Sassy Southern Cooking with a French Twist

pizza

Sunday, Savory Sunday (and Sweet, Too!)

Indaco Adds Sunday Brunch to Tasty “Dixie-talian” Menu

The burgeoning bunch of downtown Charleston restaurants serving brunch, especially on smokin’ hot Upper King Street, just got one restaurant bigger, and in my opinion, that much better. Indaco, popular for its sexy, sophisticated bar and dinner scene, added brunch to its menu line-up and kicked off last Sunday with a whopping 120 covers on the very first day.

The menu, co-created by Executive Chef Michael Perez and newly promoted Chef de Cuisine Andy McLeod, stays true to the restaurant’s self-described Dixie-talian roots, or as McLeod aptly describes it, “a broad use of local ingredients with an Italian spin.” Not surprisingly, the menu weaves a series of pizzas (both sweet and savory) from their celebrated wood-burning oven, egg sandwiches, pasta, and classic Italian “primi” courses such as an exquisite sounding Bombolini made with a Meyer lemon marmalata and lemon crema, smoked pork rilettes, and a prosciutto plate with Honey Crisp apples, honey and Parmesan cheese.

Here are some of my favorites:

Light and luscious, "Milk and Honey" showcases Indaco's impossibly creamy and smooth housemade whipped ricotta and crunchy granola with sweet, garden-fresh fruit. A bit of honey sweetens the deal to Sunday morning perfection.

Light and luscious, “Milk and Honey” showcases Indaco’s impossibly creamy and smooth housemade whipped ricotta and crunchy granola with sweet, garden-fresh fruit. A bit of honey sweetens the deal to Sunday morning perfection.

Nutella lovers will revel in the warm stuff drizzled over caramelized bananas and toasted nuts on Indaco's impeccable pizza crust.

Nutella lovers will revel in the warm stuff drizzled over caramelized bananas and toasted nuts on Indaco’s impeccable pizza crust.

Save room for the pasta, whatever you do. The Mezzaluna is a riff on shrimp and grits, with the tenderest housemade noodles prepared with corn/pasta flour, grouper sausage, and Shem Creek harvested shrimp swimming in a ham stock broth. Exquisite!

Save room for the pasta!The Mezzaluna is a riff on shrimp and grits, with the tenderest housemade noodles prepared with corn/pasta flour, grouper sausage, and Shem Creek harvested shrimp swimming in a ham stock broth. Exquisite!

While sophisticated, the space is also children-friendly, particularly the large, outdoor patio. Management anticipates adding live music to the entertainment mix in the coming weeks, once the brunch crowd has settled in. Bottomless Bellinis prepared with peach, a splash of pomegranate and Prosecco or a Mark it 8, Dude adult beverage featuring a blend of vodka, Borghetti, a cereal infused cream (last week it was cinnamon crunch!) and a pinch of cinnamon, will certainly suit Charleston’s vast apres church, libation-imbibing crowd.

Reservations recommended.

Indaco

526 King Street, downtown Charleston, 29403

843-727-1228

indacocharleston.com

Sunday brunch hours – 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

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Feeding a Cold with Familiarity

It started on Thursday with the first tell-tale signs of one of summer’s worst foes – the dreaded summer cold. The scratchy throat quickly morphed into head-clogging congestion and full-blown misery that left me in bed much of the weekend. By Sunday, I  was feeling a bit better and was purely ravenous, not just for some good food, but for some favorite restaurant TLC.

Charleston has so many delicious choices for dining out in so many categories and price points, it’s often difficult for me to decide where I want to go.  Because I’ve been writing about food for so long in this town, it’s often difficult to find someplace that’s going to be low-key, where I can just show up in my sandals without make-up and anticipate a quiet meal where nobody knows my name, or at least leaves me mostly alone.

This is exactly what the Dr. ordered yesterday for my restaurant TLC meds where all that was really required was something close to home, delicious and where very little talking or personal charm would be required.  My stuffy mind kept swirling with three places: Monza, 39 Rue de Jean and The Glass Onion. All three of these fit the above description, plus each serve dishes that are consistently delicious and in each case, personal favorites.

Monza’s wood-fired “take the wheel” pizza, which I usually dress up with the house made ricotta, mozzarella, sausage and some tomatoes is almost constantly residing somewhere in my subconscious and frequently fills my dreams. “Rue’s” cool, soothing quiet, friendly but subdued staff, and world class burger’s and quiche, and almost anything at The Glass Onion, in particular the buttermilk dressing and shells ‘n cheese.

A recent daily special at The Glass Onion. Each one is as good as the next.

Don’t get me wrong. These are not my only favorite places. The list is much longer and revolves with the day and my mood. This was just what was on my “let’s feel better soon” mind yesterday.

In the end, Rue won out. As wonderful as Monza’s pizza is, it seemed like more than my appetite could handle, I wasn’t in the mood for brunch food (which Glass Onion serves on Sunday), and quiche or a burger sounded really, really good.

Hands down, the quiche at the “Rue” is the best in town. Huge, fat wedges of souffle-like light eggs, usually fortified with cheese, bacon and roasted sweet vegetables swaddled in flaky, buttery pastry never disappoint.  But, it was the “Rue” burger, still one of the best around in an increasing sea of local burger competition, that ultimately fed my cold and my soul. Rich and meaty with a pink center and an oozing slice of tangy gruyere co-mingled with fresh Bermuda onion, tomato and crisp lettuce on a hearty, fresh bun. On the side, super pungent delicious Dijon mustard (great for a stuffed head!) and fresh-from-the-fryer twice fried French fries.  And, to wash it all down, a cool glass of white wine and a soothing smile from my friendly, quiet server.

About the time I was biting into the burger, my eyes came across an expression in the Tudor era book I was reading that made me laugh out loud: “wantwit fool.” They say that (well, next to delicious food) laughter is the best medicine.

Charlestonian’s and her many visitors are blessed to have so many choices for delicious food to fit any mood or state of wellness, for that matter. I feel better already.

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