Our Guide to Baltimore's Cuisine Landscape       •       2014
#1 Charleston
#1 Charleston
Harbor East

Charleston, more than any other restaurant in Baltimore, asks a diner for a complete commitment — of time, attention and, yes, money.

But the rewards are considerable, and they keep coming over a long and pleasurable evening.

Every little thing in the serenely beautiful dining rooms, from the pile of the carpet to the taper of the Madeira glass, is unflaggingly considered, looked after and seen to.

The specialty is low country cuisine, and there are nothing but high points — like an invigorating lobster bisque, flavored with lobster stock, finished with cream and heightened with arugula oil and curry oil, and then a plate of five cornmeal-fried oysters, served with lemon-cayenne mayonnaise. Just beneath the gently seasoned breading, each oyster is intact, creamy, juicy and hot.

And the kitchen cooks all of it with ferocious precision.

If Charleston, in its 17th year, is at its best — and we think it is — it’s because Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman have mastered the ultimate trick of making it all seem effortless.

Good restaurateurs earn their good reputations.