The big meal at First2Board’s Charleston Sessions was Saturday night at local favorite, Halls Chophouse. I was really looking forward to it, as I’d heard nothing but good things. We were in town during Charleston Restaurant Week, so needed to get an early seating to accommodate a group of our size.
The Restaurant Week menu included 3 courses for $40, but the kind people at Halls decided to throw in an extra course just for us Our meal began with a nice fried green tomato (my first ever, if you can believe it!):
It was topped with a crab and corn salad, and I thought it was a really nice way to start the meal. The tomato was firm (anyone who has had a fried green tomato before is saying “duh” right now, but give this first timer a break!), and provided a good base for the dish. The fresh, creamy salad provided a textural contrast to the dense, fried tomato – and the two really worked well together.
For the first “official” course, I was planning to order the She Crab Soup so that I could compare it to the one I had the night before at 82 Queen. However, when the waiter informed us that the soup of the day was Duck Confit Gumbo, that plan went right out the window.
It was absolutely the right choice – this soup was outstanding. It had okra and rice, and just the right amount of spiciness (which is a fair amount, in my book). The flavors were layered and complex, and the duck was a really interesting twist. Simply put: If you go to Halls, and they have this soup as the soup of the day, you absolutely, absolutely must get it. Wow it was good!
For my main course, they had a choice of steak and salmon. I like salmon just fine, but at a place called Halls Chophouse, I’m going to get the steak 99% of the time. The cut on the Restaurant Week menu was a filet, which isn’t my favorite, but I was happy to have the waiter ask “cool center or warm center” when I ordered it “rare” (cool center, of course). That’s a mark of a restaurant that takes their steak seriously!
Sorry for the crappy photo – my phone doesn’t do very well in low light. The steak was prepared exactly the way I like it, cool center and all. It was very tender, juicy, nicely (and lightly) seasoned, and even though it was a filet, I enjoyed it immensely. Of the side dishes, the greens were a bit too sweet for my liking, but the corn was great – a deliciously crunchy crust on the outside, and the corn itself provided heavenly little “pops” of sweetness.
For dessert I had the Key Lime Pie, which was served with fresh raspberries and a snickerdoodle cookie.
I’m not that much of a dessert person, but I can appreciate dessert when it’s done right. This dessert was done right. It was delightfully creamy, but still light and fresh; sweet, but also a little tart. A wonderful mix of textures with the crunchy cookie, soft raspberries, and silky key lime custard – and a great way to cap a great meal!
Halls is a great option if you’re in Charleston and looking for a good steak, but they also do some classic Southern dishes quite well – so make sure you look through the whole menu, and don’t skip straight to the steak page!
Have you been to Halls Chophouse? What was your experience like?