When I saw that we were having lunch at Bay Street Biergarten in Charleston, I assumed we’d be grabbing a beer and a quick bite to eat before continuing on with our day. Au contraire! It turned out we were diving into a six-course tasting menu of Bay Street’s most popular dishes.
As a biergarten, it was only fitting to enjoy a beer with my meal. They offer a few different options: you can pour your own beer from taps along the back wall of the restaurant, pour from the ones on the table, or simply order off the menu.
While I’ll take a Dogfish Head any day of the week, I really wanted to try a local beer instead. Charleston boasts over 45 craft breweries, so there was no shortage to choose from at Bay Street. Given that it was lunchtime, though, and I was only having one, I wanted to make sure it was good.
I settled on Welder’s Agave Wheat from Tradesman Brewing Company, and it did not disappoint. It was refreshing for a hot day, but not at all watery (often my issue with wheat beers).
We kicked things off on the lighter side, with the Tri-Color Quinoa & Arugula Salad. I was grateful for this choice, as it was the first, last, and only salad I had while in Charleston. And the baby heirloom tomatoes? Gorgeous and delicious.
Next came a huge platter (actually, two) of Freaky Tators for the table.
Smothered with smoked cheese sauce and caramelized onion glaze, these tots were phenomenal. (Hey, there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write). They remained on the table for the duration of the meal, and even as I stuffed myself silly on the remaining courses, I couldn’t resist dipping my fork back into this platter of cheesy, carboliocious delight. If you go to Bay Street Biergarten, I command you to order the Freaky Tots and do not share with anyone under any circumstances.
Anyway! Next came the Pretzel Bombs, another favorite at Bay Street. These pretzel rolls are stuffed with cheese and sausage, and served with Lusty Monk mustard.
Yeah, this one wasn’t too bad either.
Then we moved on to a couple of their brunch specialties. First, we had Crème Brûlée French Toast (which I incorrectly assumed was dessert, and therefore the last course of the meal. Silly me.)
The caramelized sugar crust on the outside of the bread was so, so good.
Then we tried one of my favorite Southern specialties: Chicken & Waffles.
Just when I thought I couldn’t eat another bite, I found it in my heart (and stomach) to take down this decadent dish. And yes, there is bacon on the bottom of that waffle. There’s also green tomato jam, which was a nice flavor contrast to the richness of the waffles and syrup and fried chicken and bacon.
We had one more course before parting ways with Bay Street Biergarten, and it was this beef stroganoff.
I was honestly too full to give this dish a full review, but I did take a bite or two of the beef and it was tender beyond belief. (I wasn’t too full to continue housing the Freaky Tots, though.)
I would love to go back to Bay Street and try more of their beers, and perhaps give the tableside pour a try. And the food proved just as good — if not better! — than the beer itself. A must-try for beer lovers and foodies alike!
Bay Street Biergarten generously provided lunch as part of CBC Charleston Experience. All opinions are my own, and the Freaky Tots really are that good.