Saturday, June 03, 2006

Just right at JESTINE's KITCHEN

I have been trying to get into JESTINES KITCHEN at 251 Meeting Street here in Charleston for years. The problem is that they are either closed (their hours are 11am-9pm, or slightly later Tuesday thru Sunday) for holidays or the lines are just too long (and there are no reservations). This small "joint" serves "Southern food with lots of soul" and knows how to do it right and for very little. The napkins are thick green terry cloth hand towels, the decor is as ecelectic as it gets and the service is downright friendly.

I finally got in quite easily today at 3:30pm for a late lunch and started with the best CORN FRITTERS I have ever had on earth. They were fried crispy on the outside without a hint of grease, and the fresh corn poked through the batter all over the circumference. Inside was a tasty batter and loads more corn. YUM YUM, and served on several greens with a pepper relish made it even better.

My "plate" was MEATLOAF with GRAVY and the sides (every plate priced from $8-15 is served with a choice of two sides, as the Veggies ("Fresh & Soulful") are famous. I had the okay RED RICE and the SUPERB FRIED OKRA, small pieces of freshly cut okra (with no slimy feel at all!) fried perfectly and then I added a bit of hot sauce.

It was so hard to choose, but I was very happy with my choices, save the unexciting rice. Dessert led me right to the FRESH THREE BERRY COBBLER which was loaded with fresh wild blueberries and had a crunchy topping somewhere between granola bar and cake that was so tasty, I was tempted to go for seconds, but didn't.

I'm glad I finally got "in" at JESTINES.