The Kraken Gastropub – 2910 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, SC 29210
This place is all about the food. The lobster grilled cheese contains rich brie and a saltier goat cheese, which acts to cut through the richness of the brie and lobster. The amount of lobster contained in this sandwich far exceeded my expectations, and the use of a fairly stout toasted bread enhanced the textural experience of this meal. The duck fat frites were delicious as well, though I would recommend having a cool Founders Red Rye Pale Ale on hand to wash them down. The Kraken is on the forefront of Columbia’s burgeoning food and beer scene.
Fish – 442 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403
Located on peninsular Charleston’s downtown King Street, this restaurant’s patio is an ideal place to do some excellent people watching and have lunch and a cocktail on a warm spring afternoon. The pork belly steamed bun with sriracha cream sauce was a perfectly balanced medley of rich and piquant flavors. The coconut soup avoided the pitfall of allowing the coconut milk to overshadow other flavors. Indeed, the curry was the clear star of the show. The “Frankly Speaking,” one of Fish’s featured cocktails, was absolutely bursting with bright orange peel flavor without becoming overly-bitter or saccharine. The tamarind flavor played an excellent accompaniment to the orange. The cocktail balanced sweet, sour, bitter, and alcohol in a way that made it enjoyable to drink from beginning to end, and was complex enough to hold my attention. The bar tender didn’t seem incredibly welcoming, but with French-Indochinese fusion cuisine of this caliber, I frankly didn’t care. The prices seem very reasonable.