New York Glamour, Charleston Charm Michael’s on the Alley

MICHAEL’S ON THE ALLEY sits just off of bustling King Street, tucked away on Hutson Alley in downtown Charleston. It is an upscale, modern steakhouse with a passion for the freshest seasonal ingredients.

As you enter the restaurant door under an ivy covered wall, you will discover a spacious dining room filled with leather booths and linen tablecloths. The mix of old-school, New York steakhouse glamour and modern Charleston charm emphasizes comfort in this upscale yet casual space.

Chef Aaron Lemieux is the driving force behind this concept from Holy City Hospitality. He has been with HCH since 2007 and has developed a menu that is sure to make even the hungriest meat-eater happy. The general manager, Whitney Standish, who has the reins of the dining room, has put quality of service and excellence of experience at the forefront of the operation.

The menu features some tempting options. For starters, there is a table-side Caesar salad that is prepared from start to finish while you watch. The foie gras torchon is served on a stack of crispy, French toast wedges with fresh strawberry purée. It is one of the best foie gras dishes in all of Charleston.

Once you have finished your starters, you can move on to the varied menu of entree options. All the steaks at Michael’s come from Meats by Linz of Chicago, so whether it is a dry-aged or a wet-aged steak, the beef is always of the highest quality. The 30-ounce Tomahawk Ribeye has been dry-aged to perfection for 60 days. There also are dry-aged Kansas City strip, bone-in ribeye and an eight-ounce petit filet. Michael’s is currently running several weekly specials: “Tomahawk Tuesdays,” which includes the 30-ounce bone-in ribeye, two sides and one bottle of select wine for $100, and prime rib on Saturdays and Sundays, which includes a 14-ounce cut of beef with creamy horseradish and a choice of one side dish for $45.

If you prefer something a bit lighter, Lemieux offers a rotating poultry and seafood menu, which changes daily to ensure the freshest seasonal ingredients are used. And once you’ve finished your meal, Michael’s offers a range of homemade desserts.

As for cocktails and accompanying beverages, Michael’s partners with the bar inside its sister operation, The Victor Social Club. All of their specialty cocktails are named after Ernest Hemingway novels. There is a large beer selection, but the wine list is the star of the show. The restaurant has concentrated its wine list on West Coast and New World wines that are big and bold enough to complement the food it serves. And coming for 2015, a new glass-encased wine room, capable of holding 1,200 bottles, will be up and running in the dining room.

Michael’s On The Alley holds a little bit of dining pleasure for everyone. Visit Michael’s at 39 E. John or St. (Hutson Alley) or call 843-203-3000 for a reservation.

Story by Julie Thigpen