Well…the Food was Pretty – J Paul’z

jpaul mac

Truffled Macaroni & Cheese

Susan says…

J Paul’z is another installment in my vacation reviews from a recent trip south to Folly Beach and the Charleston, South Carolina area.  (And save it, Stanton, we all know how you feel about out-of-town reviews…you insist on repeating yourself every time we post one.)

Located on James Island between those two cities, this restaurant was high on my list of places to try.  In fact I wrote a note on the menu I printed from the internet and placed in my Vacation Folder which read: “I WANT TO GO HERE”.  (If you only knew how geeky I was about planning and researching for trips…it drives Ron crazy.)

The exterior resembled a newish chain restaurant in a strip mall-type setting.  Brick building, stand-alone, plopped down on an asphalt parking lot.  I was nervous already.   The interior boasted an Asian-influenced contemporary feel with benches covered in pillows and low lighting that made taking photographs of the food nearly impossible.  I liked the interior décor.

I had already studied the menu and predetermined that I would try the duck confit flatbread for $11.  But I had to ask some questions anyway.  I inquired about the tomato pie…was it really a pie crust?  Indeed it was a mini pie, complete with crust, containing tomato sauce, onions and cheese.  That was tempting and I should have taken Hope’s advice when she tried to get me to order the pie.  I asked about the flatbreads – how big are they?  They are actually a pita utilized like a pizza crust.  Hmmmm…. that was not really what I expected when they said “flatbread” on the menu, but I went ahead with my original plan.  Oh, and a glass of Toso Brut.  Sparkling wines are the perfect drink for vacations.

In the meantime of me fretting over a decision, Hannah ordered the Truffled Macaroni and Cheese for $6 and Hope ordered buttered pasta for $4.

The sushi Ron ordered was first to appear, along with Hope’s pasta.  The dynamite roll ($12) was pretty tasty.  It was presented on a long wooden board that reminded me of a paddle or a cutting board.  An orange sauce was drizzled in a wavy line and the bites of sushi placed atop the sauce.

I sampled Hannah’s mac and cheese, too.  The spiral noodles were coated in a creamy cheese sauce that tasted like a dozen other versions of that dish.  It was good, but did it really have truffle oil?  Who knows.

jpaul duck flatbread

Duck Confit Flatbread

My flatbread was indeed a pita dressed with toppings. Baked and cut into fourths, each fourth was then layered upon the fourth before it in a line down the center of another “cutting board”.  I liked the presentation.  I don’t know if pita has ever been so dressed up before.  It looked a whole lot better than it tasted, however.  After the first piece, I had to force myself to keep going so Ron wouldn’t be able to say “I told you so” when we got back in the car.  This was not his kind of restaurant and I knew he wasn’t enjoying himself.  I had to put on a brave face and keep chewing.

I picked off half of what I think was the duck confit.  The lettuce was all wilty by the time I got to the third piece.  The cheese and blueberry reduction couldn’t conceal the gamey flavor of the meat.  I have had duck on several occasions without experiencing this odd taste.  Maybe “gamey” is not the right word.  I’ll put it this way: I did not enjoy it.

To try to cleanse my palate I turned to dessert.  Tiramisu, specifically.  We ordered one slice for $7 and I cut into three smaller pieces, one for each of us girls.  Hope tasted it and gave hers away.  No way was Hannah giving hers up – she ate it all and declared it was good.  For me, it wasn’t the best tiramisu I’ve tried, but it wasn’t the worst, either.  It was a generous helping of cake layered with cream filling and dusted with cocoa.  The construction was a bit messy but it certainly ended my meal on a sweeter note.

I have no complaint about the service and the prices seemed to be in line with other local establishments.  An average meal for the four of us cost around $70 all week long, no matter if we ate burgers or seafood it seemed.  So why did I feel ripped off?

In describing my meal, I have failed to convey how I felt about the experience.  When I read a menu with descriptions like “House-cured duck, caramelized local spring onions, asiago and gorgonzola cheeses, local arugala salad, blueberry reduction”  I expect an artfully created dish with surprising flavors like SHMC.  I think of places like the Vandalia Grille when I hear “tapas”.  Being from under-appreciated West Virginia, I also expect that coming to a larger metropolitan area like Charleston South Carolina means I’ll have even better meals than I get at home.  In the end my meal wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, so I left disappointed.

With so many other better places, I would not choose to return here in the future.  Proof yet again that you should not judge a book by its cover, J Paul’z lured me in with enticing menu descriptions and attractive décor, but could not live up to the expectations created by them.  TWO FORKS.

