When the Mensch goes out to dinner he can always find something to complain about. The cocktail is weak, the meat overcooked, the soup is salty. I’m here to report that I have no complaints about the restaurant week dinner I enjoyed at Magnolias. In fact the whole experience was delightful starting with our arrival.
Magnolias offers free parking next door and there was an empty space waiting for me. We were twenty minutes early for a 7:15 reservation fully expecting to enjoy a cocktail at the bar. But no cocktail for us! “Welcome, sir, (not guys!) we have an open table right now, please follow me.” What else could better than not waiting? Our table was a four-top, as they say in restaurant lingo, that was reset for two. Lovely!
There is something new and different about restaurant week in Charleston this month. In the past there were three price-fixed menus: $20, $30 and $40. Each restaurant would create a specific menu for the price range: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Drinks and coffee would be an extra charge. This year the restaurants are free to set their own price for a fixed menu.
Erin, our server, presented Magnolias’ regular menu with the price-fixed menu. There were three appetizers, five entrees and two desserts to choose from. The bar menu had our favorites and the wine list included Mrs.Mensch’s favorite chardonnay: Sonoma Cutrer – Russian River. Lovely!
All the choices were nicely southern. Pimiento cheese was swirled into egg yolks to create tasty deviled eggs for Mrs. Mensch’s appetizer. What do you get when you mix boiled peanuts, pickled okra, sweet corn relish with chopped romaine lettuce topped with white cheddar cheese shavings and a buttermilk dressing? The Mensch’s choice for appetizer. Do not turn up your nose at boiled peanuts and pickled okra! They add zest and crunch to a beautiful salad. Oh, did I mention the cornbread croutons? Sweet and lovely!
The southern influence carried over to the entrees with a pecan-crusted chicken breast on mashed potatoes for Mrs. Mensch. The Mensch’s grilled pork tenderloin with a mustard sauce served with field peas, hot pickled peppers on a jalapeño cornbread pudding, which may have been the source for those croutons.
I can only report on one dessert since we both opted for triple chocolate delight: dark chocolate cake, fudge sauce, caramel sauce, white chocolate ice cream. How could we refuse? The coffee was extra but worth it.
The service was well-paced: the salad freshly made, the entrees hot and the dessert perfect. The cocktails were tasty and Erin kept the Russian River flowing. If I had to make a complaint, it would be about, mmmm, what would it be about? Nothing. It was a lovely evening.