Sometimes you just want to go out to eat with your buds, or with that special someone, and not worry about having to dress all fancy. Whether you’re wearing a plain ol’ T-shirt and jeans or your casual Friday wear, here are some neighborhood faves that’ll set you up with some fine dining, without the dress code.
Fridays are a tad busy for Chef John Zucker over at Cru Café, but he’s never too busy for quality. On tonight’s menu, he’ll serve fried green tomatoes with corn, black bean salsa, and a mixed green salad with mesclun lettuce. Cru also has some stuffed green tomatoes with gorgonzola and house-ground beef.
Out in Mt. Pleasant at 17 North Roadside Kitchen, Executive Chef Brett McKee will save you from the trouble of eating around the chicken bones. Their menu regularly features boneless buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes, braised greens, and tasso gravy. Another favorite is the Barolo-braised beef short rib with mashed potatoes. Hearty comfort food might be just what your busy week ordered.
At Hominy Grill on Rutledge Avenue, Chef Robert Stehling has a truckload of specials tonight (seven actually). We only chose three. First up, they have a pan-roasted scamp grouper splashed with crab tomato sauce and fish sauce, garlic, basil, butter, and it’s served with a salad. Second, they’re serving lamb shoulder that has been cooked in a barbecue pit. It’s wrapped and cut in thin slices and sandwiched in a soft French baguette, and then served with French fries and onion gravy. Lastly, Stehling’s got crispy fried shrimp with grape tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, sweet onions, mixed greens, and red wine vinaigrette dressing mixed with egg whites that adds a creamy texture.
Out on Daniel Island, Vespa Pizzeria has got a whole new menu going on. Jonathan Banta has made some viol ricotta with gnocchi and house-made mozzarella and gorgonzola-stuffed fig wrapped in prosciutto. Then there’s the Greek-style shrimp with bruschetta, arugula, onions, black olives, peperoncini, and a house-made flat bread. They’ve also got a clam formaggi pizza served with pancetta (Italian bacon), ricotta, mozzerella, red pepper, olive oil, and garlic.
At Fan Hen, Chef Fred Neuville prepares a Soup of the Day featuring local Gazpacho with vegetables from Ambrose Farms. The featured appetizer is shrimp served over a cantaloupe salad. The “Skinny Chicken of the Day” is a grilled marinated chicken breast served over mesculin greens and smoked radishes, and topped with red wine vinaigrette. They also have a local grilled swordfish over a ragu of local beans, carrots, and tomatoes, and served with sweet corn puree and beurre rouge.
Yum. If that doesn’t get you out to your favorite neighborhood restaurant, we don’t know what will.