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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Revisit: Charleston's

There are a lot of things in life that tend not to live up to the hype: the BCS, SEC football, that last Superman movie, the Boston Redsox in 2011, the Segway, more or less everything you can buy on late night television for $19.95, Obama, pretty much every winner of American Idol, anything involving Star Wars that isn't the original cuts of the first three films....and Hugh Jackman.  After I ate at Charleston's the first time I felt like putting it on this list.  It came across as one of those kind of places that seemed like it should be better than it actually was.  Even though the unpalatable coleslaw stuck out in my mind from my last visit I was excited for another go round.

When I walked in the front door at Charleston's my dinner decision was more or less made for me.  I knew from the smell that Charleston's was cook food over a wood flame, and when I saw the wood fire grilled pork chops on the menu that's what I had to go for.  It was 2 chops served with sides of garlic mashed potatoes and bbq beans.  The first thing I noticed when my food arrived was that Charleston's is not a place that skimps on the portions.  Both pork chops were rather healthy in size and the amount of garlic mash on my plate was nothing short of gargantuan. The portion of beans was adequate but seemed small by comparison.  The second thing I noticed was that the pork chops had beautiful caramelized color and grill marks.  The mere appearance screamed delicious before I even took bite one. 

As for how things actually tasted that is a little more of a complex answer.  I thought the flavor of the chops was really really good.  The wood fire grill wasn't just a gimmick here.  The meat was tender, juicy, and cooked just right.  Also, the smoky flavor really came across strongly.  While I appreciated that, but I almost felt it could have used a sweet element as a complement.  Maybe that's just a personal preference, but I felt that a glaze or even a sauce would have really elevated these from really good to the level of something special.  The garlic mash was absolutely dead on.  The texture wasn't too smooth and the garlic flavor was present without being overwhelming.  The bbq beans were a little bit of a curve ball.  Based on the description I was expecting a flavor profile similar to sweet baked beans and instead this was more chili-like.  I actually appreciated it quite a bit.  For dessert, despite it being more of a Summer dish, I decided to go with the keylime pie.  It was fantastic.  The perfect mix of subtle sweetness and just a hint of sour from the limes.  It also didn't hurt itself by being topped with a healthy amount of fresh real whipped cream.

Taste 8.5/10 While there may have been ways that my dish could have been adjusted to improve it according to my person preferences, but it's hard to argue that the execution of the food was anything less than superb. The perfect flavors for a cool fall night. 

Value 8.5/10 When you go to Charleston's you have to realize that it isn't the type of place where you can get a 2 meals for $20 deal.  With dessert my meal was over the 20 dollar mark, but I definitely felt that it was worth every penny in terms of the amount and quality of food that was served. 


Jessica in Noblesville said...

Family recently ventured back to Charlestons after several years hiatus, and pleasantly impressed. The roast chicken was juicy and herby, the steak was perfectly seasoned, and glazed carrots were awesome.

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