Slightly North of Broad

I read an article recently where a New York restaurateur was complaining that restaurants that had been around for a long time get little attention from the press and critics. Everyone, he said, wants to talk about the “new, hot” place and they don’t give any credit to longevity. Such is not the case in Charleston, where despite lots of newcomers to the dining scene, old favorite Slightly North of Broad (SNOB to the locals) still gets the attention it deserves.

I must admit that I had skipped this restaurant on previous trips in favor of the latest dining addition. Now I know what I was missing. SNOB is a favorite of many in Charleston and for good reason. It feels comfortable to be here. You sense the locals view this as “their place”.

The restaurant inhabits a 19th century brick warehouse. A cozy 6 person bar sits to the right of the entrance with a view of the entire dining room. The dining room itself is somewhat narrow but deep, with high ceilings painted dark and exposing stainless duct work. The walls are painted a beige faux finish and adorned with iron sconces and colorful local art. Hardwood floors are strewn with carpet runners. The back wall is brick and frames an open kitchen. Recessed lighting throws just the right amount of light and large pillars break up the room into smaller dining areas. The effect is what you might expect when turning a warehouse into a restaurant…part rustic, part elegance.

Executive Chef Russ Moore makes generous use of fresh, local ingredients and combines that with traditional French techniques and creative use of low country spices and seasonings.

On this night I started with the Steamed Clams, Clammer dave’s clams, parsley, roasted garlic cream and a grilled baguette.

I couldn’t resist the signature BBQ tuna which was really more of a mustard glaze and served with oysters,country ham, green onions and fresh tomatoes. Easy to see why they are known for this dish.

Really nice wine list with some great choices and very, very reasonable prices. About 20 wines by the glass and about 18 half bottle chocies.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: Pick a table along the outer wall or in one of the left side corners and you’ll enjoy a decidedly romantic evening.

“Charleston institution”, this French Quarter classic offers “fine Southern dining”with a “slight touch of elegance” and an “innovative” “taste of the Lowcountry”“always-on-the-mark” waiters, an “extensive wine list” and a “cozy atmosphere” add to the “top-notch dining experience.” ZAGAT