With all the new pizza places opening up in Charleston, how can one keep up with which is tops? Post and Courier critic Hanna Raskin slides into a seat at Belle Hall addition Ember Wood Fired Kitchen to discover a near-perfect crust:
Ember didn’t invent after-dinner pizza, but it’s the rare restaurant that can boast a crust so accomplished it shines in every possible scenario. Whether finished with tomato sauce, meatballs and cheese, or mushrooms, roasted garlic and sage, Ember’s airy, tangy crust, which are a far cry from the cracker-thin variety that’s currently fashionable, is a winner. Powdered sugar and marshmallows kissed with a creme brulee torch can’t dim its sophistication.
For non-pizza-eaters, Raskin recommends the wood-fired clams or the tagliatelle, with “fennel-flecked” sausage. Not all the fare receives praise, however. Brussels sprouts are too sweet, the chicken is “just OK,” salads are plain, salmon is tough, and the steak is “oily.” But in the end, Raskin circles back to the “first-rate” pizza, even the dessert pies.
Charleston City Paper critic Vanessa Wolf also travels to Mount Pleasant but to try out Shem Creek restaurant Nico. The shrimp and periwinkle are good enough to “give it the other half of [her] friendship necklace,” the meuniere mussels swim in a “bland, boring broth,” the fried oysters are “under-seasoned and overly browned,” the pommes frites are “soggy,” and the pasta "Fruits De Mer" is “reminiscent of old school tuna noodle casserole, yet less satisfying.” Wolf recommends sticking to the raw bar items, the fire-roasted fish, or those best friend shrimp and periwinkles.
• Pizza Crust the Crowning Glory at Ember in Mount Pleasant [P&C]
• At Nico Oysters + Seafood, Stick to the Fruits de Mer [CP]