Restaurant: Brown Dog Deli, Charleston, South Carolina
The Brown Dog Deli is definitely one of Charleston, South Carolina’s little gems. It’s definitely not your average deli…but it is serving up some fantastic food.
And if that doesn’t sound like an intro to Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives…I don’t know what does!
But let’s face it…I don’t sugarcoat things. And when I am told over and over again by my Charleston regulars, Amanda and Richie, that I must go eat at the Brown Dog Deli…well you bet your sweet tennis balls and Nylabones that I do. HA. Dog references FTW. Don’t you love it when I laugh at my own jokes?
With this in mind, and packed schedule on Saturday, we made the decision to hit up the Brown Dog Deli on Sunday morning/afternoon for an early lunch of sorts. And after wandering around downtown, hitting up the market, shopping, and just taking in some of the history and beauty of Charleston, we were ready to sit down to a light-ish lunch. We were doing dinner out that night, so we wanted to hit this up early. Naturally, this means we got there at noon. HAHA! But, it was okay.
This funky little diner is located on Broad Street in downtown Charleston, and everyone seems to love it. When we arrived, at around noon on-the-dot, we were greeted by a server and led to a booth. The place had a few other people in there, but it wasn’t hopping. Our server, Meredith, came over to get our drink orders. And Cathy went ahead and gave her the heads up on my food allergies and dietary restrictions. She immediately came back with the fact that they had gluten-free bread and wraps and that they had a separate vegetarian/vegan menu. She retrieved that for me and then filled our drink orders.
I originally was just going to get the Gluten-Free Hummus and Veggies Wrap ($6.95), which would have been a wrap made with roasted red pepper hummus, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, red onions, feta, sprouts and spinach. It sounded really good…but the more I looked over the menu and the more my friends were talking about all the different things they were getting (and with the sort-of exception of Cathy…it was something you could only get at this restaurant). So, I ended up changing my mind.
As it was Amanda got what she always gets at the Brown Dog Deli…the Mesquite Turkey Croissant Sandwich ($7.95), which is made up of brie cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, sprouts, red onions, and cranberry-pepper jelly, served on a croissant. It is her favorite thing on the menu. Richie’s favorite sandwich was no longer on the menu, so he decided to try something very different, the Apple “Butter” Jeans Sandwich ($7.95), which is composed of warm melted brie, sliced Granny Smith apples, local apple butter, fresh arugula, mesquite smoked turkey, honey ham, and prosciutto, served on a panini-pressed local French baguette.
Cathy really was interested in the chili that was being offered that day, so she decided she was going to do a cup of that. It was the Southwest Beef and Beer Chili ($3.95) and she opted to pair it with a Build-Your-Own Grilled Cheese ($5.95), selecting Yellow Cheddar, White American Mozzarella, and Goats Cheese as her three cheeses for the sandwich, and choosing to have all of that toasted up on Sourdough Bread.
As for me…I ditched the Hummus and Veggies Wrap and thought to do something I hadn’t seen on a menu anywhere else. I opted for the Gluten-Free Portobello Philly Sandwich…light on the cheese ($6.95). This sandwich was made up of marinated portobello mushrooms, sautéed with peppers and onions, Boar’s Head Vermont yellow cheddar and white American cheese. They had Udi’s bread, which they toasted up to help keep it from immediately falling apart with the wet ingredients.
There was no shortage of things to discuss while we waited on food, but when it arrived, I was so excited. Like I said, this restaurant came highly recommended…and it was now packed with a line waiting to get in. We had good timing. And when food did arrive at our table, I was definitely ready to dig into my sandwich.
So how was the Gluten Free Portobello Philly? It was fantastic. The marinated mushrooms gave this sandwich a “meaty” texture. And the onions and peppers were cooked to perfection…keeping them flavorful and crisp, but also cooking them down so they weren’t raw. They were fantastic. The bread did start to fall apart, but that’s the nature of gluten-free bread. Especially Udi’s. But, with that aside, they were good about keeping the cheese light, and it probably would have been just as fantastic without it on the sandwich. I thought everything was seasoned perfectly.
And I was not alone. Clean plates…that is what we left at the Brown Dog Deli. Cathy loved her soup, and would dip her sandwich into the thick and spicy soup. She raved about the creaminess of the cheeses in her sandwich and how they all, surprisingly, worked when put together. And Amanda and Richie both loved what they ordered. Especially Richie…who had to get something he had never had before. Lunch was later than planned, but a total success. And then, we all purchased matching shirts from the Brown Dog Deli as well.
SO. MUCH. LOVE.
Anyway…if I were to point out one restaurant to anyone wanting to eat the local fare in Charleston, South Carolina…this is the place I would send them. They work with dietary restrictions, they are careful, they create great food…and you will not regret any wait you might have to get a seat inside. It’s worth it.
Brown Dog Deli…I’m coming back next time I’m in that fine city. I can’t wait to try something else!