Monday, January 10, 2011

The Charleston Southern Sample

Start the New Year with a little southern hospitality – travel on the company dime with the boss? Damn the expense report, let’s do it.

I had the opportunity to travel to Charleston, South Carolina for business this past weekend and in being from New Jersey it could not be any more different. From the Mills House on Meeting Street there must be between 50 to 75 bars and restaurants within walking distance. When flying on a 50-seat commuter jet from Newark to South Carolina the first task at hand after de-planning is to find food and a cold beer. Find your way to Market Street – dive into any of the restaurants or bars on either side of the street which is divided by the long open air building that still houses day-time street vendors hawking all sorts of knick-knacks. As a late lunch I stopped into TBonz for a few beers and the scent of happy hour samplers wafting down the street.

4pm is the rough start of Happy Hour which calls for $2.50 pints of the home-brewed beers. I started with seasonal White Ale and followed by a darker more flavored Nut Brown Ale complemented by some ‘I’m definitely not in NJ anymore’ Country Fried Wings. Do not be misled by the bolding on the menu – while the wings were rolled in a multitude of spices and flour before being thrown into the fryer they left a bit more to be desired. At $9 a plate I was expecting a little more flavor that the small serving of country gravy did not fully embody. Lucky enough since cook time went over 10 minutes the manager came out and bought the wings for us – not that it mattered; this was showing up on an expense report anyway.

Post-4pm is hardly lunch time but I took the Shrimp Po Boy Sandwich since I was headed for a cocktail hour and a medium late dinner in a few hours. The shrimp was noticeably fresher than what I’m accustomed to but the spice combination seemed too close for comfort to the wing recipe. Luckily a self-blend of hot wing sauce and Thousand Island dressing was at hand in addition to serving of southern coleslaw. The lunch menu called for this to be about $8 which I found to be just about accurate.

80 North Market Street, Charleston, South Carolina.

Nothing particularly fancy about TBonz – stop in to enjoy the home brews and sample the food. Provides a nice ambiance but leaves a little yearning on the food side.