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We dined at The Charleston Grill on Christmas Eve. What a mistake!! This restaurant has lots of awards (including WS BAE) but was way off its game on Dec 24th. The management should re-read the advice "you only get one chance to make a good first impression". Background info ==We made our reservation one month in advance, we were on time & properly attired. The Charleston Grill is only open for dinner & "Palmetto" is another restaurant in the same complex. AN ODE TO THE CHARLESTON GRILL--'Twas the night before Christmas, when decked in our finery, we arrived at The Grill to be greeted by maitre'd. Our table was set near the lit Christmas tree, with a view of the band & the atrium lea. Expecting great food & service to die for, alas, we didn't know what we were in for. The waiter & wine gal were merry & helpful, for what happened next we'll give you an earful. Les amuses, aperitifs, it all started well, until all the traipsing started from hell. An innocent beginning, the patrons squeezed by, 'tween cheek by jowl tables, 'twas no aisle nigh. The little old lady snagged her coat on my spouse, her husband, his cane, but we didn't grouse. The candle it flickered, the glasses they clinked. The table was swaying but what should we think? It's Christmas, be thoughtful & loving & kind. They're old, need a shortcut so pay them no mind. But one moment later, a trailhead was opened. As patrons "scused" through us, we wondered what happened. How deftly the staff aimed them straight for our table, turning sidewise to ooze past our chairs, scarcely able. Don't use the aisle for groups--twos, fours, then eights! When diners are seated they should mind their own plates!! The final straw came when the manager fell on the head of my spouse who let out a yell. "Thousands of pardons" he sputtered & spewed, then picked up his menus to resume his trek through. We expected some changes, a new table at least, but nothing was offered by this Christmas beast. At last we inquired & oh what a flurry! Reseated on banquettes!! At warp speed, 'twas blurry!!! The ingratiating Grinch tried to be our best friend. Just what could he do, our feelings to mend? Another evening perhaps, as his personal guest. Guaranteed service & seating--The Best. We planned in November for each Charleston night. We researched chef's menus, our schedule was tight. Then lunch at Palmetto, "Here's my card" he enthused. With our tab north of 300, insult heaped on abuse. Seeking fine dining? Save yourself from this fate. Our evening was ruined, The Grill's too little too late.
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Clever prose. But I am curious as others are. Was it basically a bad table? Sounds like quick corrrection was made once it was brought to their attention. Although, table placement seemed faulty from the start. How was the food? Wife and I go to Charleston about once a year to visit friends and Charleston Grill is on list to try sometime. Thanks in advance for additional info and welcome to the boards.
The ingratiating Grinch tried to be our best friend. Just what could he do, our feelings to mend? Another evening perhaps, as his personal guest.

If he was offering to comp you a meal that would run another $300, and you didn't take it, then you're an idiot.

Aside from that, NEVER judge a restaurant by its performance on a holiday. Want a miserable meal? Dine out on Mother's Day or on New Year's Eve. I don't think I'll stay away from the Grill simply because you got bumped around on Christmas.
Hello to all! To Sweet M--We were on a two week holiday in Savannah & Charleston during which time we dined at Il Pasticcio, Bistro of Savannah, 17 Hundred 90, Olde Pink House, 45 South, Elizabeth on 37th, Sapphire Grill, Anson, McCrady's, 39 Rue de Jean, Circa 1886 & Slightly North of Broad. Our table at The Charleston Grill was charming--the problem was the shortcutting. We don't know why the staff didn't use the main aisle to seat these other groups instead of dragging them between the tables. To Purple H--Actually I just found this forum today, so I'm locked & loaded now! To W--When the manager of the restaurant trips over a customer, who has the obligation to correct the situation? The management or the patron? This place advertises its stars, diamonds & accolades but isn't pro-active regarding customer comfort. Either they should remove the table & make this section a walkway from the get-go or use the designated main aisle to seat people, period. If you're on Atkins, you'll love this place. The duck entree: magret, confit & foie gras in a stack was decorated with 6 tiny snow pea pod points. Yes!!--3 pea pods cut in half to decorate the pile. No other veggies. Julia Child is twirling in her grave. This is not a complaint--just a forewarning. To JV--We made reservations a month in advance for all the restaurants we visited, had specific plans at each & didn't really want to give them a chance to ruin another evening. By the way, Christmas Day dinner at Anson was charming, the tiny box of handmade dark chocolates at McCrady's was a delight, the Chartreuse at Rue de Jean brought back fond memories, 1886 at Wentworth was elegant & SNOB was just plain fun so I can't imagine missing out on one of those restaurants to eat a comp meal at The Grill. And since The Grill was the only stinker in the bunch, we don't buy the "holiday" excuse. I do want to thank you all for your comments--it proves that there are other ways of looking at things.
Hi--We stayed at The Jasmine House, a lovely 3-story mansion with carriage house & gardens, just off Meeting St & recommend it. They make their own crab dip for the afternoon wine/cheese gatherings; please skip the wine or take your own. Nicely appointed continental breakfast & the house "kitchen" is open for help-yourself refreshments during the day. Pleasant staff. We like to walk so this was a good base of operations & just out of the main traffic patterns. I don't know how we missed a French restaurant! We'll look for it if we return to Charleston.

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