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Delectable, Rich, and Unforgettable!!! by Doug Hammond

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

So many times when I sit down to read a restaurant review or a blog post featuring a high-end eatery the same old tired words are used to describe not only the food served, but also the hospitality and level of service provided by the restaurant staff. And quite honestly, sometimes you read those pieces and you think, “uh huh, yeah, umm, right.” Then you show up at this highly acclaimed dining room with wait staffs decked out in white coats and gold rimmed dinner plates adorning an impeccably appointed table, and your dining experience begins with a half-hearted superficial greeting from a host or hostess who seems to be very tired of greeting another fat guy in a jacket and tie. Often after reading or hearing about the house specialties and all of the awards and accolades bestowed upon the chef the actual experience is a bit disappointing, not a bad experience, but maybe just not a “wow” experience either. Perhaps this is due in part to your expectations, your anticipation of something really, really special.

I have been hearing a lot of good things about Halls Chophouse, located on King Street in Historic Charleston. A couple of the blogs that I follow have provided glaring reviews on Halls. A sample of some of the terms and phrases used to describe Halls: “family”, “relationship”, “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen”, “aged steaks, like a fine cabernet”, “ Cooked to a perfect mid-rare, this is a bright beautiful steak", "seasoning was spot on”, “buttery”, and the piece de resistance of quotes, “it is so good, I get emotional.”

So, as you can see, a lot to live up to, No? The bar has been raised If this dining experience is going to live up to the reviews; this place has got to make me say “wow."

This evening Charleston was a buzz, for a cool and crisp evening there were a lot of people out and about. Of course, if the reporters, anchors and news staff members from all of the cable news networks that are in town to cover the upcoming GOP Presidential campaign were out on the town tonight, I am sure that would account for at least half of the crowd that I encountered on King Street. From the reviews, I was expecting a warm reception, what we received was so much more than that, we were met and greeted at the front door with firm handshakes and a sincere welcome, by not one, but two members of the Hall Family. Immediately, Billy Hall offered to take our coats and told us to feel free to visit the bar and that our table was ready for us whenever we were ready to be seated. Allow me to set the stage for you, we are in Historic Downtown Charleston on a Saturday night dining in one of the most popular restaurants in town, they are jam packed with diners and not only have we been properly greeted at the front door by two people whose last name matches the name on the sign, but they have made us feel like they are on our schedule and we are guests within the Hall household, not their family business. For crying out loud, they hung our coats in the hall closet.

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