The caveat of any business opening on Isle of Palms is that it inevitably will have to play host to a bevy of summer tourists aiming to gain maximum sun exposure. Obviously there are many year-round residents who call the island home, but the general feel of the place is transient seasonal traffic. Save Coda Del Pesce, restaurants are less plentiful on IOP than in neighboring beach towns and those that do exist are, for the most part, not notable.
But while IOP is certainly an odd market for any new restaurant, one noteworthy chef is brave enough to test the waters there by opening her own place. Air Casebier already has established herself as a culinary tour de force, having worked in the kitchen alongside two of the heaviest hitters in Charleston: Sean Brock and Mike Lata. She proudly informed me that she helped the former open Husk and then continued to travel with Brock in the year post-opening. It’s safe to say that she knows how to produce good food. And this is unquestionably evident in her latest venture, Feast Provisions.
Though it’s a humble exterior, don’t let the tiny house tucked away on Carolina Boulevard fool you. The menu is simple but adds up to more than a couple of sandwiches and salads. Every item has been carefully designed to be uncomplicated yet flavorful. Basic avocado toast has been elevated to “avocado tartine” while a vegetable salad is farmers market fresh with freekeh and shaved vegetables. These chef touches belie the aforementioned appearance of the modest atmosphere.
My takeout order (there are a few chairs on the porch, but otherwise no seating) was brought to me in a brown bag filled with to-go boxes of various menu items. The first box was a show stopper. The Feast burger ($10) was an unfussy beef patty with sharp cheddar, grilled onion, a pickle, and “special” sauce on a brioche bun. No lettuce, tomato, or various produce items here. Again, it was pared down and simple letting the beef and burger sauce take the spotlight. The meat’s fat content was juicy without being greasy, allowing the brioche bun to stay soft without getting soggy. The sauce was an excellent ratio of ketchup, mayo, and mustard, a combination that Casebier informed me is the best condiment to eat on a burger where she grew up in Tennessee.
The next box was the breakfast burrito ($8), a tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, chorizo, black beans, and white cheddar. The beans were seasoned well but the proportion was too hefty, overpowering the chorizo and egg. I appreciated the notes of cumin and pepper but the overall effect was weighed down by the beans.
Surprisingly, the roast cauliflower and kale salad ($8) was the best entrée of the bunch. With only roasted cauliflower and shredded kale composing the vegetable portion of the salad, the dressing took center stage. Though in the same family as a Caesar salad, this dressing leaned more heavily on the anchovy and parmesan flavors, the anchovy in particular being an excellent complement to the cauliflower. It was so good that it took me a minute to realize that I was speed eating the salad and that I needed to consciously remind myself to breathe in between bites.
The roast pork sandwich’s ($10) only downside was that it came out of the bag after I’d eaten the three previous dishes. The crispy but fall-apart-tender pork was topped with just a hint of gruyere that didn’t overpower the subtle flavors of both the pork and the peppery arugula pesto. I would have preferred the bread to be a touch crispier but overall this sandwich had just the right notes of funk and spice to give it a winning depth of flavor.
The last dish I had the pleasure of enjoying was the aforementioned avocado tartine ($5). Served on an earthy multigrain bread, this was not your run of the mill avocado toast. It was mashed and topped with a fresh sunny side up egg. After the yolk was broken, every ensuing bite of tart had the signature eggy taste. A light dusting of sesame seeds was the perfect garnish to the delectable tartine.
Despite the unusual location and somewhat limited hours, Casebier understands what she’s doing by offering a small but approachable take out menu. The only real drawback about Feast is that I’m not sure who she’s trying to cater to. It seems like Casebier’s limited hours are intended to allow more time to devote to her catering business (the aptly named FEAST Charleston) but this does make it more difficult to visit during the week. I hope that she’s able to extend Feast’s hours to accommodate an early-evening crowd allowing a wider audience to experience the excellent food Air Casebier is capable of.