When talking about restaurants in Summerville, Oscar's invariably enters the conversation. By those who have eaten there, the references are for the most part complimentary. In my investigation of the reviews compiled by Tripadvisor, the majority proved to be largely positive. Great food and excellent service were common descriptives. Conversely, a common ingredient found in the very small number of negative reviews was over-priced. So, up until recently, I only knew of Oscar's renowned reputation through those passing conversations and what I found on the internet.
One most recent Wednesday evening, while pondering over a verbal list of local restaurants with a friend, Oscar's entered the mix by way of suggestion from my friend after I hesitantly contemplated Firewater Grille as our final choice. Since I had never eaten at Oscar's, I thought this was the opportunity to find out for myself whether it would measure up to the hype. My friend added, "It is more expensive." Despite the caution, we made our way over to its location at 207 West 5th North Street.
Oscar's has built up a reputation with Summerville residents for some time. It has been at this location for over thirty years. We parked the truck and entered the black shuttered, tan colored building. The young hostess was cordial and friendly. I asked if there was any outdoor seating. There was none, but she mentioned what the restaurant referred to as the porch and asked if we wanted to check it out before deciding. She led us to a simple room with a step-up section furnished with smaller table settings than what was in the lower section. Fans turned silently overhead. We accepted and the menus were placed before us on the table.
For a starter, I engaged in some light banter with the server over the specialty drinks. Sometimes, specialty drinks tend to be light on the alcohol. So, I jokingly expressed my hopes that if I were to choose one of their specialty drinks, the alcohol would be noticeable. She assured me it would. What else could she say. The proof would be in the drinking. I chose a mixed drink containing kahlua and vanilla vodka called Vanilla Paradise for $6.50. My friend chose wine. We surveyed the menu choices and the prices.
Upon the servers return with the drinks, we inquired about the different entrees, which she willingly addressed. I chose the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast served with Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese and Speckled Butter Beans for $15. My friend chose the grilled Chicken Breast with a Hollandaise Sauce and two sides for $15. With the picks out of the way, I took a sip of my drink. It was pour-fect. I nodded my approval. The alcohol content was proven with the passing of time and I was satisfied with the resultant affect.
In regard to my entree, the buttermilk coating was not dry or soggy. The chicken was juicy and tender. The Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese was surprisingly tasty. The Speckled Butter Beans were sufficiently satisfying but nothing I would write home about.
I did not get the opportunity to experience the main dining room. I did briefly peek into one of the dining areas while we waited upon the hostess. The atmosphere appeared pleasant. The furnishings were graceful and consistent with the age of the establishment. We walked through the room with the bar on the way to the porch. It exuded a warm, ambient quality, great for nurturing a drink and light conversation. The porch, where we sat, had half windows all the way around. It was less crowded yet somewhat louder since there was a large group seated not far from us, but we were there by our own choice. We would have rethought our decision to sit in the porch.
I can say to my local friends, I have experienced Oscar's. It was delightfully satisfying. The portions were adequate and the service suffice, but for that price range I would personally choose restaurants in Charleston. I am not saying I wouldn't return to Oscar's if at some point in the future there would be an invitation. I invariably cater to the allure to visit Charleston.
For an upscale culinary experience in Summerville, Oscar's is the place. It has and will remain a favorite among its more loyal Summerville residents. It has thirty years of hometown experience and bears the logo, Summerville's place to be and be seen. So, if you are considering a visit, go to Oscar's menu for a sample of their dinner offerings and prices. Open 11am to 10pm.