Dine or Dash: The Glass Onion
A short drive down Highway 17 South, in West Ashley, you’ll find The Glass Onion. Under its signage, “Soulful Food” appears in small letters. Soulful is exactly what you will get, but don’t expect the experience to be as diminutive as the lettering.
The menu is posted on a wall-sized chalk board, probably because The Glass Onion’s offerings change often. The restaurant’s owners take pride in the fact that they buy their food locally and use as many natural and organic ingredients as possible. And your order taker is not just an order taker: She is a window into the world of The Onion’s simple yet soulful menu and speaks with great knowledge of ingredients and libations, which include organic wines and craft beers. Once you have placed your order and received your drinks, you retreat to your table to wait for your food, a picture (in our case, Betty Boop) in your possession instead of a number.
The pre-food experience has a retro, old school, malt shop, cafeteria feel. At The Glass Onion, it’s not about the service but all about the food. I’m OK with that premise as long as the food delivers.
On this particular day, my dining partner and I had the opportunity to order from the brunch menu. The choices were all tempting and, as is our belt-testing habit, we gleefully and without reservation overordered. We opted to start the meal with head-on, peel and eat shrimp, which had been delivered that morning from a local shrimper in McClellanville. It was gorgeously fresh and perfectly cooked, served warm from the boil with cocktail sauce and pickled okra. Of course, we couldn’t resist the popular menu staple – French fries and béarnaise sauce. Enough said – you can’t go wrong there.
For our entrees, we decided to share each other’s choices. First we picked the fried green tomatoes with two eggs. The thick slices of perfectly breaded and fried tomatoes were complimented by creamy grits, pimento cheese adding a sharpness and depth that cheese grits generally lack. The eggs, over easy, completed the brunch scenario nicely.
Our second selection was the smoked pork loin po’ boy. The pork was shaved thin and accompanied by lettuce, tomato, pickled pepper relish and creole mustard on a flakey baguette, the right combination of smoky saltiness and spice. I am a sandwich fan, but my dining companion isn’t. This po’ boy might have made a convert of her.
This quaint, cafeteria style restaurant pumps out some serious grub. Between that and the smiling faces of the staff and the relaxed, come as you are attitude, The Glass Onion makes for quite the “soulful” affair – and that, my fellow food lovers, is no small feat.
The Glass Onion
1219 Savannah Highway
Charleston, S.C. 29407
Daily menu • Monday - Thursday • 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Daily menu • Friday • 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday brunch • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday dinner • 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.