Dinner and drinks at Parcel 32

Betsey Geier

Next to the iconic American Theater is the newly remodeled Parcel 32. The refreshed décor combines the rich history of the 19th century Charleston single with the contemporary.

One of the biggest changes – and in my opinion most favorable – is opening up the courtyard entrance. Now, when you walk into the building, you have the bar to one side and the main dining room on the other. It’s more inviting.

The design of the restaurant allows it to have two menus: a regular dining menu and a bar menu. The bar menu is where you can order the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project slider.

Executive chef Shaun Brian didn’t only develop a love for cooking at a young age, but a love for pickles – and pickling! He started pickling things as a child and is still passionate about it today. The local pickle bowl, which is on the bar menu, is a daily assortment of in-season vegetables. In our bowl, we had traditionally pickled items like cucumbers and squashes and stranger things like a mushroom.

Also on the menu is spicy pickled quail eggs. These tiny bites of goodness weren’t too spicy but had a wonderful creamy texture.

The smoked local fish spread was made with mahi-mahi the night I tried it. Chef Shaun Brian explained to us that the mahi-mahi got its name from the Hawaiian language. Apparently, in Hawaii, when words are repeated, like mahi-mahi, the first word means strong, thus mahi-mahi means “strong fish.”

The real reason I was there was for the pecan meal hush puppies. These fried balls of dough have quickly become a restaurant favorite. They’re made with pecan meal and just a bit of flower and topped with pimento cheese. It doesn’t get more southern than that!

Highlights from the dinner menu include chilled corn silk poached shrimp and the organic local vegetable, which was a patty pan squash served with a sinful butter sauce.

Parcel 32 is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. with bar service beginning at 4:30 p.m.