Thursday, September 3, 2009
Blossom, Charleston, South Carolina
Right up there with Peninsula Grill, Blossom is one of my top recommendations for Charleston dining. I have been a few times for dinner and once for lunch. I fell in love with Blossom my first visit. Buttermilk Fried Calamari and Buttermilk Fried Oysters...can you say 'fried is wonderful'. Now, not everything fried or every restaurant that fries meets my standards, but Blossom offers gourmet fried! That makes it different (and better for you, eh?). I do not enjoy oysters any other way and yes, I have tried raw, so I am partial, but I highly encourage you to order the fried oysters which are prepared “Rockefeller style” with creamed spinach and glazed hollandaise. The creamed spinach is some of the best I have ever had, seriously. You will not be disappointed. The calamari is equally good, but the oysters receive the platinum star. The Spinach and Artichoke Dip is another good choice and I have spied two Heirloom Tomato starters that I must try during my next visit.
Both times I have been for dinner, I have chosen the Wood Oven Roasted Salmon with summer squash ragout, tomatoes, spinach, goat cheese mousse and tomato butter. Have you ever! It is one of the best preparations of salmon I have had (second to my mother, Nikki's of course, as not many can outdo her with salmon). The fish was cooked to perfection and the mixture of vegetables, goat cheese and tomato butter makes your mouth water. On one of our visits, Chas ordered the yellow fin tuna special and it arrived atop a platform of rice, a wonderful sauce beneath. The rice was held together with seaweed and looked like a very large rice-only sushi roll. The display was as nice as the taste. My favorite menu item on which to report is the Red Velvet Bread Pudding. Three words, TO DIE FOR! I am attempting to become a connoisseur of anything red velvet and this is by far, my most beloved find. If ever you are in Charleston, visit Blossom and order this dessert, if nothing else. Other menu choices that look divine are the wood oven pizzas, house made pasta, duck, steak frites and fried shrimp with hushpuppies. Their menu notes that they use local pork, poultry, beef and and produce whenever possible. A great thing to hear. A restaurant buying locally always wins in my book of tricks.
I will share one less than stellar experience. I mentioned my distaste of pre-fix (with the knowledge that this is sometimes the only way with larger parties) and Blossom lost a little of my adoration during a lunch there. The appetizers were fine and the lunch choices were the Blosson Caesar Salad, the French Dip or a Fried Flounder Sandwhich. None of the three are entrees that I would order, but the Caesar seemed like the lesser of the evils. I was horribly mistaken. The lettuce and chicken were drowned in dressing. It is hard to say whether or not I would have enjoyed it had the dressing portion been appropriate, but I can say I picked the chicken off until I could not longer stomach it. A Caesar dressing is tricky and Blossom should let their kitchen know that less is more with any salad dressing, especially this one! Dessert was a raspberry sorbet with a piece of ice cream cone as a garnish and that was lovely. The salad also made me appreciate anything else at that moment. I am not privvy to how the pre-fix items were chosen and I would not say to not choose Blossom for an event, but these surely ask for the dressing on the side of any salad. Pre-fix is not my favorite way to go and usually, but not always, it seems the food is a little lacking in quality. Mass preparation is a hard feat to conquor well. Peninsula Grill does a good job with their coconut cake, but that is a rarity.
The atmophere is what you expect for a nice meal, quiet, yet the suttle bustling with the activities of excitedly hungry patrons and the pleasant, knowledgeable staff. There is an inviting bar where you can enjoy a drink or two before or after dinner and there is also a private dining area for a party of twenty-ish, should you have a special event. Prices are reasonable with no dinner entree exceeding $30. Make a reservation, as Blossom is typically packed during dinner. There is parking next door but it is limited and shared by Magnolia's, Blossom's sister restaurant. There is a third locale, Cypress, nearby as well. See the website for all three menus.
Blossom is located at 171 East Bay Street in downtown Charleston, SC 29401. For reservations, call (843) 722-9200.