There's no sign on the door of R Kitchen – just a handful of newspaper clippings and a few handwritten notes taped to the window, with one in particular referencing their reservations-only policy.
If you take a look inside during dinner hours, you'll likely see a cozy scene: a handful of guests seated at two-top tables along the wall and four to six people seated at the chef's counter overlooking the very busy kitchen grill and prep area.
Guests seated at the chef's counter have a front-row view to all of the prepping and cooking action at R Kitchen — Photo courtesy of Clare Sweeney
The R Kitchen concept is simple, it's working, and it's one that Chef/Owner Ross Webb seems to be particularly fond of. The R Kitchen tagline notes, "It's a kitchen, not a restaurant," which does more than hint at the fact that by dining here, you're welcomed into Webb's personal space.
The scene at R Kitchen is laid-back and cozy, offering an intimate date night experience — Photo courtesy of Clare Sweeney
Each night, Chef Webb offers up a five-course menu of locally sourced ingredients, served with international wine pairings (priced separately but quite reasonably), for just $25 per person. It's a fantastic bargain in terms of the amount, quality and freshness of food served, especially as the city of Charleston continues to develop as a top culinary destination.
There's more than just a creative, multi-course menu included in the affordable price point at R Kitchen. Most patrons agree to the added value of being able to watch each dish being prepped and made mere feet from their seats by an easy-going, approachable team.
The R Kitchen menu changes nightly, but it always includes five courses for $25 per person — Photo courtesy of Clare Sweeney
At R Kitchen, Webb proves that a Charleston fine dining occasion doesn't have to be dressed up in tablecloths and corner booths in order to provide a memorable experience. Truth be told, the dinner service at R Kitchen changes night by night, while the menu itself may even change over the course of the evening.
Ingredients run out, requests are made and ideas arise – all giving way to very creative cooking and entertaining experience for both chef and guest.
Webb loves Charleston as much as many of his guests do, and buys his produce fresh each morning from the local vegetable market and localist grocery, The Vegetable Bin on Spring Street. The night's menu, however, only starts to take shape after taking stock of tastes and preferences of the evening's expected guests.
Chef Ross Webb assembles the nightly menu based on the dietary needs and preferences of his guests — Photo courtesy of Clare Sweeney
You'll find Chef Webb in his kitchen every day of the week except Sundays, when R Kitchen is closed, and Mondays, when a local guest chef takes over the restaurant and menu for the night.
In order to snag a spot at an R Kitchen dinner, you'll need to call a few days in advance. There are usually just two seatings per evening and only roughly 15 to 20 seats in the house, including a heated patio out back.
Everything at R Kitchen is sharing the same small space, and that's part of why this local restaurant claims so many regulars. Here, you dine alongside your neighbors, chatting and comparing opinions of that night's five-course offerings and wine pairings, while watching Webb work his magic at the stove.