooked! For soup, I had the shrimp-Andouille sausage-real grits soup. Being a meat lover I couldn’t resist the grilled bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin on brioche toast, served with fresh artichoke in bordelaise sauce for my entree – it was a treat! Beef was succulent, well-done, and tender. With such a good time being had, it would be a shame not to satisfy my sweet tooth – which was duly satisfied with the frozen citrus soufflé, tangerine sorbet & pineapple consommé!
On her “victory lap” taking in the adulation of satisfied dinners, Chef Wolf made a stop at our table for a brief chat. The restaurant was named after Charleston South Carolina where she spent her formative years. She attended the Culinary Institute of America,Hyde Park New York and is well-traveled, mainly around Europe an experience that has a major influence on her cooking style. She describes Charleston’s style as low country of South Carolina and regional France cuisine. Charleston has been in business for 11 years and continues to be one of the best upscale dining experiences in the Baltimore area.
The Charleston experience was a fulfilling one – great location, warm and inviting decor, titillating and stimulating meals, impeccable service from back to front of the service chain – I suppose no less to be expected from a southern- themed restaurant! Definitely a worthwhile experience – one I’m keen to repeat soon!!! Now all I need is to get to the gym to make up for my overindulgence!