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Apartment A Serves Mississippi-Influenced Tex-Mex; Stereo 8 Skips a Beat

What the critics are saying this week.

Stereo 8
Stereo 8
Robert Donovan
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas, covering the food and restaurant scene across North and South Carolina.

The owners of Taco Spot introduced Apartment A earlier this year, but not much has been written about the space, until City Paper critic Vanessa Wolf's review this week. First, she addresses the quirky aspect of the eatery: "The former dwelling on Coming Street exists squarely in the netherland between restaurant, speakeasy, and doll house." It's true, Apartment A is housed in a former residential spot, which is why not many people haven't discovered it or are intimidated to enter. But then, Wolf finds the fare delightful.

The menu isn't authentic Mexican; it's not even really authentic Tex-Mex. Wolf calls it "Mississippi Mexican," which means the plates have a Southwestern flair, but lean more to the South. Cheddar replaces cotija, and Velveeta fills in for queso Oaxaca. Wolf takes the menu for what it is (she alludes to stoner food) and enjoys it, stating "Born on the bayou, not in the barrio, Apartment A's offerings include several sure-fire delights so long as you adjust your expectations a bit north of the border."

James Island taco/crudo/ramen spot Stereo 8 has had a few hiccups since opening, but now the eatery must absorb a rough first review from Charleston Scene critic Hanna Raskin. She's baffled by the service at the newcomer and lays it out in the opening paragraph:

So we used our forks like backhoes, vainly trying to extract some of the advertised duck confit from the mound of jet-black rice.

Oh, sorry. Were you not ready for that sentence yet? In the fashion of Stereo 8, the sprawling new James Island restaurant, I thought I might try serving up sentences as soon as they’re finished, rather than present them in any logical order. Do you find it exciting?

Obviously, I didn’t

Ouch. Raskin doesn't buy the server's explanation that the the appetizers come out before entrees because "the restaurant is so committed to immediacy that the kitchen equipment doesn’t include a heat lamp." She understands that it's usually a matter of a back-of-house and front-of-house coordination that makes this happen.

But, never mind about the order of the food, how does it taste? There are "glimmers of promise," and the lamb kefta receives praise, but the review is loaded with phrases like "weirdly bland," "seems shaky," and "marred by an unexpected bone." In the end, she commends the $6 glasses of wine, so there is a slight silver lining.

Stereo 8

951 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412 (843) 640-3443

Apartment A

221 Coming St Apt A, Charleston, SC 29403 (843) 720-1888