Our trip to Charleston happened to fall over Valentine’s day, and even a month in advance, I had a hard time getting a reservation at a [reasonable] restaurant. We finally decided on an adorable little hole-in-the wall called R Kitchen. However, I failed to gather from the website and reviews, that the restaurant is only a bar counter. So when we arrived and realized we wouldn’t be able to sit with our friends, we decided to go elsewhere. We were worried about finding space at 8pm on V day, but decided to take the chance because the whole reason for our trip was to visit with friends whom we rarely see!
Well, we got really lucky, because the restaurant next door, Lana, had space for four and it was an absolute gem! We had a wonderfully knowledgeable and attentive waitress who got us started with a bottle of Tempranillo right away! The bottle was really different and had hints of blue cheese and mushroom. It went really nicely with some of the appetizers we shared.
We ordered marinated olives, fresh focaccia, and two dishes to share as starters: the gnocchi with braised rabbit and the monk’s bowl full of sautéed shiitake and oyster mushrooms, beef jus, polenta, and a red wine poached egg. Both were heavenly, and a nice change of pace from all the southern soul food we enjoyed during the rest of the trip. I never pick Italian food as a favorite, but I’m always so satisfied when I order it.
We shared a second bottle of wine among the four of us. This Malbec was sooo juicy and jammy – I was in love!
The main event was three entrees that we shared. First, the duck two ways: seared breast and leg confit with cannelloni bean ragu and a balsamic fig sauce.
Second, a beef and pork pappardelle bolognese.
And a seafood bouillabaisse.
The duck and the bolognese were the table favorites, so it was great that they were giant portions. The bouillabaisse wasn’t on par with the other dishes, and was a little disappointing given the amazing seafood we had in Charleston. We were so satisfied with the overall experience though, that we barely even noticed.
We finished the evening with carrot cake that came with a little liquid icing for dipping.
The experience will go down as one of the best Valentine’s dinners I’ve ever had, and was a grand finale to our weekend in Charleston!