When we chatted with Delaney Oyster House executive chef Shamil Velazquez this May, he said the restaurant, set in a 19th century Charleston Single House on Calhoun St., would offer a menu that “will be fun, simple, elegant” highlighting the bounty of the region with a focus on our fecund waterways.
Delaney is the latest venture from Neighborhood Dining Group (NDG), the owners of Husk, McCrady’s, and Minero. At just 60 seats, the restaurant is small, a place where “you can have more of a family style of tasting,” NDG president David Howard told us in July. “And not as much of a structured dining experience.”
The restaurant was originally supposed to open for lunch and dinner Thurs. Sept. 5, but they had to postpone due to Hurricane Dorian. They’ll now open for happy hour and dinner Mon. Sept. 9, and will be open daily for lunch and dinner starting Tues. Sept. 10.
Every day they’ll close up for a brief respite from 2:30-4:30 p.m., reopening for happy hour Mon.-Fri. from 4:30-6 p.m.
“Can’t you just see it,” Howard asked in July, weeks away from the grand opening. “Sitting out here with friends, maybe sipping Champagne, passing around a plate of oysters?”
The food menu is divided into “On Ice,” “Cold,” and “Not Cold.” On the drink side of things you’ll find “Cocktails,” “Not Cocktails,” “Mini Bottle Service,” “Beer & Cider,” and “From the Vine.”
Simple, fun, and yes, elegant, the menus include oysters on the half-shell, with bivalves classified by salinity, size, and source; lobster, blue crab claws, and peel and eat shrimp on the shellfish side of things, with a $52 “Yacht Club Platter” featuring oysters, clams, blue crab claws, and shrimp.
The caviar service comes with cornmeal blini and cultured cream and chives, with choices ranging in price from $32 (Paddlefish, Tenn.) to $125 (Golden Ostetra, Belgium). Some “Cold” plates include a caviar puff (!); S.C. squash with lemon verjus, hazelnut, and cured egg yolk; Mark’s Red Snapper ceviche, which we assume is a nod to beloved local fishmonger Mark Marhefka’s Abundant Seafood; and a Royal Red Shrimp gazpacho with brioche and cucumber.
Pair your caviar puffs with the restaurant’s house martini, which you can order with vodka or gin, shattered (shaken, olive) or smooth (stirred, twist), up or on the rocks. There are also spritzes, high balls, and sours — one Fresh Bay Gimlet for us, thanks — plus a ‘mini’ bottle service with 50ML booze served to zero degrees, recommended with the caviar service.
If you are more in the mood for something in the “Not Cold” category, you’ll find grilled oysters with uni butter, persillade, and black lime; salted fish beignets with hot sorghum; blue crab rice with sofrito, sorrel, and crab roe bottarga; and the daily catch served with sweet potato, watercress, and black garlic.
If you go through Delaney’s Instagram, you’ll see the research trips Velazquez made this summer as he was constructing his menu — trips to Barrier Island Oyster Co., the Marion Square farmers market, and the waters of North Carolina (where they’ll be sourcing their scallops).
“It’s our due diligence as chefs to give them a voice,” the chef said of highlighting local farmers and fishers.
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