By Robin Gibson
Charleston Grit was the first to try out The Spectator Hotel's new food program during a private tasting Tuesday, February 5, one of three held for select media during the week. While not providing a full-scale menu, sit-down dining experience, what The Spectator Hotel has done is put together a stellar food menu with a delicious array of perfectly sized snacks far exceeding the typical bar experience. Sharing kitchen space with its sister property, The French Quarter Inn, The Spectator Hotel's new food program comes to life in a small, retrofitted environment. Size does not hinder quality, however, as every effort and careful consideration has been made to provide a superior limited menu with items befitting the caliber of its patrons and guests.
The addition of the new food program also allows the hotel to capitalize on those staying on-site. While butler service already existed with offerings from other places, they'll now be able to add their own for them to enjoy in the privacy of their room. Exceeding customer expectations is top of mind for staff and this is just one more way to do it. Accompanying this is a selection of curated cocktails crafted with as much attention to detailed ingredients as the food itself.
What You Can Expect if You Go
In addition to a standard wine and spirits menu, expect the Craft Cocktail menu to change seasonally along with the food. That doesn't mean certain mainstays won't always be available, such as The Dude Imbibes, a signature Chai vanilla vodka liqueur cocktail, and Speck Taters, a brilliant spin on fingerling potatoes that come alive with a delicious Crème Fraiche. Service begins daily when the bar opens at 4 p.m. and continues until 10 p.m. when it closes. Management is open to reviewing its time slot based on traffic and response but feel they've identified what works best for the location and expected clientele. Do come hungry but don't expect to order a full meal. What you can expect is to leave satisfied as menu options are robust and filling. Two or three items paired together should do the trick.
Flavors are paramount as evidenced by something as simple as a bowl of cashews, which were served marinating in truffle oil accented with rosemary. That focus on small but mighty is the key takeaway from our tasting experience.
Back on the wine and spirits side, you can reasonably expect to fall in love with Repent and Redeem, a spicy tequila, chili oil foam beauty that outsells every other craft cocktail The Spectator Hotel serves two to one. I loved it. I bet you will, too. You can also expect the bartender to recommend a nice Merlot to enjoy with the Savory Cheesecake should you happen to order it (and I recommend that you do) as the two pair wonderfully together. Their local take on the classic Old Fashioned will likely impress you, too, with its nod to Palmetto Brewing's Espresso Porter serving as a key ingredient.
The Spectator Hotel hits all the high marks needed to tempt and please sophisticated palates. Plan your visit and say hi to Allen behind the bar, whose talent and culinary vision delivered it from conception to reality.
The Spectator Hotel is located at 67 State St. Charleston, SC 29401 Phone (843) 724-4326 Website https://thespectatorhotel.com/