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New & Notable: Chef Jason Stanhope and his team are making magic at downtown’s Lowland

New & Notable: Chef Jason Stanhope and his team are making magic at downtown’s Lowland
May 2024

The former FIG chef presents elevated classics in the historic Lequeux-Williams House

The ethereal biscuit was inspired by Savannah-based baker Cheryl Day.

When chef Jason Stanhope left FIG last year after a decade and a half to open Lowland with Philadelphia-based hospitality group Method Co., expectations were sky-high. Dining scene denizens wondered if the James Beard Award winner could recreate the magic of the revered farm-to-table original on his own terms. Nearly six months in, Stanhope seems well on his way.

Housed in the historic Lequeux-Williams House on George Street across the alley from The Pinch, Method’s tony boutique hotel, the concept is divided between a lively tavern on the ground floor and elegant dining on the second. According to Historic Charleston Foundation, the circa-1834 building has more in common architecturally with New York townhomes from the 1830s than most local antebellum houses. The same holds true for the ambience: the romantic dining room in particular feels 19th-century Manhattan chic, with restored wood-burning fireplaces, avocado-green banquettes, and a tiny, stylish bar, all surrounded by a moody floor-to-ceiling mural—albeit of a Lowcountry scene—by Dean Barger.

(Left) A hand-painted mural sets a moody-chic tone in the dining room; (Right) Beef tartare is ubiqutious on menus these days, but Lowland’s version stands out from the crowd.

While there was talk early on of a tasting menu in the dining room, the offerings are currently the same throughout the house. Here, Stanhope elevates classics with technique and standout ingredients sourced from regional purveyors. The beef tartare, for instance, is made with North Carolina-based Brasstown beef, which is hand-chopped rather than ground. Served one recent evening with tonnato, beech mushrooms, shaved horseradish, and house-made potato chips, it’s a sensational starter. Much has been made of the Cheryl Day biscuit, inspired by the cookbook author and Southern baker extraordinaire for whom it’s named, and deservedly so. It’s a crisp cloud of butter and air, foiled by a dab of farmer’s cheese and pepper jelly (and ideally, a pour of the Jean-Noël Haton Brut NV Champagne, available by the glass). 

The larger plates lean toward fancy nostalgia as well, with house-made pastas, a burger with Cognac sauce, and a comforting dish of wine-braised duck legs with rice grits. A clear winner, though, was a sublime black bass piccata with fingerling potatoes in a rich, buttery broth, paired with a bone-dry chenin blanc.

Like FIG, the wait staff is warm, unpretentious, and knowledgeable. Suggestion: put your order in their hands. Our server’s recommendations were all spot-on, including the sweets. The Granny Smith hand pie is like a hug from grandma, but the superstar here is the banoffee pudding, a soulful riff on the British caramelized banana pie, destined to be the one dessert that Lowland can’t take off the menu.

36 George St.
Daily, 5-10 p.m.