Why We Went: My friends Angie, Jo, and I met downtown for a girls night out. We could not wait to try Charleston’s most beautiful new urban restaurant, The Block Restaurant and Wine Cellar, that we had been hearing about for the past few weeks.
What We Had: It was a cold and drizzly evening when we arrived at the Block, drenched from the rain, so we all ordered soups to warm us up; lobster bisque for Angie and Jo, cashew cauliflower for myself. For dinner, we selected crab cakes, sriracha maple-encrusted chicken, and the truffle pasta. There were many delicious sounding choices to pick from.
Something Special: The Block has a gorgeous wine cellar with a huge inventory of specialty wines; over 500 bottles from around the world. They also have an old-world style cheese cave that is worth seeing. It is nice having such a gorgeous restaurant in the heart of Charleston.
Noteworthy: I really, really enjoyed the cashew cauliflower soup. It had great rich flavor (no cream) with a nice zesty kick to it and the toasty cashews were a nice touch sprinkled across the top.
Best Part of the Meal: The Block’s restaurant and bar are very eye-catching, especially the stone wall with the mirrored bar lined with liquor bottles. I was impressed that a Charleston institution finally added a charcuterie platter to their menu. Fancy.
What Needs Improvement: And here is how it all turned South. We were seated in the bar area and there was light jazz music playing (it sounded like on the ceiling only), but the room was eerily quiet. It was a strange atmosphere. Our dinner ended up taking almost two hours because it took 45 minutes to get our entrees after finishing our soups and then our waitress did not come back for over 30 minutes after delivering our entrees to us. The waitress did not offer us dessert, drink refills, nor offer to bring a check. In fact, after our wallets were laying on the high top table for twenty minutes, Jo had to get up and find a manager to ask for our checks. In all the time we were there, not one management person came to visit any of the customers seated in the bar area (there were around 13-15 of us) to check on their food or service, though two of them were in my eyesight most of the time just standing around doing nothing. I did not feel the Block had any real ambiance, it was sort of sterile and the menu just a hodgepodge that would be totally confusing to the average diner. My pasta was a bit overcooked and I was doubtful that the black truffle shavings would be anything like what I have had in bigger cities and I was right. The whole pasta dish was uneventful and just okay. I want the Block to succeed because the owners have invested a fortune in it and it is a great concept for Charleston, but there is much improvement needed.
Total Check Before Tip: $35.41 (only my bill)
My Rating Scale 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)= 6
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