Palmetto Flats Restaurant and Tavern: Lowcountry flavors with a side of Italian
By Deidre Schipani | Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Cuisine: Eclectic American
Category: Neighborhood Favorite
Location: 975 Bacons Bridge Road, Summerville (Bi-Lo shopping center: Summerville Galleria)
Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-4 p.m. lunch, dinner 5 p.m.- 10 p.m., Sunday brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Costs: Appetizers $3.49-$8.99, flatbreads $7.99-$9.49, salads $7.99-$10.99, sandwiches $7.49-$8.99, entrees $12.99-$14.99, daily specials MP.
Vegetarian Options: Yes
Bar: Full-service bar; Happy Hour 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Decibel Levels: Varies; live music planned in the future
Wheelchair Access: Yes
Other: Facebook, catering, special events and daily specials. Last Wednesday of the month wine tastings. Jazz offered during Sunday brunch.
Palmetto Flats Restaurant and Tavern is the kind of place you want to succeed.
The owners have painstakingly painted and renovated their strip mall space. A color palette of mushroom, espresso and lavender wears well at lunch and dinner.
Black tab curtains drape the window wall along the parking lot view and are much needed as the sun sets.
At the time of our visit, a stage was under construction and plans were being made for live music. Sunday brunch was also a work in progress and is now offered along with the mellow sounds of acoustic jazz.
Slowly but surely this locally owned and operated restaurant demonstrates the earnest intents of its management.
The staff is friendly but could benefit from a bit more training on the menu preparations. Many of our questions required a trip back to the kitchen for our affable server. And you will have questions. A side of “orzo pasta” is a cold salad; cauliflower also was “pickled” and chilled, so you may want to sleuth the sides when you are ordering. Most entrees come with your choice of two sides unless they are pasta- or grits-based dishes.
Italian is the accent in the kitchen where chicken appears in a panzanella salad ($9.49), an Italian bread salad with the addition of grilled chicken and mozzarella cheese. And the tuna salad ($7.99) is seasoned with capers, olives and mozzarella cheese.
Yet sauerkraut and pierogies find equal measure as an appetizer ($5.99) and an accompaniment to a daily special of pork shank. Fried green tomatoes ($8.99) layered with house-made pimiento cheese show off the restaurant’s Southern side, and barbecue and buffalo wings tender the bar trade with heat and smoke.
Salads ($7.99-$10.99) are of the entree kind and a small side salad is available with entrees or for $1.99 at lunch. This simple side is a spring mix of greens with cucumbers and tomatoes served on a nicely chilled plate with your choice of dressing.
Flatbreads, from which the restaurant takes it name, are round, thin and crisp pizza-like doughs topped with a variety of ingredients as well as “flatbread” sandwiches that are given the panini treatment. You may choose from flatbread appetizers, open-faced flatbreads and flatbread sandwiches.
The menu is varied and the dinner service menu kicks in at 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and most of Sunday. Daily specials have included butternut squash ravioli with a brown butter and sage sauce, shrimp and grits, and pork shanks with sauerkraut.
Kudos to the kitchen for kicking it up a notch with its menu: cracked pistachios crust a white, firm-fleshed swai fish ($13.49); meatloaf ($12.99) is stuffed with wild mushrooms and wrapped in a puff pastry crust. Artichokes partner with spinach in a chicken breast Florentine ($13.99); and cornmeal-crusted catfish finds a soul sister in yellow grits and andouille sausage gravy ($13.49).
Steamed broccoli, glazed carrots, and a basic cucumber and sour cream salad are healthy signs of a kitchen that is embracing smart menu choices.
The more expansive and frequently tasteless veal in a scaloppini is abandoned for a lean pork cutlet ($12.99) that is pounded (not quite thin enough) and topped with sage, prosciutto and slow-roasted lemon slices.
If there was a common thread to the kitchen at Palmetto Flats, it was the prepping of the ingredients: the prosciutto sliced too thick; the cold salads underseasoned, the cheeses not melted on the flatbreads: all easy to fix.
Fans of french fries ($3.49) will be happy to know that a full pound is served as an “appetizer.” True oxymoron, that one — what appetite would be left after a pound of fries?
The staff was friendly and engaged. All Palmetto Flats needed were some customers as they were not very busy at the time of the weekend dinner visit.
Our server was counting on that stage to set the floodlights on new business. With menu pricing that nicely favors your budget, easy parking and a wide swath of food choices, you may want to check them out.