[image-2]More than 140 restaurants participate in Charleston Restaurant Week (Sept. 6-17). Let that sink in. If you go down the list with your calculator, though, you’ll find that a lot of the prix fixe menu prices even out to what you’d pay at the place any way, and a lot of people aren’t that interested in the house cheesecake or scoop of ice cream for dessert.

That being said, there are some money-saving deals, and some damn tasty looking menus, that are actually worth fighting the crowds for. Just be sure to tip your server: this is their inferno.

Best lunch break
Ready to ditch your sad desk lunch? Yeah, we’re looking at you PB&J every day-ers. Henrietta’s, the chic “Southern brasserie” located inside the even chic-er Dewberry hotel, is offering a two for $20 lunch special. For the first course choose a chilled summer gazpacho or salmon gravlax. Second course options are a vegetable quiche or a lamb bolognese. And it’s not included, but go ahead and order up Henrietta’s Side Car martini, made with vodka, dry vermouth, pickle brine, and a caper berry. Just be sure to walk back to the office.

Best brunch
There are only two restaurants offering brunch specials, Le Farfalle and Bistro Toulouse, but both options look bomb, and honestly if you’re going to drop some dough, make it on Sunday Funday. Both restaurants offer $20 specials, with a brunch drink — mimosa, Bloody, or Bellini — included (ahem, sold) plus a savory dish and a sweet finish. Note: Bistro Toulouse serves this special Saturday and Sunday. Le Farfalle only serves Sundays.

Three best bets on the peninsula
Zero George is offering a three-course menu for $49. This is one of the higher price points, but we are talking about Zero George, and if you ordered the same items a la carte, you’d be spending more money (we already did the math for you). With grass-fed lamb tartare, steamed bass, and slow roasted crispy pork belly as some menu options, we think you’ll see something to salivate over.

Macintosh will be serving a three-course menu for $40. This is one of our faves because A) there are a lot of options and B) we aren’t forced to order dessert. For $40 you can choose a starter like house-made ricotta gnudi, cheddar togarashi bratwurst, or fig toast; an entree including grilled sword fish, seared grouper, and confit pork shoulder; and a side that includes bone marrow bread pudding and pecorino truffle frites. And again, we’ve done the math: you’re saving some dough.

Another three courses for $40 option is Drawing Room. This menu stands out for its diversity in apps, entrees, and desserts. Plus, there’s a vanilla rice pudding brulee which we’d pay $40 for alone, and you have the option of adding wine pairings for $25. Not a cheap date night, but more affordable than a non-Restaurant Week dinner.

Three best bets off the peninsula
Middleton Place Restaurant is offering three-courses for $35. This is a great excuse to check out a historic site while taking advantage of an off the beaten path restaurant week option. Apps include mushroom toast, she crab soup, a garden salad, and a duck and mushroom pot pie. For entrees choose a hanger steak, sorghum-glazed pork flank steak, Southern fried chicken, or the requisite shrimp and grits. For dessert choose between an apple bacon bread pudding with bourbon ice cream or an ice cream flight.

Basil is offering a major bang for your buck meal, and I mean, who doesn’t love tried and true Thai? For $22 you get THREE courses, with no paltry dessert in sight. For an app choose from egg rolls to fried wontons to nam sod, then choose a soup or salad, and finish up with a noodle, rice, or curry entree.

Old Village Post House Inn gets our vote for best steak deal. They’re offering three courses for $40, with an 8 oz. Allen Brothers filet mignon as an entree option (this cut usually sells for $39). So order up that med-rare bad boy, and get an app (she crab soup or kale caesar salad) and dessert (dessert of the day or lemon sorbet) to top it off.

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