Food & Drink

March 31, 2014

Georgetown eatery flashes modern flair in historic district

Gut Reaction for April 3, 2014

Seven Hundred Modern Grill + Bar is at 916 Front St. in Georgetown, and the number is 520-5720. It’s open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Setting the Table

Seven Hundred Modern Grill + Bar used to be a restaurant called Zest before it burned in the September fire that destroyed seven businesses on Front Street in Georgetown. Partners Peter Scalise and John Cranston quickly regrouped and moved down and across the street to a new space at 916 Front St.

The name refers to the 700 block of Front Street, which was the one affected by the fire. Before the new restaurant was finished the sushi chef, Chris Kirwin, died in a traffic accident.

Seven Hundred isn’t as big as the restaurateurs’ first location, but the long and narrow room has the same vintage ambiance with brick walls, a classic dark wood bar along one side and an exposed rafter ceiling. Tables are in two rows – lots of them are two-tops – and there’s a community table at the back.

Down the Hatch

The “modern” part comes into play with the menu. We were given a clipboard affixed with the lunch specials, which were $9-$14 and included seared tuna seaweed salad; nachos that could be topped with shrimp, chicken, lobster or crab; a steak sandwich with grilled onions and blue cheese; flounder sandwich that could be blackened, fried or grilled; a salad topped with yellowfin tuna and wasabi cream; and a $14 sushi roll filled with spicy tuna and topped with seared tuna, ponzu and scallions.

We also had the option of ordering from the full menu that lists starters, salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and a whole page of sushi.

Appetizers are $7-$11 with choices such as wings (sriracha honey, barbecue, balsamic orange, Thai chili, garlic Parmesan), fried calamari steaks, chicken eggrolls and a crab cake served with fire-roasted corn and chipotle lime aioli. A few sandwiches ($7-$14, comes with fries or a salad) are a burger with garlic aioli on brioche; a burger with bacon, fried green tomato, a fried egg, lettuce and white Cheddar; chicken, shrimp or lobster tacos; and fried chicken sandwich with honey bacon jam.

Three salads range from $8-$12, and it’s an extra $4-$5 if you want them topped with chicken, shrimp or fish. Thin and crispy 12-inch specialty pizzas are $12-$14, such as The Clock Tower with thick pepperoni, grilled chicken, bacon, cheese, basil and red sauce.

My friend and I started with sushi and were appalled at what happened next.

“Here’s some chopsticks for your sushi,” the male server said. “So you can take a stab at trying to use them if you want.”

Say what? I’m not sure why this server inferred we didn’t know how to use chopsticks. We received our rolls – a spicy crab roll for $6 and a lava surf and turf (contained two fried shrimp and topped with shredded crab and tender steak) for $16. The surf and turf was tasty, but the eight pieces weren’t $16 worth of tasty.

Check, please

My friend and I decided to continue our dining elsewhere and ordered one of Seven Hundred’s desserts ($6) to take with us. The server said it was sautéed pound cake with pineapple chutney, but it tasted like yellow cake from a box mix topped with canned crushed pineapple.

Our bill for one sweet tea, one soda, two sushi rolls and one dessert came to $34.55. Up the road at Landolfi’s in Pawleys Island, we paid $32.94 for two cappuccinos, one huge Italian hoagie, a 12-inch pizza, one éclair and one slice of fruit-topped cheesecake – all made from scratch and excellent.

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