The Food Guy, Steven Keith Eating his way through the state, plate by plate

Charleston “Restaurant Week” Menus Announced!

For those of you salivating over what choices you’ll have during Charleston’s upcoming “Restaurant Week,” I’m going to put you out of your misery. The menus have been announced! 

In case you missed the big news, Buzz Food Service has recruited eight top-notch local restaurants to participate in this year’s inaugural event, coming up Jan. 27-Feb. 1. 

Get the original scoop at, then check out the eight featured menus below …


BLUEGRASS KITCHEN (1600 Washington St. East, 304-346-2871)

First course:

* Simple salad or cup of soup du jour


* Pan-seared whole trout with organic stoneground grits, stewed kale and bourbon mustard sauce.

Dessert, choice of:

* Any available dessert.


BRIDGE ROAD BISTRO (915 Bridge Road, 304-720-3500)

First course, choice of:

* Cup of French Onion Soup

* House Salad

Entrée, choice of:

* Grecian Chicken Penne Pasta

* Apple Cured Pork Chop with fig and apple glaze with polenta and house vegetable

* Seared Salmon with polenta and house vegetable

Dessert, choice of:

* Bread Pudding

* Ice Cream


ICHIBAN (103 Capitol St., 304-720-7874)

First course, choice of:

* Gyoza (steamed pork dumpling)

* Almost Heaven Maki (shrimp and blue crab with spicy mayo, garnished with green onions and chili powder)

Entrée, choice of:

* Ichiban Land & Sea (filet with scallops drizzled with Asian sauce served with asparagus and choice of steamed or fried rice)

* Bamboo Chicken sautéed in General Tso’s sauce with choice of steamed or fried rice.


* Decadent Chocolate Spoon Cake.


NOAH’S ECLECTRIC BISTRO (110 McFarland St., 304-343-6558)

First course, choice of:

* Grilled Romaine Salad: Lightly grilled romaine, peppercorn dressing, grape tomato and shaved parmesan

* Soup of the Day: Chef’s Daily Creation

Entrée, choice of:

* Moroccan Spiced Braised Lamb: Tender braised leg of lamb with chickpeas, apricots, golden raisins, cous cous and mint yogurt

* Shrimp or Chicken Pad Thai: Bean sprouts, julienne vegetables, fried egg, rice noodles, peanuts, cilantro, coconut-peanut sauce

Dessert, choice of:

* Chocolate Lava Cake

* Vanilla Ice Cream with fresh berries


PATERNO’S AT THE PARK (601 Morris St., 304-205-5482)

First course, choice of:

* House-made meatball over polenta cake

* Italian Sausage Stuffed Pepper

Entrée, choice of:

* basil chicken (pan seared bone-in chicken breast with a basil marsala cream), tomato risotto and seasonal vegetable

* veal cutlet picatta (pounded veal tenderloin with a lemon and caper butter sauce), parmesan risotto and seasonal vegetable


* Cannoli chips


SOHO’S CAPITOL MARKET (800 Smith St., 304-720-7646)

First course, choice of:

* Caprese Salad

* Minestrone

Entrée, choice of:

* Lasagna

* Four-cheese ravioli with tomato basil

Dessert, choice of:

* Tiramisu

* Cannoli


SOUTH HILLS MARKET AND CAFÉ (1010 Bridge Road, 304-345-2585)

First course, choice of:

* Spanakopita Dip with Smoked Tomato Relish and Pita

* Garden Greens with choice of Dressing

* Braised Pork Belly with Succotash and Caramel Soy

Entrée, choice of:

* Chicken and Waffles with Braised Greens and Pecan Gastrique

* Pan Seared Grouper with Braised Leeks and Fennel with Saffron Beurre Blanc

* Grilled Petite Filet with whipped Potatoes and Vegetable Melange with Bordelaise

Dessert, choice of:

* Petite Doughnuts with Chocolate Sauce

* Creme Brûlée with Berry compote


VANDALIA GRILLE (212 Hale St., 304-343-4110)

First course, choice of:

* Tuna Nachos

* Bruschetta

Entrée, choice of:

* Cedar Plank Salmon

* Vandalia Filet


* Fried Cheesecake

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau’s efforts to honor local employees, restaurants, businesses and hotels in conjunction with National Tourism Week.

