David Schuttenberg and Tina Heath-Schuttenberg (owners of James Island’s Kwei Fei) have just unveiled their latest Charleston-area restaurant venture. Nestled in the heart of downtown Charleston on Columbus Street, Beautiful South emerges as their second gastronomic venture, tantalizing taste buds with the rich and diverse culinary tapestry of southeastern China.
Stepping into the warehouse-like expanse of Beautiful South, you are greeted by a symphony of blues that dance across the decor. A resplendent bar, adorned with glistening navy tiles, commands the spotlight, promising libations as bewitching as the cuisine. Yet, it’s the ceramic art pieces in pristine white and vivid cobalt that echo the traditions of China while ingeniously narrating modern tales. This fusion of artistic flair and culinary prowess sets the stage for a dining experience like no other.
While the average American might immediately conjure images of beef and broccoli or the iconic General Tso’s chicken at the mention of Chinese takeout, the backstory is far more intricate. These beloved dishes owe their existence to Chinese immigrants who settled in the United States, primarily hailing from what was formerly known as Canton. It was here that these delectable flavors first took root in American culinary consciousness.
The journey of Beautiful South began as “Lady Xian” within the hallowed halls of Kwei Fei back in 2018. Under the gentle experimentation of the Schuttenbergs, it quickly became apparent that the allure of these American-style Chinese classics was irresistible to their patrons. Now, Beautiful South stands as a bastion of authentic southeastern Chinese cuisine, offering dishes lovingly crafted from scratch.
The menu here is a tantalizing tour through the bustling streets of Shanghai and the vibrant markets of Hong Kong. Each dish is a snapshot of a rich culinary heritage, capturing the essence of southeastern China. While the crown jewel of the menu is the irresistible General Tso’s chicken, vegan patrons will find a treasure trove of options, from scallion oil noodles to bok choy and shiitake mushrooms adorned with vegan oyster sauce. And for those with a penchant for customization, many menu offerings can be effortlessly transformed into vegan delights with a simple request.
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For now, Beautiful South is only open Tuesday through Saturday, with dreams of becoming a seven-day culinary haven once their bustling kitchen is fully staffed.
What do you think about the new Beautiful South concept?