The Barbadoes Room Restaurant at The Mills House Hotel on the corner of Meeting and Queen Street, in downtown Charleston - Met by high arched doorways, richly appointed decor, gleaming dark wood, substantial chairs and lazily spinning fans, the appearance alone of the recently renovated Babadoes Room Restaurant will put one instantly at ease with the surety that he or she will be well taken care of.
Offering three spacious dining rooms, each table in the restaurant is afforded room enough for privacy yet there is an intimate feel to the rooms coaxing patrons to comfort with the sense that they are relaxing in the drawing room of a dear friend. The seafarer's maps and the rattan fans put one in mind of the early connection between the West Indies and the Carolinas when important shipping deals were made and plans were solidified over cognac and a good cigar.
Though the name and decor of the restaurant create an atmosphere of exotic history, the luncheon menu boasts everything a modern day appetite might seek. Appetizers include soups, salad and a unique sampling of fine cheeses. Ask about the soup du Jour and find a pleasing indulgence like Brie and mushroom soup. The summer menu version of the seasonal menu offers luncheon entrees with a selection from various stone baked pizzas and unusual topping blends, to generous sandwiches, each with a special something that adds a flavor combination to transform the ordinary sandwich into a luncheon treat. Salad entrees prove to be an unusual pleasure as well; among them are items like sweet curried chicken salad with raisins, honey and pecans served in a pineapple wedge with seasonal fresh fruit.
The portions are generous, the food is fresh and well prepared and the recipes are well planned with consideration to flavor influences that bring much more enjoyment to the table than the menu descriptions promise. Even with the standard Low Country fare, Carolina she crab soup or shrimp and grits for example, the diner is served the traditional southern dish and is additionally pleased with the slight alterations and variations to the recipes that bring an added facet to the flavor.
Though one might be tempted to fill up on the savory lunch choices, it is recommended that appetite enough be reserved for the desserts at the Barbadoes Room. As with the luncheon menu, many traditional favorites will be found, but they each have that something extra that brings the quality and flavor of the offerings to a level that is simply put, a cut above delicious. As much attention is given to the dessert menu as to the main fare. With twelve offerings, one will find it difficult to choose.
After years of being spoiled by my grandmother's award winning pecan pie, I am something of a pecan pie snob. I snickered as I was recently offered a taste of the Barbadoes Room pecan pie, knowing it could not possibly pass muster by comparison and was shocked to have my grandmother's standing as the reigning pecan queen come to an abrupt end with just one bite! I recommend the pecan pie, which took me to new heights of gustatory enjoyment but for the key lime, ice cream, cheesecake and chocolate lovers; no worries. There is something for everyone to enjoy a favorite end-of-the-meal treat at the Barbadoes Room.
For service, ambiance, menu selection and preparation, and overall enjoyment, this fine restaurant rates a well-deserved 4.5 stars. A median luncheon at the Barbadoes Room Restaurant with the lovely surroundings, Charleston location and wonderful food is worth every penny of its rating of a four out of a possible five $$$$,.
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