Ron Says ~

This Place Sucked

First just let me flat out say, I had to ask Susan what the hell “Tapas” was/means/is… pick your word.

I didn’t know.  I honestly thought it would be a place that I got little bowls, we sat around on the floor and sipped each others dishes.   She tells me that basically the food is designed or presented in a way that it can be shared.

Well… what if I don’t like what you order?  I know I sure as hell do not want to share any of  Macaroni and Cheese or Pasta.  I don’t care if it is or isn’t Kraft, either.

I don’t know how or why she picks these places.

Well you want to know what the food was like:

First – I ordered the Sushi Roll – Dynamite… is there a standard for what a Dynamite Sushi Roll must be?   If not, that’s ok, this was the only good thing I got at this joint.  Probably the best Sushi Roll I’ve ever had to be honest.  But you guys all know my Sushi expertise, is basically what I can pick up at the Quincy Krogers..  Which means I don’t know shit about Sushi…

But I liked this, it had a slight crunchy bread coating on the outside, which I don’t recall getting at Taste Of Asia.   It was good……

for an appetizer.

jpaul dynamite roll

One piece of the dynamite roll

My main dish was some Shrimp Flat Bread….. I’m thinking this is what I’m going to have to share…. I order shrimp because the kids won’t eat it, thus I won’t have to share it…..  I asked Susan what Flat Bread was (not that I couldn’t deduce that from the title) and she informed me that it was indeed “flat bread with stuff on it”…. I say “Like A Pizza?!”  To confirm my hilljack deduction, she says “yes, like a pizza”….   I do not think she wanted to go into the exact differences between Pizza’s and Flat Breads and for simplicities sake, she left it at that.

Well my pizza came out, instead of round, they had cut it in four individual slices, and presented them on a board (cedar plank??) arrayed like fallen over dominoes.

Pretty I admit.

Well, I’m sure a good chef could pretty me up a dog turd also.  This meal reminded me of some Lean Cuisine Pizza, the crust was microwave spongy, the cheese was not mozzarella, but was instead more along the lines of a sharp cheddar.  The menu may have said it was, and if I overlooked it, well that is obviously my fault.   But I don’t like cheddar, and I went into this thinking pizza.

Susan’s right when she says the service was good, it was quick and friendly.  When I walked in, I felt it was more of a sports bar.  You see a “in the round” bar pretty much as soon as you walk in, and there is no one sitting around it, with some high def TV’s here and there….   then you move into the main dining area..

Very Olive Gardenesque….

Back to the food… the sushi good, my pizza sucked.   The beer was on the high side.

One Fork….  you may like it if you think you’re an upscale pretentious ass individual, but coming from my Appalachian Hill Jack Perspective – it sucked One Fork

J Paul’z
1739 Maybank Highway
Charleston, SC   29412
843-795-6995
J Paul'Z on Urbanspoon
P.S.  Look for an upcoming post from Susan entitled “Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Confit”.
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17 responses to “Well…the Food was Pretty – J Paul’z

  1. I love duck confit, but I woudn’t want it on a cheese pizza w/ blueberry sauce. That sounds disgusting. But really, tapas is just like going to Applebee’s and ordering a bunch of appetizers. What’s not hillbilly about that? I’ve been to Jaleo in D.C., and it was just killer. But that’s Jose Andres’ place…that guy is the real deal.

    But really — what kind of name for a place is “J Paul’z?” It sounds like a place where some “Douche Bag’z ” might hang out.

  2. It’s very clear to me when reading the previous reviews that they are coming from some admitadly country folks with a minute knowledge of their source of topic. I find it most amazing that people who openly admit short comings are able to publish their opinions. I meen come on here, these people make me feel like I just picked up the latest addition of “The Village Idiot”

  3. demosthenes.or.locke

    PDG, you mispelled MEAN and admittedly and you are calling other people village idiots?

    Does PDG stand for painfully dumb guy? Or maybe Pretentious Douche Gourmet?

    A significant portion of the charm of this blog is that the reviewers, despite being knowledgable about food, do not take themselves too seriously and know when to carefully overstate their lack of sophistication to make a point.

    This review is a brilliant application of that skill- they basically pointed out that because of the rarity of tapas restaurants in WV, it isn’t too hard to impress a west virginian with tapas, BUT this place still sucked.

  4. Just as I suspected. I had a feeling your only response would be an attack on an intentional misspell. It was for my own sense of humor and allowed it to prove a point to myself about the people here with big mouths. Anyhow thank you. I heard Arbys has a new sandwhich out, why don’t you go size them up instead.

  5. Thanks demo.

  6. demosthenes.or.locke

    You are the one who began with personal attacks instead of addressing the content of the review- I just followed your lead.

