As promised yesterday, today’s post is the start of my favorite meals in Charleston. Since my family ate out almost every night, I have an overwhelming amount of information to share with you. But, instead of giving a run-down of every restaurant we ate at, I am going to give you the highlights in multiple posts.
Today I start with my favorite appetizers of the Charleston trip. These were found at the previously mentioned tentatively reserved new selection FIG (an acronym for Food Is Good). This eatery is based upon the dining principle of seasonally-inspired cuisine that uses local and sustainable foods. A concept that Los Angeles (my home base for the past 2 years), is not unfamiliar. With a chef that won the James Beard Award as the Best Chef in the Southeast in 2009, I knew the food would not disappoint.
At FIG, my family started our meals off with a bang. My mom decided on a John’s Island Tomato Tarte Tatin with an olive tapenade and fromage blanc cheese. Two things 1. John’s Island became famous for their tomatoes in the 1950s, and this island outside of Charleston has the perfect sand soil for growing. (On a side note, it is needles to say I had my fill of lycopene during the Charleston trip). And 2…a tarte tatin is an upside-down tart where apples (usually) are caramelized with butter and sugar before the tart is baked. The tomato tarte tatin tasted like a braised or roasted tomato with so many flavors. Since I am not a culinary expert, I am not even going to try to identify the flavors. All I know is that it was delicious and had to refrain from licking my mom’s plate.
For my appetizer, I ordered the Strube Ranch Wagyu Beef Tartare. Let me break that title down for you. Strube Ranch: a family owned and operated ranch in the East Texas cattle country. Wagyu Beef: the type of beef known for its marbling characteristics, which enhance the flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. High market value and Kobe is an example. Tartare: Simply put, raw beef. Now, I was very excited for this appetizer UNTIL I came across the last word…RAW BEEF. Before this night, I had never seized the opportunity to try raw beef before, but I didn’t know if it was the wine speaking, the way the waitress described the dish, or my “when in Rome” philosophy (tonight), I decided to order it. And, I was definitely glad I did. I took the first bite apprehensively, but not the second, third, fourth, etc…you get it. The raw beef somehow came out tasting like it had been cooked. Maybe it was those layers of flavors I hear about on FOX’s Masterchef and Bravo’s Top Chef. The only uncertain question I have yet to answer about the beef tartare is…will I will order it at another restaurant? I don’t know if any other tartare can live up to FIG’s!
So, if you ever catch yourself around 232 Meeting Street in Charleston, SC, definitely make a reservation at FIG. Just like the acronym states, their FOOD IS GOOD!