Charleston Fine Art Dealers’ Association Presents Eighth Annual Palette and Palate Stroll
By Robin Riebman
The slightly cooler than average temperatures and a rare rain-less evening created a wonderful night for the Charleston Fine Art Dealers Association’s 8th annual Palate and Palette Stroll. If you’ve never been, you just need to know that it’s a great opportunity to wander through the art galleries in the southern part of the peninsula, and taste bites from renowned local chefs. Proceeds from the event support local art and art education. Executive Director Lese Corrigan pointed out that many of the gallery owners have been members of the CFADA for years and choose to have their favorite local chefs return. Others have the opportunity to collaborate with fresh new faces in town. Participants come from all over the country to enjoy this intimate event. At $45, for drinks and snacks, I would say this is a fun way to spend a special evening. The scholarship funds have gone to the Gibbes Museum of Art, Redux Contemporary Art Center and the Studio Art Department at the College of Charleston. In the future I would love to see some more coordination between the chefs. I hope that new restaurants will continue to participate, offering up a small glance into the beauty of the Charleston restaurant scene with a backdrop of lowcounty and contemporary gallery art.
Executive Chef Nate Whiting: Tristan Restaurant @ The Martin Gallery
(10 Linguard Street/ 18 Broad Street)
Local White Peach Custard with buttery Italian Cerignola olives, lemon oil and sea salt was the best bite of the evening. Chef Whiting always impresses me at events. He was also experimenting with a smoked olive oil gummy bear with watermelon jerky and vin cotto. Chef Whiting is a big fan of the pecan and hickory wood smoke olive oil from Holy Smoke (which you can find at the Marion Square Farmer’s Market). I am not a fan of watermelon and nothing compared to that White Peach Custard.
Executive Chef Craig Deihl: Cypress Restaurant @ Robert Lange Studio
(167 E Bay Street / 2 Queen Street)
This playful gallery is the perfect foil for Chef Deihl, the bourbon swigging, pork roastin’ maniac. Deihl eats his meat by the pound and encourages others to do the same. Deihl dished out what I referred to as No-Fork-Pork Belly over a cornbread cake with a cherry plum reduction. A display of crispy fried pork skin kept the younger crowds’ attention.
Chef de Cuisine Nick Francis: Trattoria Lucca @ Dog & Horse
(41 Bogard Street / 102 Church Street)
Carne Crudo appeared twice on this year’s tour. This Italian iteration had a smoother texture and was accented with capers, parmesan shards, pickled garlic and colatura di alici (an ancient “oil” made from salted, pressed anchovies caught off the Almafi Coast in Italy). I had two of these.
Executive Chef Jeremy Holst: Anson Restaurant: Repeat Appearance @ Helena Fox Fine Art
(12 Anson Street / 106 A Church Street)
I’ve never been to Anson but have thought about making the trip numerous times. My strolling buddy has decided to book a party of eight there. Chef Holst made an impression. Let me reiterate that I really don’t like watermelon. But, the golden beets with pressed watermelon, pea shoots, and pickled local peaches made me pretty happy. There was a balance of flavor and texture that just worked. The olive oil snow was superfluous. Chef Holst went above and beyond, also having the better of the two ceviche dishes. Holst’s featured squid, NC scallops and fresh shrimp. The bright citrus colors played nicely with the art. In case you needed a palate cleanser (which you didn’t with these fresh, bright dishes) the Anson folks were shaving ice and drowning it in a minted blackberry syrup with buffalo trace bourbon and a brandied cherry on top.
Executive Chef Jeremiah Bacon: Oak Steakhouse: Repeat Appearance @ Horton Hayes Fine Art
(17 Broad Street / 30 State Street)
Oak is more than just a steak house. The standard steak and potato dinner at Oak fulfills my expectations of a beloved American steakhouse. Their staff is always friendly and professional. At Horton Hayes, their smiling faces made me forget there was art on the walls. Oops. They put a fava bean tartlet with white truffle oil, micro fennel from Wadmalaw Island, and pickled beach mushrooms in front of me and I drooled. This was accompanied by a beef spring roll with pickled carrots and greens, and little butter cookies to take as dessert.
Executive Chef Cole Poolaw: Barsa: Repeat Appearance @ Corrigan Gallery
(630 King Street / 62 Queen Street)
Chef Poolaw impressed Lese and the crowd with his beef tartar over crunchy house cut waffle chips, drizzled with bright green chimichurri and topped with a quail egg yolk. Chef Poolaw’s attention to detail is admirable. After overhearing a stroll-er brag, I’ve decided the Barsa Paella needs to be something taste tested soon.
Executive Chef Jesse Sulton: Social @ Ella W Richardson Fine Art
(188 E Bay Street / 58 Broad Street)
A perfectly refreshing pineapple infused rum cocktail with a splash of bubbly was a nice foil to Social’s simple tapas; including duck (pictured above) rillettes on house made toast with whole grain mustard, marinated mozzarella and tomato skewers, traditional shrimp salad on house made chips, and triple cream cheese with fresh strawberries. My experience suggests that this may not be an accurate representation of the food Social typically puts out, but everything was tasty.
Executive Chef Marc Collins: Circa 1886 @ Angelin Smith Fine Art
(149 Wentworth St / 9 Queen Street)
Exquisitely bright, rich oil paintings and lowcountry wildlife sculptures appease the eye at Angelin Smith. The Smith family art is well represented in Charleston Restaurant Dining rooms like McCrady’s. Unfortunately, this year’s stroll had dueling ceviches and the cuttlefish from Circa 1886 didn’t cut the mustard. I will admit, I have yet to eat at 1886 but my stroll-mate suggested that this less than stellar showing was fairly indicative of their cuisine.
Executive Chef Matthew Niessner: Halls Chophouse: Sylvan Gallery
(434 King Street / 171 King Street)
The offerings from Halls included a baked Salmon with Mediterranean yogurt sauce, meatballs in a rich cream sauce, and their signature chop salad with green peppercorn buttermilk dressing. Halls is another restaurant I’ve yet to hit in town. I was assured that this was not their best representation. There was nothing wrong with the dishes, but lets just say they allowed me to focus on the art a little more.
- Tags: Angelin Smith Fine Art, Anson Restaurant, Barsa, Chef de Cuisine Nick Francis, Circa 1886, Cole Poolaw, Corrigan Gallery, Craig Deihl, Cypress Restaurant, Dog & Horse, Ella W Richardson Fine Art, Halls Chophouse, Helena Fox Fine Art, Horton Hayes Fine Art, Jeremiah Bacon, Jeremy Holst, Jesse Sulton, Marc Collins, Matthew Niessner, Nate Whiting, Oak Steakhouse, Robert Lange Studio, Social, Sylvan Gallery, The Martin Gallery, Trattoria Lucca, Tristan Restaurant