Sometimes I tag interesting restaurants I want to try before I travel, other times I ask the locals after I arrive. Since I had success with asking the local teen crowd in Santa Barbara for their favourite spot, I did the same in Charleston. The result was a trip to Persimmon Cafe.
Persimmon is located near one of the many in-town colleges. Its also housed inside a laundromat. There are a few stools at a window-side bar next to a row of washers. However I noticed most patrons come in to start a set of wash then order takeaway on their way out. Should you decide to eat in, the window-side stools face Calhoun St., a heavily traveled street, which makes for good people watching. The constant swish-swish of washers and clank-clank of jeans tumbling around a dryer may not appeal to some but I found it quirky white noise.
The menu wins for simplicity – paninis, soups, sides and cookies; most of the paninis were some variation of grilled cheese. The lump crab panini appealed but the ‘adult grilled cheese’ was recommended by a college student I met earlier in the day. An interesting and delicious combination of smoked Gouda cheese combined with thinly sliced green apple and prosciutto. Tartness of the apple combined beautifully with the smokiness of the cheese and the saltiness of the prosciutto. The melty cheese and crispy bread were good textural contrast all the way to the last bite.
I couldn’t resist trying the peanut butter and candied ginger coleslaw. It sounded just too odd to pass up and I was curious how the flavours would play out. Short answer – they work. The secret seems to be in using small amounts of peanut butter, which added a subtle nutty flavour, and candied ginger adding a sweetness which complimented the otherwise bland flavour of purple and green cabbage. I rarely eat coleslaw since, to me, it usually tastes like crunchy mayonnaise but I would definitely order Persimmon’s version again.
Its counter-order setup and if you do eat in, they’ll walk it out to you. I’m pretty sure patrons eating in get preference since I got my order before the takeaway crowd that came in before me. The people working here are young, knowledgeable and exceptionally friendly, which seems to be the case everywhere in the city.
Reasonable. Adult Grilled Cheese + Peanut Butter and Candied Ginger Coleslaw = $9
If you’re looking for great-tasting, low-cost and casual fare with quirky atmosphere in the inner Charleston area, Persimmon is good choice.
Lunch: December 2014
Persimmon Cafe | 226 Calhoun | Charleston SC 29401