The Daily Meal

14 October 2011

Tonight's Episode: I promise, not one Jamaican me crazy joke

           You know what I love about Charleston dining? Beautiful old houses repurposed as stunning restaurant spaces. Stunning water views as you and your baby doll enjoy classic Jamaican dishes. Wait, what? Jamaican, in Charleston. No, North Charleston actually. Take the drive to the Navy Yard, pull up to one of the restored Officer's Quarters with a river view, and try Runaway Bay (http://www.runawaybayrestaurant.com).
         The space itself is down right gorgeous. With a huge patio feet from the boardwalk, a downstairs bar, and a fairly large dining space, Runaway Bay has a great set up to be a hidden gem. If you haven't been to the old Navy Yard, it is a photographer's dream (we actually had our wedding photos done there). The restaurant itself is at the massively under-utilized Riverfront Park. The dining space has a strong Caribbean feel, with charming artwork and original fixtures. The cheerful homeyness makes you wonder why this restaurant is fairly empty on a Friday night.

          The menu is fairly small, which is somewhat disappointing, but it changes regularly. For appetizers there were no beef patties (a personal favorite of mine), only jerk BBQ wings. We skip the app and go straight to mains. Here, again, I was disappointed to find no fish escovitch. Okay, the two Jamaican dishes I know I love are not here, so I'm not happy. There are some dishes on the menu that do sound pretty damn tasty, though.
           The entrees come with a tasty side salad. If the raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing is available, go for it. Combined with the pickled cabbage and pineapple, this is a better than standard salad.

           The Girl decides on the Jerk Chicken Rasta Pasta ($14). I'm concerned that the heat level will floor her. Apparently that had been the case, and the chef has dialed the heat back from Jamaican standard heat, to American wimpy heat. If you like yours hot, ask for a side of the scotch bonnet sauce. The pasta itself consists of a blend of penne and another fun noodle, maybe a lantern, but I can't be sure. The jerk chicken had a deeply developed flavor, and mellows even more in the rich, creamy sauce. This is the kind of dish that you find yourself picking at long after you are full.
         I went a little more exotic in my choice, with the Curry Goat ($19), with beans and rice. Goat can be a very gamey, tough piece of meat. Runaway Bay's goat was mild and fork tender. The curry is a typical West African style mild and thick curry, balancing the slight game flavor of the goat brilliantly. Throw in scotch bonnet sauce to kick some heat into the dish, and you have instant flavor-love. The Girl scoots farther away from the combo of curry (which she hates) and heat (which she can't stand). I'm glad. I don't want to share.
           To accompany our dinners, we had a glass of Sorrel. This is a beverage made from hibiscus and ginger. In its normal state it is thick and syrupy, but this was blended with Sprite for a refreshing spritzer. Very delicious and refreshing.
        With only two desserts on the menu, we went with the Vanilla Pound Cake. The cake was soaked in rum, served with vanilla ice cream and a light caramel. Though dressed with way too much whipped cream, this little cake was tasty and satisfying. Nothing mind-blowing, but solid and homey.
         Runaway Bay has two main negatives. Getting out to the old Navy Yard takes you through a less desirable part of town, and the menu is very small, with few choices.  The upsides, however, are fantastic. The venue and its location on the river are ideal. The food is tasty and lovingly made. The service is friendly and prompt. Head out to Runaway Bay and enjoy a taste of Jamaica.

The Scores:
Ambiance: 4/5
Food: 7.5/10
Service: 4/5
Value: 3/5
Overall: 18.5 out of 25, Not as spicy as I would like, but great flavors and a beautiful view.Runaway Bay Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you posted this. I don't go out to N. Chuck often, but never would have known there was a Jamacian place on the Navy Yard. I have to check it out!

    ReplyDelete

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