FLO decided to finish up 2008 with a visit to Charleston’s on 82nd street off of I-69. Fred had the pleasure of devouring one of the best prime rib sandwiches of his life thanks to a holiday lunch at work and insisted the whole FLO give it a go! And we are so glad we did!
From the outside, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly special about the design, but from the moment you walk in the door, the feeling of dark, warm, and classy shines through. There are two main dining areas, the bar, well placed to your left, the kitchen straight ahead and the main dining area across from the kitchen with the hustle and bustle visible to the clientele. Interior elements include, exposed stone, brick, dark wood paneling and lattice, wrought iron, gas sconces, and high backed leather booths as the majority of seating options. The especially loud atmosphere definitely makes one feel just fine bringing the kids along, and somehow makes it homey.
We were fortunate enough to be seated in a booth adjacent to the kitchen scene…5-6 chefs running around the kitchen, a meticulous expeditor, and stressed waitstaff dealing with a very busy dining area. Although, you wouldn’t necessarily know it. Not only was our own waiter able to keep up with our needs, but another waitperson went out of her way to make small talk with Ozzy on a couple of occasions, adding to a real family feel.
Oh, and in case you hadn’t guessed already, the food was awesome! The menu is simple…a one pager shared between lunch and dinner with a nice variety of somewhat familiar dishes. FLO started with the Shrimp Escargot, then Fred chose the Chicken Piccata, Libby the Rigatoni Bolognese and Ozzy, hmmmm…the Mac ‘n Cheese? No?! Really?! All the entrées were home runs! Straight out of the ballpark!
Our starter was shrimp, escargot-style, covered in crispy melted havarti. It was accompanied by two slices of light garlic toast. A nice dish, very scampi-like, but the real proof was in the entrees!
Fred’s very tender chicken was smothered in a caper/asparagus/artichoke/tomato medley that was out of this world – almost a side-dish unto itself! Just the right amount of zest, a little crunch and a melt in your mouth experience. One of the best piccatas Fred has ever had!
Libby’s Bolognese was delightful. A robust, cream based sauce with a perfectly spiced sausage. Not only did the sausage add a warm-to-the-tummy experience, but the herbs and spices in the sauce gave it a real flavor punch. It was hard to decide who’s entrée was the best.
Ozzy’s Mac ‘n Cheese? Almost too good to be considered a kid’s entrée. Simple penne with a lightly cheesy cream sauce…yum. We were a little worried it wasn’t cheesy enough for a 4-year-old palate, but BOY did Oz prove us wrong! After he finished his penne, out came a HUGE complimentary two scoops of vanilla ice cream with a giant chocolate chip snickerdoodle cookie! Charleston certainly knows the route to a boy’s heart!
Price-$$-$$$, Very affordable. Especially for the quality of the food!
Atmosphere-****, Deep and sumptuous.
Service-***, Very accommodating and professional.
Fred - A+, High praise!! I'm not sure you could beat the quality of food combined with very reasonable prices. All I needed was a snifter of brandy and a cigar.
Libby - A+, Wonderful overall experience. As an avid people-watcher, being able to observe the kitchen and the pulse of the dining area served as entertainment in itself. The food overall was excellent and the decor, simply beautiful.
Ozzy -B+, "Pretty good." "Cold ice cream and a giant cookie. It was a circle." :)