    What type of cheese was on the flatbread?

  7. First of all, PDG is missing the whole point of this blog: REGULAR people writing about dining experiences for OTHER REGULAR PEOPLE. If you want the flowery language, read the menu. If you want to know what you’re going to actually get if you go to a place, read this blog. We don’t pretend and we tell it like it is. And we spell correctly. (OK, all of us except Ron. But I do try to proof read his posts.)

    I am getting the feeling that PDG may have insider information, or BE an insider at J Paul’z. Is this true PDG? If so, reveal your relationship to the restaurant.

    • It doesn’t matter. The only reason I got fired up was becouse of the loose comments about things that could have been verified rather than assumed. There are some hard working people who actualy give a damn about the products served there and they deserve a little more respect and a little less ridicule. I’d hate for someone to come to my job and throw me under the bus for doing the best that I can do. Enough said. Let’s keep our opinions centered a little more closly to tangable facts and there will be a little more respect.
      PDG.

  8. Uh, PDG, i think you misapprehend the intent and purpose of restaurant reviews.

    I’m not aware of any that are centered on “facts” because purely factual reviews would be nothing but a list of what is served and what it costs.

    It would be akin to music reviews being limited to naming the instruments and stating what notes and chords were played.

    Any meaningful review is going to be highly subjective– and in the case of a restaurant limited to a single or small number of visits which may not be fully representative of the totality of the restaurant’s performance.

    By your logic I should not be allowed to say whether I like an album because I lack both a deep knowledge of music generally or a specific understanding of what a specific artist might be trying to accomplish.

    Maybe all I could muster is I didn’t like it because it was too slow and repetitive and it reminded me of a band I never liked.

    If someone else wants to respond with I didn’t “get it” and the slow tempo and sameness of the sound were intentional and meant to establish a certain mood or theme and then launch into a detailed exposition of the compositions and instrumentation they may well be correct , but it won’t mean I didn’t like it for the reasons I stated. It certainly won’t make me appreciate the music more if a band member calls me a ignorant rube.

    My point is that it might be a better business practice to tell other people why you think your restaurant is good than to hurl insults at people who didn’t like it.

    You say nothing that causes me to think the food might actually be very good and likely have given many the impression the restaurant has a rather unfriendly attitude toward potential customers.

    If you are not associated with the restaurant you probably owe it to those who are to make that known because othwerwise you are making them look bad.

  9. Excellent point, Sam.

  10. WHY …. WHY …. WHY…..

    am I supposed to give a shit about the hard working people at a restaurant that in my OPINION sucks?

    I’m sure noone gives a shit about my crappy job that allows me to sit on a computer and jackoff random irrelevant thoughts about the places I eat?

    PDG – I simply thought J’Pauls stunk. This is my little soap box on this particular corner of the world wide web…. Why can’t I say so?

    I’m sure the people that work there are hard working, more power to them. I’m just saying that after eating there, I cannot imagine anyone having a long career. It simply was all bark and no bite.

    Oh, and I like hard and heavy music, if you check out my blog, you can really see some “terrible” music reviews.

    Check out the latest from Clutch… great band out of Maryland.

    http://bottleofpills.typepad.com/have_your_pill_today/2009/10/strange-cousins-from-the-west-clutch.html

    oh and I play no insturment unless you count a poorly played Rock Band XBox Guitar.

  11. I find it most amazing that people who openly admit short comings are able to publish their opinions.

    And I find it amazing that you thought no one would realize that you’re just a shill. Don’t you have napkins to roll or something?

  12. demosthenes.or.locke

    A quick survey of reviews elsewhere on the internet confirm what this review does: bad food beautifully presented, and lots of shilling by staff / and the head chef who has posted elsewhere as “PJ” but changed it up here as “PDG” ?

    • Just stop it already. I dint work there and I never have. If you had half a Brain you might have figured out that there is a new chef there as of may. She is a female, one of only a few in this town and her name is Tracy. Not PJ or PDG or what other nonsense you can drum up. This site blows and I wish to discontinue any more comments. Please stop and forget this ever came up. Please!

  13. are we still beating this dead horse?

    I will not go back it’s that simple, and if you’re choosing to eat there well, I hope you like it. But Fork You’s advice was that we didn’t.

  14. Ha-ha!! I love your reviews! The dialogue afterwards makes me laugh too! Live in Chas., haven’t tried JPaul’z yet, and I still will in spite of the review, but thanks for preparing me. Ron, I seem to agree with you as far as the belief you can combine quality and quantity. I do expect more than 5 or 6 bites in an entree. Thank you for making me laugh!

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