The critics go to opposite ends of the Charleston peninsula this month to bring reports of South of Broad stunners and NoMo dazzlers.
Post and Courier critic Hanna Raskin tackles the tiny dining room at Bar Normandy and is ultimately charmed. The petite eatery sits inside Normandy Farms Bakery after hours — Raskin explains this cuts costs not only for the owners, but for customers too. She explains the setup:
To turn Normandy Farm Bakery into Bar Normandy, [chef Alex] Lira and service ace Philip Michael Cohen dim the lights and turn on a pair of induction burners and a panini press that Lira ironically calls his plancha. Other than affixing the names of the evening’s three available dishes and two available oyster varieties to a wall-hung plastic-pin letterboard, those electrical adjustments are about the extent of the changeover.
She says the restaurant “ought to be the belle of Broad Street,” because “it’s a mistake to cede the city’s most historic neighborhoods to visitors.” But what about the food, right? The bread is stellar, the food “superlative,” and salads have redefined the category:
The dreamiest dishes at Bar Normandy may well be the casually controlled salads, in which salty cheese and spicy radishes punctuate greens that force you to ponder the excellence of South Carolina soil.
On the other end of town, writer Vanessa Wolf discovers that the new goat.sheep.cow.north turns out more than just highly curated meat and cheese boards. — though she quickly dismisses the salad as “ultimately insubstantial and forgettable.” But, who’s ordering veggies at a fromagerie? The signature grilled sandwich is a “revelation,” the monger’s version is “decadent, yet balanced,” and the daily sandwich special is “perhaps the next best thing to being in the 15th arrondissement.” Go for the cheese boards, but stay for the sandwiches.