When City Paper's new critic Vanessa Wolf visits Mount Pleasant diner Fountain Cafe and BBQ, she's told by the staff, "Fountain serve[s] the best 'cue they'd ever had in their lives." Wolf takes them up on this claim by sampling a pulled pork sandwich:
Topped with a sweet, vinegary red barbecue sauce, the pork itself was moist and juicy with subtle smoky notes. Its soft kaiser roll had been buttered and grilled, which offered some welcome staying power against the sog-inducing innards.
She doesn't care for much else at the cafe, but it does sound off-putting to have to eat a pimento cheese sandwich with ketchup (yes, that happened). If you go, Wolf recommends, "the barbecue shows promise and the Reuben and slaw are on the money."
Charleston Scene critic Hanna Raskin evaluates King Street newcomer 492 this week. Her review centers around the question: Who should dine at 492? Raskin thinks chef Nate Whiting's small plates are best set for solo eaters.
On my second visit, it hit me: 492 is one of the better backdrops for dinner alone. The tiny dimensions of the plates mean it’s possible to single-handedly enjoy a highly civilized five-course meal, progressing in continental fashion from soup to dessert. The wine list at 492 is reasonably nonconformist, with a sense of adventure that carries over to the by-the-glass selection. And with food designed to provoke more scrutiny than sociability, it makes good sense to consider a one-top, perhaps on the handsome patio, shielded from King Street by a set of steel gates.
She questions the cost of the menu, but assumes the patron is paying for "daunting amount of work" put into each dish. Raskin finds that the skillful techniques don't quite correlate into moving experience for the diner. She concludes, "... it would be even nicer if the dishes connected more directly with patrons, instead of creating distance through overwrought technique — leaving guests to wonder what the heck is going on, and why they’re paying so much for it."