After weeks of the public nominating – and then voting on – their favorites in a variety of categories, winners are being announced TONIGHT during a reception at the Charleston Civic Center!

In the food-related categories, honors go to …

  • Favorite Restaurant – Pies & Pints
  • Favorite Specialty Drink – Sangria, Lola’s
  • Favorite Food Dish – Black Bean Pie, Pies & Pints
  • Best Restaurant Employee – Dana Mindrescu, Marriott
  • Best Frontline Ambassador – Aaron Clark, Bridge Road Bistro

Congrats to all!

Fazio’s: Still in Love After All These Years

A birthday celebration took us to Fazio’s this past weekend for what was another stellar meal.

We don’t go there very often, yet every time when we do the experience is so good we’re, like, “Why don’t we come here more often?”

In a world where independently owned local restaurants come and go (or survive despite mediocre reviews) Fazio’s has stood the test of time with exceptional food and service. I’m not saying it’s the best restaurant in town, but I can count on one hand the places that are so consistently good that I never think twice about making a reservation there.

Fazio’s is one of them.

On this recent visit, folks at our table ordered traditional pasta dishes (cannelloni, chicken basil, cacciatore) along with steak and seafood entrees. No surprise everyone left happy.

It’s pretty appropriate that I wrote about ice cream last week, as I was spending most of that time lounging around the beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast eating as much of it as I could possibly get my hands on.

Silky Peanut Butter Pie, Blueberry Cheesecake, Deluxe Moose Tracks, Mocha Almond Fudge, Cappuccino Cream, Coconut Explosion, Fudge Brownie Batter, Banana Pudding, Mint Chocolate Chunk.

So now it’s back to the real world where one can’t eat ice cream every day. But frozen yogurt’s OK, right? Here’s the scoop on the new Yogurt Mountain at Books-A-Million.

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Although I conducted a respectful moment of silence after the passing (closing) of the Joe Muggs coffee café inside Books-A-Million at Dudley Farms, the Yogurt Mountain shop that moved in is a worthy replacement.

I’d still rather cozy up with hot cup o’ joe and a book (frozen yogurt + bookstore = a little disconnect for me) but the newly opened sweet spot will draw plenty of fans. It’s built around a concept I’ve seen in bigger cities, but is making its first debut in the Charleston area.

You go in, grab a cup and walk up to a self-service wall of 16 flavored fat-free and low-fat frozen yogurts – everything from traditional choices like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry to coconut, cookies ‘n’ cream, peach, red velvet and more.

After filling your own cup, you move on to a bar featuring more than 50 toppings, sprinkling or coating as much as you want in any combination you want. Chocolate chips, nuts, candy, fruit, granola, crumbled Pop Tarts, the list goes on and on.

So you pick you own yogurt, pick your own toppings and build any type of treat you wish. Cool, but dangerous.

Just like at the Kroger salad bar, you pay based on the weight of your finished treat and all of those heavy, sugar-laden goodies add up. Fast.

If you’re not careful, you’ll pay dearly with both waist and wallet.

On a recent trip two of my boys and I just wanted a taste, so we each made our own little sundaes and escaped for just over $4 total. But many people pay that much for a single cup because they just load the wagon, consequence and cost be damned.

It’s a great place and you should enjoy it for an occasional splurge. Just proceed with caution.

IF YOU GO: Yogurt Mountain at Books-A-Million, Dudley Farms/Southridge, 304-746-2984,

I’m still on Cloud 9 after last night’s fantastic Bridge Brew Works Beer Dinner at Charleston’s Bridge Road Bistro.

I enjoyed chatting with BBW owners Nathan Herrold and Ken Linch (the entire company) about their stellar new brews from Fayetteville — and enjoyed sampling them even more when paired with BRB’s special tasting menu.

