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The Tin Roof — Not Your Momma’s Hotdog

on Monday, 27 February 2012. Posted in Magazine, Eat This! February 2012, Dine or Dash

Tin-Roof-7For anyone that thinks a hotdog is just a hotdog, take it from me — "the un-convinced of anything hotdog" — that you may want to check out the Tin Roof off Hwy 61 in West Ashley. My dining companion for this particular adventure considers herself a 'dog' connoisseur and I thought her inclusion only fair to contrast my derision for this American culinary all-star. I blame a childhood of boiled wieners, canned kraut and soggy buns. In fact, it was only my curiosity about some fanatical praise I had recently heard for this restaurant and it's dogs that got me here.

Neither my friend nor I had been to the Tin Roof prior to this visit. We pulled in right as dusk turned to dark and found a spot in the gravel parking lot that was already filling up. It was not clear to either of us where to enter so we opted for the most inviting access point, which happened to be in between an enclosed patio/staging area and the inside bar. On the advice of a friend we headed straight to the heart of this unique eatery and dined at the bar. Don't let the quaint, country-esque name Tin Roof give you the wrong image. This place is a garage band's wet dream. The décor is eclectic in the broadest sense of the word running the gamut of retro to revolutionary — Elvis to Ishmael. What wasn't graffitied or postered was covered in fabric and fringe. The bar itself is sandwiched between a generous stage space (Yes, there is live music!) and a pool table. The floor is concrete and there is a definite "basement" vibe to the place.

This particular evening, Tin Roof was featuring craft beers by Charleston's own Holy City Brewing Company and I opted for a pint of the Pecan Dream while I looked over the heavily "hotdogged" menu. Typically I am not into sweets when choosing my savory edibles, but this particular dog was howling at me. The "Maple Leaf" listed maple soy syrup, honey mustard, bacon and relish as components. The smoky meatiness of the bacon and the all beef dog were in perfect balance with the sweet-acidic play of the syrup, mustard and relish. The subtle nutty creaminess of the beer was a perfect companion to the dish. Could it be that I really like hotdogs?

There was no question of like on the part of my dining companion. She boldly chose Holy City's Oyster Stout, whose interesting briny nuance played perfectly the saltiness of the bleu cheese on her Mason Dixon menu choice. The combo of bleu cheese slaw, chili and spicy mustard attracted her because of its resemblance to her "galactic" favorite. After finishing off our dogs and a side of Raw Fries — thin chips sliced to order and drizzled in a gorgonzola cream sauce — she decided that there may be a new Top Dog in town.

Would I bring my thirteen year old nephew who is an aspiring drummer to grab a dog here or my office drinking buddies for beer and music? Definitely yes! Would I bring my retired teacher mom who would have benefited for the experience of a great dog many years ago? Oh, most certainly no! The potential "volume" of the music and the unisex bathrooms with a shared external hand sink are not for less adventurous souls. Most importantly, would I go back? After my "Maple Leaf" epiphany, I say "hell yeah!"

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