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The Food Guy: Catch a Seafood Week special at local restaurants

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With a whopping 20 (good!) local restaurants now offering special dishes for Charleston Seafood Week, it’s a great time to dine out in the capital city.

You are dining out this week, right?

Celebrating the fruits (and health benefits!) of the sea now through Sunday are Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille, Berry Hills Country Club, The Block, Blossom Dairy, Bluegrass Kitchen, Brick Salt Bar + Kitchen, Bricks & Barrels, Bridge Road Bistro, Celsius and Ichiban.

Also offering seafood specials are Laury’s, Mi Cocina de Amor, Quarrier Diner, Sam’s Uptown Café, South Hills Market & Café, Starlings Coffee & Provisions, Su-Tei, Tidewater Grill, Timothy’s at Quarrier Diner and, appropriately, Tricky Fish.

When you go out, be sure to post what you’re having online so others can finalize their own weekend dining plans. Share your photos with “Charleston Seafood Week” on Facebook or tag them with #Seafood2xWkCRW on other social media channels.

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Charleston Seafood Week may end this Sunday, but participating restaurant Tidewater Grill will keep celebrating with Lobster Fest now through Oct. 26.

During that time, guests can enjoy special menu items like lobster bisque, steamed live Maine lobster with red-skin potatoes and corn on the cob, lobster fettuccine tossed in tomato cream sauce with mushrooms and peas, or baked lobster stuffed with crab.

For reservations or more information, call 888-456-3463 or visit www.tidewaterrestaurant.com.

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After divulging last week that I used to be a “mystery” restaurant critic for Shoney’s and Captain D’s restaurants when I was a child, a friend (and former Shoney’s waitress) said reviewers like my family always seem to show up at the most inopportune times.

“I was a waitress at the old Winfield Shoney’s when I was in high school,” wrote LeAnne Neccuzi. “Mystery shoppers always seemed to show up right after a busload of little old ladies had left the restaurant or we had gotten blown away from the after-church crowd. Never failed, LOL. Loved your story, though!”

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You know how you can really like a restaurant but, for whatever reason, it just kind of falls off your radar after a while? That happens to me a lot, especially if the place is located in an area I just don’t happen to frequent very often.

Lucky for me, I’ve got you to remind me to revisit some of those gems.

After recently reviewing a South Charleston restaurant that was struggling a bit, I got bombarded with suggestions to check out a great place nearby where folks guaranteed I’d leave happy. Funny thing is, it’s a restaurant I already raved about in a review back in May of 2014 — more than two years ago. (You can check out my previous review that ran in the Charleston Daily Mail here.)

Despite loving the place, I haven’t been back to Grano since then. But that’s about to change.

“Have you been to Grano lately?” asked award-winning West Virginia novelist Denise Giardina. “They are serving up some seriously good Mediterranean food. The kebabs, I mean, best I’ve had in West Virginia. The marinade is awesome. All the veggie appetizers and salads are good. Excellent pizzas. And the desserts are to-die-for.”

Oh yes, how I went on about those desserts!

“This is a Syrian refugee family working hard and contributing mightily to our community,” she added.

“I know you welcome suggestions, so I am about to offer one. Grano Restaurant in South Charleston is a marvelous treat,” said Jim Lewis. “I’ve been told you wrote something about this restaurant a long time ago, but I hope you will review it again. Since it has opened, the restaurant has grown a larger and larger clientele.

“One of the amazing things is that the restaurant does not sell alcoholic beverages, and yet people flock to the place for excellent food in a quiet setting,” he added. “It’s an understated place with some of the best food around.”

And the hits kept coming.

“Grano near our house is one of our favorite places to eat,” said Rich McGervey. “Ammar and his family do a great job there of running a clean restaurant with consistently high quality. We’re big fans.”

He says his family has been going there since the restaurant opened, right around the time of the big water crisis.

“As a Pittsburgh native, I have to say the vast selection of ethnic and quality food in the Charleston area satisfies me pretty well,” he added. “South Charleston is a great hub for ethnic foods, with all the Asian- themed places, four within a block, and the Asian supermarket as well.”

True that. You can sample Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, Mediterranean, Italian food and more, all within a minute’s walk of The Mound.

And do you remember the fantastic Jamaican restaurant that used to be on that same block, too? Gawd, I miss that place.

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and an occasional food blog at blogs.wvgazettemail.com/foodguy. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by email at wvfoodguy@aol.com. You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy.”

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