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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dining in Charleston - Cypress

We had reservations at 6:00 PM at Cypress. We were going here because we had heard of it via the James Beard Award Nominees list that had recently been announced. Cypress is located on E. Bay at Queen St.

We arrived a little early, so we stopped at Griffon's bar, a half block East, for a couple of drinks. An interesting place; their motif is dollar bills stapled to everything, and signed by everyone. Interesting!

Arriving at Cypress, we found the dining area to be interesting. As I work with microcontrollers, I noted that it appears all of the ceiling lights are using RGB LED lights, which move through a spectrum of colors before repeating about every 5 minutes.

On the North wall is a 2-story wine storage, behind a glass wall. Impressive!

The kitchen is completely open, and is at the back.

We sat in a private clam-shell booth, on the right side of the dining room. Our backs were to the wine storage.

My wife ordered a small min-bottle of wine, while I had Talisker Single Malt Scotch, served neat.

Our waitress, JoAnn, was very well informed about all aspects of the menu. She's probably the best informed wait staff we've had in the past 10 years.

We each picked a 'Starter', even though we were going to order the 'Prix fixe' menu, which comes with a starter, but we enjoy doing this when dining at a restaurant so far from our home area, as it gives us an opportunity to sample more of the chef's abilities for a small increase in the overall price.

My wife picked from the regular starters, and selected the Almond-Fried Brie
cranberry-walnut chutney, baby greens, champagne vinaigrette for $10.

I selected from the Seasonal Starters, and selected the Sweet & Sour Lamb Meatballs ricotta gnocchi, tomato-orange marmalade for $11.

We enjoyed both, but we both preferred my wife's Almond-Fried Brie. I'm not really big on brie, but I really liked this! It had just the right amount of crust on the outside, while being warm and soft on the inside. It was great!

Next we ordered for the Prix Fixe, which is currently $39 each. We both felt afterwards that this was a very good value.

For my wife's Prix Fixe Starter, she ordered the Charcuterie, while for my Prix Fixe Starter, I ordered the Crispy Pork Shoulder. Again, we both felt my wife's choice was superior to my choice. I thought my Crispy Pork Shoulder was a little overdone, but how can one be sure when it's cooked 'Crispy'? It was good, but we both preferred hers. BTW - Chef Craig Deihl makes his own Charcuterie, and I think it's the best I've ever had. Some of the meats just melt in your mouth - so flavorful and tender. Here's a video of the interior of the restaurant along with his team making their Charcuterie.

For our Main Course, my wife chose Pastured Pork Schnitzel, while I chose Braised MiBek Farms Beef. My wife's Scnhitzel was good, but my Beef was outstanding - we both thought it was the best. At home I have a Sous Vide Supreme, and think this was pprobably cooked via that method, as it was fork tender. We asked the waitress if this was true, and she confirmed it was cooked this way. Well, all I can say is he's doing a much better job with it than I am! It appears that it was cooked in the Sous Vide method, then either 'torched' or placed on a grill for a few minutes to get some Maillard Browning toast on the outside. Whatever - it was great! So I've got something to look forward to cooking-wise when we get back home!

For our desserts, my wife chose Chai Spiced Panna Cotta, while I chose Goat’s Milk Ricotta Cheesecake. My wife enjoyed hers, saying it was tasty without being heavy. I liked mine too.

Our tab consisted of:
1 half-bottle of wine
2 glasses of Talisker Single Malt Scotch, served Neat.
2 Starters
2 Prix Fixe meals at $39 each
Total: $196.

Total time dining was about 2 hours.

This is much more than we spend on average, but once or twice a year, when going somewhere special like Cypress, we will do this.

We feel that we had a great time, and the price was reasonable for what we received.

For a deeper look at Cypress and Chef Deihl, please have a look at this article.

We look forward to going back!

Next Up on Dining in Charleston:
Glass Onion - lunch
Bowens Island Oyster Roast - dinner

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