After a glass of the German-malted gold Long Point Lager, the moderately hoppy English amber Bridge Brew Ale was served with an outstanding Grilled Gingered Skate Wing over delicately flavored Asian Rice Noodles. Next came the deep copper, nicely bitter India Pale Ale paired with Foie Gras-Stuffed Free Range Chicken Breast with Mushroom and Pancetta Ragout.

Fantastic Braised Swift Level Short Ribs with Balsamic-Glazed Cippolini Onions over Parsnip Whipped Potatoes were accompanied by both the Belgian-Style Dubbel (dark and malty, balanced hops) and the crisp and fruity Tripel, packing a deceptive 8.97% alcohol content. As good as this course was, dessert managed to match it with a decadent Warm Chocolate “Black Lager” Walnut Cake served with Espresso Ice Cream and the same dark, semi-dry German Black Lager that went into the cake itself.

I’m telling you, every course — and beer — was oh, so good. One of my favorite restaurants teaming up with my new favorite West Virginia microbrewery? Yep, that’s a good night.

To learn more about upstart Bridge Brew Works, visit You can also find some of their beers at the Capitol Market Wine Shop and The Liquor Company at Patrick Street, plus on tap at Pies & Pints, Bar 101 and Bridge Road Bistro.

Enjoy a Good Meal AND Help Out a Good Cause

Reserve your spot now for Tuesday night’s 6th annual Hospice Care Benefit Dinner at Tidewater Grill. I’ve been in years past and it’s a fun night paired with a top-notch menu.

On tap this year:

  • Appetizer: Lobster cakes with red pepper coulis
  • Salad: Baby greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, bleu cheese crumbs, red onions and candied pecans
  • Main Course: Petite filet mignon with demi-glace and steamed vegetables, or shrimp and crabmeat-stuffed flounder with a buerre-blanc sauce
  • Dessert: Toffee caramel crunch cheesecake

The semi-formal event starts at 6 p.m. and the cost is $100 per person. Red and white wine selections (and other drinks) will also be available. All proceeds from the dinner benefit terminally ill patients and those receiving end-of-life care at Hospice of West Virginia. Over the past five years, this annual event has raised more than $70,000 for Hospice.

Seating is limited, so reservations are required in advance by calling 888-456-3463.

If you happen to be down the Huntington way — or don’t mind a drive for some seriously awesome food — you should check out Chili Willi’s “Spring Fresh Seafood Weekend” menu.

The hotspoknown for hot (as in great, not necessarily spicy) Southwestern cuisine has also been offering some special dishes featuring seafood from right here in West Virginia or along the East Coast. This week’s fresh catch:

  • Wood-grilled West Virginia trout with smoked tomato-chiptole butter, served with garlic mashed potatoes and wood-grilled asparagus.
  • Pan-sauteed Boston flounder with an apricot-chipotle glaze, served with pepita rice and wood-grilled asparagus.

 Sounds good to me!

IF YOU GO: Chili Willi’s, 1315 Fourth Ave., Huntington — (304) 529-4857,

Hankering for Something New? Try a Belgian Brew

If you’re looking for something fun (and delicious) to do this week, check out Bridge Road Bistro’s “Belgian Beer Tasting” at 6 p.m. Tuesday. You can sample four different Belgian-style beers – each paired with food to complement it – for just $29, plus tax and gratuity.

On the menu:

  • BAVIK PILS: A light Belgian pilsner with a fine white head, great aroma and forward aftertaste. It will be paired with smoked salmon tartar with avocado and tomato.
  • WITTEKERKE: An unfiltered Belgian wheat beer, which will accompany a grilled duck and Thai basil spring roll with citrus chili peanut sauce.
  • PIRAAT: A Belgian Triple Ale, which is much more bold and rich. You’ll sample it with grilled skewered flank steak seasoned with Caribbean mango jerk.
  • GULDEN DRAAK: This Belgian Dark Triple is a dessert-like sipping beer similar to barley wine. It will be served with a rich flourless chocolate torte with caramel sauce.

Reservations are required by calling the restaurant at 304-720-3500.