The Ordinary

If you are like me and haven’t been The Ordinary in quite some time, its time to change that.  Housed in a 1920’s era bank building turned upscale seafood restaurant in Cannonborough-Elliotborough on upper Kind Street, The Ordinary is seafood heaven in downtown Charleston.

Known for their seafood towers and raw bar, The Ordinary is much more than that.  From oysters on the half shell, crab claws, ceviche and caviar service to fish sandwiches, gumbo and New England style Fish and Corn Chowder, The Ordinary has a little bit of something for every seafood lover.  Locally sourced, their seafood is fresh and exquisitely prepared. 

We started with the martini service; dirty like you would expect the sea to taste.  They steep Vermouth with oyster shells, mushrooms and Kombu giving it the taste of the sea.  This take on a dirty martini is different but so good.  It gave a regular dirty Martini an umami flavor that provide a depth I have never tasted in a Martini.  

Start with the seafood tower, in 1,2 or 3 tiers.  Stay local and add the Lowcountry Cup oysters and the Single Lady’s.  Briny and bright with a little sweetness, they are lowcountry fare through and through.  Add the Stone Crab claw, well, because they are one of my favorites.  Finish it off with little neck clams, peel and eat shrimp, and caviar service.  

We started with a tower with just a selection of both Single Lady’s and Lowcountry cups and a half pound of the stone crab claws. From there we tried the American Red Snapper carpaccio and the Smoked Lady’s Island oysters.  The snapper was done in a Mediterranean style with a tomato-based sauce.  Light and refreshingly done.  The smoke oysters come out in a small taurine, with crème fraise and baked saltines and hot sauce.  These are amazing.   My wife is German, and we both love German food and German style food.  So, we couldn’t turn down fish schnitzel, even though we were a little doubtful.  It was some of the best schnitzel I have had, fish or any other meat.  Crispy and light, it was a very satisfying bite.    Finally, we had a mustard crusted Amberjack filet.  This was plated on heirloom tomato carpaccio (tomato slices, really good tomato slices) with a sauce betterave (beetroot sauce).  Prepared similarly to the schnitzel, also Amberjack, it had a crispy crust with a hint of Dijon mustard and a perfectly cooked, moist filet inside.  

As I said above, it has probably been years since I have been there.   Charleston has so much to offer in the food scene, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices.  We all gravitate to what we like and can get caught doing the same things over and over.  I am so glad I decided to change my habits, The Ordinary will be one of my regulars.

Written by Dave Hoffman, a Charleston Travel Plans local.