This past Friday, my foodie bestie/ colleague Sydney (Queen of the Food Age) asked me to accompany her to Eli’s Table and of course I had to check it out. I had not heard much about Eli’s Table before attending other than it’s kind of fancy and serves classic Southern fare with a little twist to it, but I was excited to check it out.
southern hospitality at its finest
As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by the maitre d’, Raymond. Raymond was a character to say the least and you could really tell he was passionate about his work. He explained the juicy details of every course and also educated us about the wine pairings that complemented the tasting menu. I buy $2 bottles of wine on the regular, so this education was definitely necessary. I won’t even try to replicate his descriptions of the wine, so just take my word for it that it was some damn good wine.For our appetizer bite (amus-bouche) we had smoked salmon atop a house made cracker with goat cheese and scallion. This bite was a refreshing and light start to the meal. The smokiness of the salmon and the creaminess of the goat cheese worked together perfectly. Our wine pairing for this course was some champagne, which made me feel very classy.
first course: Appetizer sampler plate
For our first course, we were served bites of some of Eli’s best selling dishes. Before I went to the restaurant, I was doing my usual research and even though I have it all the time, I was dying to try their award-winning shrimp and grits. Luckily, I got to try a bite of the shrimp and grits and it was definitely worth the hype. The shrimp had a flavorful blackening seasoning on it that cut through the richness of the grits.Along with the shrimp and grits, we got to try the fig and prosciutto crostini and asparagus wrapped in proscuitto. The crostini had a great balance of sweet and savory between the goat cheese and the fig preserves. The asparagus wrapped in proscuitto may look simple, but there was a slice of parmesan cheese tucked under the proscuitto that added a burst of saltiness and nuttiness.
second course: carolina crab cake
The second course was a Carolina crab cake, but with an interesting twist. Eli’s table does not use any breading in their crab cake; it is pure crab. It’s nice to see that they do that because no one is a happy camper when they’re jipped on seafood. The crab cake was served with a remoulade sauce (mayo, whole grain mustard, Thousand Island dressing), which was my favorite component of the dish. The tanginess of the sauce really complemented the richness of the deep fried crab cake.
third course: catch of the day
Our third course was definitely the best of the night. Charleston is known for its local seafood and we were lucky enough to taste Eli’s take on the Catch of the Day. The Red Snapper was seasoned to perfection and topped with a crawfish butter, just to amp up the seafood even more. The fish was served on a bed of red rice, which was my favorite bite of the night. It was smoky, spicy, sweet, and honestly addicting. The smokiness came from an applewood smoking gun used on the sausage, and now I feel like I need a smoking gun in my home.
fourth course: duck and waffles
After a short break, we were hit with their decadent best-seller, duck and waffles. The waffles were delicious, but the duck didn’t really click for me. The dish needed a little spice or acidity to combat the overall sweetness and richness. Although the sweet and savory didn’t jive for the duck and waffles, the Brussels sprouts served with the dish were sweet and salty perfection; I could’ve eaten those all day.
dessert: sweet dreams are made of these
Even though the waffles made us feel like we were eating dessert, we were treated to two tasty dessert treats. The first was the creme brulee. Raymond caramalized the sugar with a blow torch on the table, which was a nice touch. The creme brulee was perfectly creamy and had a fresh vanilla flavor, which I enjoyed.
The second dessert was an off-the-menu special crafted by Raymond himself (who also happens to be a pastry chef). He made us a trifle with layers of pound cake (soaked in Kahlua), house made vanilla bean ice cream, praline crumbles, and fresh local blackberries. I am literally drooling while I am typing this right now because this dessert was all of my favorite things in a glass. The blackberries ensured that the dish wasn’t overly sweet, but it was so decadent and the perfect finish to a bomb meal.
The service at Eli’s Table was the epitome of Southern Hospitality and I will definitely be going back for the Catch of the Day.