Saturday, October 20, 2012

Peninsula Grill

There's something comforting and special about the Lowcountry. Whether in its Southern hospitality or its rich culinary traditions, there is an unforgettable quality about Charleston, South Carolina. This particular adventure took me to a sophisticated favorite in the Lowcountry: the Peninsula Grill, located in The Planters Inn; a luxurious and beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Historic Market Street, at 112 N. Market St.

Since opening in 1997, the Peninsula Grill has left an imprint in Charleston's culinary arena. It has been honored with a Mobil Four-Star rating and AAA Four Diamond, as well as received praises from The New York Times, Food & Wine magazine, Wine Spectator, and Travel & Leisure magazine. Its decor exemplifies simple elegance; with distinct crown-moldings, earth-toned velvet-covered walls and contemporary chandeliers. There is also a romantic, outdoor courtyard, with candle-lit tables sitting next to vine-covered walls.

Seared & Chilled Yellowfin Tuna

Lobster Skillet Cake &
Crab Cake Duo
Baked Oysters
The menu Chef Graham Dailey has created is both vast and intriguing. As we looked through it, we indulged in an Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho topped with Olive Tapenade, compliments of the chef. We started off with a Chef Special for the evening: the Seared & Chilled Yellowfin Tuna. The lightly marinated slices of tuna had a superb, fresh taste and sat atop ribbons of carrots and a Micro Salad, drizzled with Soy Ginger Vinaigrette and accompanied with Crispy Sesame Tempura Pickled Okra. Wonderful beginning! Next, we tried the Lobster Skillet Cake & Crab Cake Duo. Moist and tender, the melt-in-your-mouth consistency of each of the cakes, and their delicious, delicate flavor was unbelievable. They were served with a Petite Chopped Arugula and Corn Salad, dressed with Creole Mustard Vinaigrette. Our final appetizer for the evening was the Baked Oysters. I had been looking forward to some good ol' taste of the south oysters served "Rockefeller Style" and this was Peninsula Grill's version of the dish. I enjoyed the freshly blended ingredients which created a bold and intense flavor profile; signature to this delicacy.

Bourbon Glazed "Berkshire"
Pork Chop
Pan Seared Local Wreckfish
The first entree I sampled was the Bourbon Glazed "Berkshire" Pork Chop, served with cider-braised collards, roasted fingerling potatoes, and BBQ jus. I could taste the seasonal and regional notes in the juicy meat and its accompaniments; wowing me with its flavor. The second entree was another Chef's Special for the evening: the Pan Seared Local Wreckfish.  I was curious and excited to try it, since it is rare and only found in Charleston shipwrecks. It was interesting to learn that there are only two fishermen in the area that specialize in the toil of targeting wreckfish. This incredibly delicious fish was mildly flavored, yet assertive enough to combine well with the blue crab saute it was bathed in. The combination of blue crab, local field peas, braised greens, roasted patti pan squash, and tomato vinaigrette introduced another taste sensation to the palate that was out of this world.

The Ultimate Coconut Cake

As we finished our entrees, I looked around and saw the waiters parading with a special dessert that appeared to be a large coconut cake. I am normally not a fan of coconut cake, but when I saw it being ordered by so many patrons, I knew I needed to try it. It turned out to be no ordinary coconut cake but rather The Ultimate Coconut Cake; a six layer delight, bursting with coconut sweetness and buttery richness. It is a famed Southern classic and very coveted at Peninsula Grill. I could definitely taste why, and was happy to know that since it is so popular, it can be ordered from their website. Guess what I'm going to do as soon as I finish this post?

Tasting of Artisanal Cheeses
Chocolate Raspberry Ganache
At this point, we balanced our sweet endings with a Tasting of Artisanal Cheeses that included Le Cabrie Goat's Milk Brie, Aged Gouda, a Blend of Goat and Sheep's Milk Mobay, and Hook's Blue Paradise. The assortment of strong and mild flavored cheeses were paired with Rosemary Nuts, Fig and Port Preserves and South Carolina Honey. As a warm goodbye, the Chef sent out a taste of a Chocolate Raspberry Ganache, which had a smooth and creamy texture. Filled with beets, it rested on a shallow pool of raspberry sauce and was topped with a white chocolate garnish. All I can say is that it was a perfect ending to a perfect meal.

I really believe a visit to Charleston is not complete without stopping in at Peninsula Grill. The service is stellar and impeccable, the food is divine, and the ambiance is picturesque. For more information or to order their decadent coconut cake, you can visit them online at or call them at 843-723-0700.

Peninsula Grill on Urbanspoon

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