The vaunted Kiawah establishment The Ocean Room is well-known among culinary minds in Charleston, but how many make the trek down State Road S-10-20 to sample the fare? After nine years of service with Forbes Four-Stars and AAA Four Diamond ratings, no one usually questions the restaurant's pedigree. Charleston Magazine's Jeff Allen took on the culinary castle by the sea in September's publication.
Allen is overwhelmed by the opulence of the building. Winding staircases, wrought iron and lush furnishings cause him to remark, "unless your blood be royal, it's a world apart from everyday reality."
He recommends beginning at the bar for cocktails and sushi before moving into the main dining room. Once seated at his table, Allen marvels at the details:
"The bread will come in five different forms; the white tablecloth meticulously cleaned and crumbed; there is a plush little stool placed beside your date's chair for the sole purpose of holding her handbag."
When he samples chef Jason Rheinwald's fare he lavishes in the luxurious ingredients and is delighted that menu items are now simplified, unlike the heavily sauced and overly extravagant plates of the past. Highlights from his meal include "fine ahi tuna adorned with peaches, saffron, and tiny basil leaves," sous vide prime filet mignon, Pittsburgh style sirloin and "lobster mac 'n' cheese." Allen ends his evening with German digestif Underberg, stating, "You drink the Underberg for the same reason you go to the Ocean Room in the first place: it speaks of luxury, extravagance, and things heretofore unsampled."